Channel 4 avoids action on complaints about Idiots orgy

LONDON - Graphic scenes of group sex broadcast on Channel 4 broke no rules because they were justified by the channel's remit 'to explore difficult themes', according to Ofcom.

Seven viewers complained about the uncensored footage during 'The Idiots', a film shown as part of Channel 4's 'Banned' season of controversial films that have fallen foul of censors.

Originally released in 1998, the film by Danish director Lars von Trier was controversial not just for the sex scene. Depicting the actions of a group of people who pretend to be mentally disabled as a protest against modern society, it was felt by many to be offensive to mentally disabled people.

Channel 4 showed the film for the first time on terrestrial television and for the first time on any television channel with the sex scene unobscured.

However, Ofcom recognised the film's "artistic nature" and the Channel 4's "serious contextualistion" of the film.

It was shown after midnight and with an introduction that warned viewers to expect the graphic nature of the scene. A second warning was placed after the ad break immediately before the scene.

The ruling stated: "Ofcom has to balance the potential offence this film may cause viewers against Channel 4's remit to explore difficult themes -- on this occasion the examination of censorship."

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