UK Communications regulator Ofcom has ruled that The Simpsons episode featuring Homer hanging from a noose was too violent for its 6pm timeslot.
The scene in the episode Love Is A Many Strangled Things showed Homer Simpson hanging by a noose from a tree. Many viewers complained that the episode was unsuitable for its 6pm timeslot.
Ofcom said some viewers felt this was “inappropriate for an early evening broadcast when families would be watching”. It noted that the plot of the episode “prominently featured strangulation”.
In its ruling Ofcom said: “We considered that a sequence in which a well-known character was first encouraged to hang himself and was then shown doing so was uncomfortable and unexpected.
“We acknowledged that the comedic tone helped to limit the potential unsuitability of the material for child viewers. However, we considered that this was insufficient to counteract the overall effect of the separate and lengthy instances of physical harm shown.
“We therefore considered that the cumulative effect of these sequences made the material unsuitable for children.
“We went on to assess whether the content was appropriately scheduled. Appropriate scheduling is judged according to all the relevant factors. These include such points as: the nature of the content; the likely number and age range of children in the audience; and, the nature of the channel.”
Channel 4 has since promised not to show the episode again before the watershed, adding that it “will be reviewing the specific compliance process for The Simpsons going forward”.
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