Politicians have slammed the nation’s media watchdog for its seeming inability to decide whether to investigate the sexually charged dance routines aired on The X Factor this weekend.
Last night Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, said: “If Ofcom wants to keep the confidence of the public then it has to respect the clear public desire for a full investigation”.
The controversial performances by pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna attracted thousands of complaints, and prompted widespread calls for Ofcom to launch an investigation.
But yesterday the media regulator revealed that it had yet to decide whether to launch an investigation.
Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster said: “I can’t begin to understand why they can’t make a decision.”
Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: “For Ofcom to decide it can receive a large number of complaints about a primetime programme and not investigate is unacceptable.”
She added: “They may investigate it and decide it hasn’t broken the rules. That is the whole point of an investigation – it does not pre-suppose guilt or innocence.”
Saturday night’s show, which aired between 7 and 9pm, was watched by millions of people, including up to an estimated four million children.
Christina Aguilera appeared on stage in a tiny black dress accompanied by a number of female dancers wearing underwear as they danced suggestively.
Rihanna took to the stage in a full length gown which she removed before performing the remainder of her routine in her underwear.
Ofcom is reported to have received 1,500 complaints with ITV receiving a similar number.
An Ofcom spokesman said: “Ofcom judges every single viewer complaint. Given that we’ve received over 1,000 complaints this process takes time to complete”.
In September anti-prostitution campaigners accused The X Factor of glamorising prostitution after the programme’s bosses decided to keep an escort girl, Chloe Heald, on the show.
Tessa Wright, from Choose Life, a group which helps women escape from prostitution, said that “putting this girl on TV and making her an icon is not something we’d advocate.
“Millions of kids watch X Factor – and, in a way, Chloe being on the show will glamorise the sex industry. The further she goes in the programme the worse it will be.”
And Andie Young, from the campaign group Women Not Sex Objects, said Miss Heald “needs counselling and support, not parading on TV.”