Gordon Ramsay dismisses bleeping controversy

Chef responds to Australian lawmakers' move to censor

SYDNEY -- Popular British chef Gordon Ramsay on Friday responded to Australian lawmakers' calls for changes to TV decency codes after viewers' complaints about the level of swearing on his popular Nine Network shows.

One Australian senator complained in an inquiry launched Thursday that Ramsay had said the F-word 80 times in a recent 40-minute episode of "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares."

Ramsay said Friday that the level of swearing is not up to him, but up to broadcasters and editors. The version of the show that airs in the U.S., for instance, bleeps out the offending curse words.

"I don't mean to swear," Ramsay told the Nine Network, which also broadcasts his show "Hell's Kitchen." "I want to run a proper kitchen with a proper pair of bollocks, not stand there patting them on the back every time they do a good job. It's high pressure, high energy and, more importantly, real," Ramsay said.

Australian broadcasters are self-regulating and follow their own codes of conduct, codes they register with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Programs classified as "M" or above are not supposed to screen before 9 p.m. and must carry warnings about language, nudity, sex and drug use.

Ramsay, whose shows air at 8:30 p.m., added: "I've never watched the show, so I can't vouch for what the editing's like."

The senate recommended that classification symbols be permanently displayed during a program; that program guides include classifications and viewer warnings; that a parental lockout system be installed on all digital TV; and that the classification system be expanded to include age-specific "G" and "PG" categories.

A senate committee chaired by Anne McEwen recommended a review of the ACMA by 2010 to gauge whether it is "working effectively with industry to maintain a fair balance in Australia's broadcast media."

McEwen said viewers told the committee they were offended by the way Ramsay directed his language toward restaurant staff in an "abusive and aggressive manner."