U.K. Channel Apologizes for Airing Unedited Krusty Rant on 'The Simpsons'

Channel 4 aired the episode in which Krusty the Clown used the word "bastard" before 9 p.m., when edgier content is allowed in Britain.

LONDON — Britain's Channel 4 has apologized for airing an episode of The Simpsons in which Krusty the Clown during a rant used the word "bastard" at a time when children may be watching.

Seven viewers had complained about the swearing, because the episode aired before 9 p.m., which is known as the "watershed" in Britain. Edgier content is supposed to air after that time to protect children.

Channel 4 aired The Simpsons episode in question at 6 p.m. in April, well before the watershed, U.K. media regulator Ofcom said in a case summary.

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The network apologized, saying the episode aired without the necessary edits due to human error and emphasizing that it had tightened its controls to avoid similar errors in the future.

Channel 4 said that "Ofcom will appreciate that the word 'bastard' is not the strongest language," but acknowledged that "it was inappropriate" at the time the episode aired.

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It explained that "all episodes of The Simpsons intended for broadcast before the watershed are reviewed and edited appropriately," but due to "human error" the aired edit incorrectly was labeled with an "all times" rating.

Ofcom said Monday that it has decided to drop the issue after the apology and the network's procedural changes.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai