Coronation Street hit with Ofcom complaints after Tracy's ‘anti-vaxxer’ rant

Coronation Street was hit with complaints to Ofcom following a rant from Tracy Barlow in which she called another character an anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist, 

In the scene, Tracy, played by Kate Ford in the soap, was confronting Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank) and daughter Summer (Harriet Bibby) over false accusations that her brother Daniel (Rob Mallard) was grooming her. 

The emotionally charged scenes saw Tracy yell at Billy and Summer that she was evicting them from her flat, before turning on Billy’s ex Paul (Peter Ash) after he steps in to try and stop her from booting them out onto the streets. 

Tracy then yelled: ‘Oh look, it’s the conspiracy theorist that called the police. I bet you’re an anti-vaxxer and all, aren’t you?

‘Oh well good news because the earth is definitely flat and Daniel is definitely after Summer.’

She added: ‘You can all be homeless together, stop turning the other cheek.’

The comments about anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists riled up some viewers, 54 of which complained to the regulatory body Ofcom. 

Some took to social media to share their thoughts, tweeting: ‘Tracy Barlow calling Paul a conspiracy theorist, followed by the assumption he would be an ‘anti-Vaxxer’ was unnecessary and wrong. Disappointed in you Corrie!’

Others added: ‘why on earth is Tracey accusing Paul of being an anti vaxxer cos he is misguided over Daniel? What’s that got to do with a piece of cheese? Bored of all this covid rubbish in corrie now.’

Another wrote: ‘The media is lumping everyone who thinks outside of the box together. Even Corrie has a dig, the character Tracy shouting at someone with conspiracy theories, and I bet you are an anti vaxxer, and the earth is flat etc..’

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What is Ofcom and what does it cover?

Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day.

The watchdog makes sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio.

Ofcom deals with most content on television, radio and video-on-demand services, including the BBC. However, if your complaint is about something you saw or heard in a BBC programme, you may need to complain to the BBC first.

Its rules for television and radio programmes are set out in the Broadcasting Code.

The rules in the Broadcasting Code also apply to the BBC iPlayer.

This Broadcasting Code is the rule book that broadcasters have to follow and it covers a number of areas, including; protecting the under-18s, protecting audiences from harmful and/or offensive material and ensuring that news, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.

Audiences can complain to Ofcom if they believe a breach of the Broadcasting Code has been made.

Every time Ofcom receives a complaint from a viewer or listener, they assess it to see if it needs further investigation.

If Ofcom decide to investigate, they will include the case in a list of new investigations, published in the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin.

An investigation is a formal process which can take some time depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Ofcom can also launch investigations in the absence of a complaint from a viewer or listener.

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