Ofcom said a pre-watershed repeat of Entourage on the Sky Comedy channel in August failed to provide a mandatory pin code to protect under-18s, and the word “f***ing” was broadcast. Sky stressed that the word came very soon after the show started and it was pulled with just three minutes having elapsed.
In the UK, Ofcom’s code requires that people under 18 are protected from “unsuitable material” in programs.
Ofcom allows shows with sex, violence or swearing to air before the evening watershed as long as they are protected by a pin code. In this instance, the pin code failed and younger viewers were exposed to the swearword. Sky said it introduced two immediate changes to prevent a reoccurrence, which “add further fail-safe resilience into the process.”
HBO smash comedy Entourage has been available as a Sky boxset for nearly a decade and is regularly repeated.
‘Game of Thrones’ incident
Sky added that there is a “difference” between the Entourage incident and what happened with Game of Thrones last year, when a repeat of the mega-hit aired in the morning without a pin code and under-18s were able to easily access an episode “which contained multiple use of offensive language including ‘c**t’, ‘f**ck’ and ‘s**t’.”
The Entourage error, Sky said, was due to a fault with the “EPG meta data that activates the PIN demand on some of our Sky Platforms, not an ‘excess of data’ in the system.” It stressed that Game of Thrones and Entourage are the only two breaches out of 23,000 hours worth of similar content broadcast since the introduction of the pin code in 2020.
Ofcom took into account Sky’s pulling of the Entourage repeat almost immediately after the swearword along with its attempts since to protect viewers from future slip-ups. However, the regulator still found the pay-TV giant to be in breach of its code.
A recent Ofcom report found that viewers main fears around profane content center on the need to protect children, rather than any impact these shows can have on individual adults.