Complaints over DJ’s ‘insensitive’ joke about Turkey hit more than 1,400

The number of complaints made to Ofcom about Capital Radio DJ Ant Payne’s “insensitive” joke about earthquake-hit Turkey has risen to 1,430.

The presenter, who hosts the 4pm to 7pm slot on the station, said while on-air on Monday February 13 that “now is actually the best time” to start looking for “cheap flights” to the country.

He also joked that listeners could “get your teeth done while you are over there” and “come back looking 19-years-old”, adding: “You will be on Love Island next year if you are doing that.”

Another 863 complaints were made to the broadcasting watchdog between February 14 and 20, in addition to the 567 made before that point.

Ant Payne
Ant Payne has apologised for his comments (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Some 45,000 people were killed after two earthquakes struck nine hours apart in south-eastern Turkey and Syria on February 6, before another quake occurred on Monday this week.

Payne previously apologised after facing criticism on social media, with Liberal Democrat councillor Suzanne Nuri-Nixon urging him to “read the room”.

He tweeted: “Hi guys, I want to address the comment I made last night on the show.

“It was insensitive and ill-timed. I would never wish to offend anyone from my shows. My sincere and wholehearted apologies.”

Payne was previously a presenter on Galaxy FM before joining Capital Radio in January 2011.

The PA news agency has contacted Capital Radio’s parent company Global for comment.