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UK communications regulator lists “snowflake,” “Karen,” and “remoaner” as offensive terms

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UK’s media regulator Ofcom has included new words to its list of potentially offensive language, including “Karen” and “Snowflake.” The regulator has not banned the use of the phrases but advises outlets to be more cautious about their use.

Ofcom recently conducted a survey where it put out a list of “potentially offensive” phrases based on complaints it has received in recent years and asked respondents to rank the phrases on how offensive they were. Topping the list was “Karen,” a phrase that refers to an entitled middle-class white woman, and “gammon,” used to refer to a conservative pro-Brexit man.”

Other phrases joining the list were “snowflake,” which refers to someone who’s overly sensitive and easy to offend, “remoaner,” used for people who often complain about Brexit, “boomer,” used for baby boomers who are supposedly stuck on old ways, and “libtard,” used for a liberal who’s overly politically correct and easily offended.

Ofcom claimed it conducted the research to remain “as up to date as possible,” because people’s perceptions of offensive language have changed since the last time it conducted a similar study, five years ago.

The regulator did not ban the phrases. But it does encourage broadcasters to avoid using the words.

“The findings are one of the things we will take account of when making judgements about programs,” a spokesperson for the media watchdog said.

“What it doesn’t do is ban any of the terms included.

“We take full account of freedom of expression and context, as always is key; the research suggests that audiences expect more contextual justification for certain terms than others.

“And notably, viewers and listeners categorized terms like Gammon and Karen as mild.”

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