The BBC Apologizes After Orlando Bloom Uses a Racial Slur on Air

The actor insists he didn't mean it as a slant against Traveller and Gypsy communities.

Orlando Bloom
(Image credit: Getty)

The BBC has been forced to apologize after Orlando Bloom said the word "pikey" during an interview with Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw yesterday.

The actor appeared on the breakfast show to promote his new movie Unlocked when he used the word, which is a derogatory term for Travellers and Gypsies. A BBC spokesperson said: "As with any live broadcast, we take great care to ensure all guests are briefed about their language before going on air. We apologized to listeners afterwards for any offense caused."

When Grimmy asked Orlando if he performs his own stunts, the actor replied: "I'm still a pikey from Kent, boy. I'm still a pikey from Kent. You don't want to get on the wrong side of me, boy."

After the interview, the Pirates Of The Caribbean star insisted that he didn't mean it as a slant against Traveller and Gypsy communities.

"I've come from Kent and I grew up with a lot of, like, freewheeling, cool, interesting characters like that," he explained. "I certainly wasn't taking a slant at that at all. I'm very respectful."

Grimmy himself also apologized to listeners on air, saying: "Great to have him on the show, but apologies if you were offended by anything Orlando may have said earlier on."

Still, some listeners didn't exactly take kindly to Orlando's use of the word, complaining that Radio 1 only recently aired a program about the meaning behind its offense.

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Adam Silverstein is a freelance sub-editor and writer at Digital Spy, and he specialises in music, TV and movies.