The BBC came under fire from a homosexual rights group yesterday after it failed to uphold a complaint about Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles's use of the word "gay" to mean "rubbish".

Stonewall, the lesbian and gay rights group, said the BBC has chosen to ignore the fact that the derogatory use of the word was "very offensive" to lesbian and gay people.

The ruling by the BBC Governors was made after a complaint was lodged about the DJ, who presents the Radio 1 flagship Breakfast Show, for dismissing a ring tone by saying "I don't want that one, it's gay".

Andy Forrest, Stonewall communications officer, said: "Our view would be that the majority of gay people do find the use of gay as a derogatory term very offensive.

"We feel that this should be the BBC's main consideration, not whether that is the way it is being used, so it is good, but the fact that a section of society are finding it offensive and therefore it should not be used."

In its ruling, the BBC Governors Programme Complaints Committee, said Moyles's broadcast fell within the "relevant editorial guidelines".

The word "gay" in addition to being used to mean "homosexual" or "carefree", is often now used to mean "lame" or "rubbish", it said.

This is widespread current usage of the word among young people, they added.

Moyles meant no offence to gay people with his use of the word.