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Channel 4 urged to sack comedian Frankie Boyle in race jibe row

Original Source: MIRROR:23 DECEMBER 2010
 by Mark Jefferies, Daily Mirror 23/12/2010

HE’S no stranger to controversy… and last night comedian Frankie Boyle was said to be unrepentant over his latest outburst.

Friends claim he has laughed off calls for him to be banned from TV following a deluge of complaints about racist language in his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights.

Many viewers were outraged after he used the P-word and n-word during a series of near-the-knuckle sketches.

One skit involved a woman dressed as Super Mario. She danced provocatively in front of the cameras before waving and saying: “Hello to P***’s everywhere.”

Then during his stand-up routine Boyle, 38, turned the subject to war.

He said: “Basically we are murdering a load of shepherds. What gets me is our callousness as a society when we read out our dead on the news first, because our lives are more important. Other people’s aren’t worth as much.”

Adopting a newsreader’s tone, he added: “A bomb went off in Kandahar today, killing two British servicemen, three UN relief workers and a whole bunch of P****.”

Later he said: “The Ministry of Defence? At least in the old days we were honest, it was The Ministry of War.”

In a posh phone voice he added: “Hello Ministry of War, department of n*****-bombing, how can I help?”

His remarks triggered a furious reaction. A spokesman for Show Racism the Red Card said: “We condemn Frankie Boyle’s use of racist terminology.

“Regardless of context and intention, the use of words such as these has the effect of normalising racist language.

“That is never acceptable. It is dehumanising and provides the foundations on which serious hate crimes are built.” MP John Whittingdale, chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, said: “There’s no question that these words are deeply offensive to many people.

“I think it’s entirely right that Ofcom should carry out an immediate investigation to decide whether this is acceptable.

“It’s very hard to justify – even in terms of political satire.”

On Digital spy forums, Dolly Stanford said: “He used to be funny and offensive, now he is just offensive. Shame.”

Another viewer said: “I liked him on Mock the Week, but this is just dreadful.”

Scots-born Boyle, who writes a column for the Sun, has already faced a barrage of criticism over earlier shows in which he made sexual jibes about Katie Price and her disabled son Harvey.

He also cracked sick jokes about cancer victims and mocked people with Aids.

Channel 4 – slammed three years ago for refusing to take responsibility for the Shilpa Shetty Celebrity Big Brother race row – seemed to be trying to tough it out again last night.

It pointed out that a warning was broadcast before Tuesday night’s show that it “contained very strong language and uncompromising adult content which some viewers will find offensive”.

But critics argue that Boyle’s comments breach TV rule 2.3 regarding “generally accepted standards”. It says any broadcast must justify in context any discriminatory language regarding race. Earlier this year Boyle had an on-stage run-in with the mother of a Down’s syndrome child. He spent five minutes of a stand-up show poking fun at sufferers and their parents by criticising their hair, clothing and voices.

He then turned on the audience, picking on a couple – Sharon and Keiron Smith – in the front row and accusing them of talking. Laughter turned to awkward silence when Mrs Smith told Boyle: “My daughter has Down’s syndrome and I’m very upset.”

Boyle retorted: “This is my last tour. I don’t give a f*** what people think.” Insiders at Channel 4 privately admitted the outspoken comedian has been testing executives’ patience.

But Shane Allen, the channel’s head of comedy commissioning, insisted: “We refute any suggestion we are endorsing or condoning racist language.

“This cutting edge comedy is clearly intended to ridicule and satirise the use of these words – Frankie Boyle was not endorsing them.”

- BOYLE also made a cruel jibe about missing Madeline McCann. Describing things you could say to change the atmosphere at a dinner party, he said: “We are all here – who’s looking after Madeleine?” A spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann said: “It was deeply offensive.”


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