Disability rights campaigner Nicola Clark, who previously led the condemnation of Ricky Gervais’s use of the word “mong”, branded Stanhope “a bully with a microphone” after his forthright damnation of Pearson’s views on assisted suicide.
In a recent column for the Daily Telegraph, Pearson argued that Tony Nicklinson, a 53 year-old former engineer left paralysed from the neck down by a stroke, was wrong to fight for the right to die and should instead hope for an opportunity to refuse life-saving medical treatment.
Responding to the article, the comic labelled her a “cunt” on his Facebook page, before sending Pearson a public tweet saying, “I just went Christian just to pray you get a fetid ovarian cyst. Let me know if it works.” Pearson herself used Twitter to hit back, describing his comments as a “vile incitement to hatred against women”.
Stanhope is a vocal advocate of the right to die. In an interview last year, he described his mother’s choice to take her own life rather than live with emphysema as “the single bravest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do”.
However, speaking to the comedy website Chortle, Clark dismissed the manner of his expression: “Stanhope reserves his defence of disabled people for those who agree with him and his savage attacks for those disabled people whose parents have a different political viewpoint.”
Clark has previously criticised Stanhope for referring to Sarah Palin’s son, who was born with Down’s syndrome, as a “retard” and a “spastic”.
Pearson also claimed to be taking matters further, tweeting: “I am investigating employers of @DougStanhope and will be asking why they choose to hire vile misogynist [sic]. Does Channel 4 actually employ him? Do they know he is an online misogynist and creep?”
Stanhope subsequently requested that his 81,000 followers refrain from targeting Pearson with similar abuse. Both suggested that they would continue to talk about the incident, Pearson in a future column and Stanhope onstage.