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Channel 4 Defend Frankie Boyle Over Repeat Showing Of His Comments About Harvey Price

December 13, 2010

Readers, where is the sensive, inclusive Channel 4 which screened Cast Offs just last year? Where are the people who promised us more coverage of the Paralympics than ever before in 2012? Where are the people who are searching for disabled presenters to present that coverage of the Paralympics? In fact, readers, if this is their attitude towards such obvious disablism, I’m starting to wonder why they even want to show the Paralympics at all. If they care about disability or disabled people at all, they are certainly not showing it in their current treatment of Katie Price and Frankie Boyle.

Channel 4 has defended the right of comedians to make jokes which “push boundaries” after reality TV star Katie Price complained about Frankie Boyle.

Price said Boyle’s joke about her disabled son Harvey was “vile” and she criticised Channel 4 for showing it again in a repeat.

Media regulator Ofcom has launched an investigation into the complaint.

The charity Mencap described Boyle’s joke as a “disgusting” attack on a disabled child.

Price said: “By repeating Frankie Boyle’s show, Channel 4 are embracing and exploiting discrimination.”

But Head of Comedy, C4, Shane Allen said: “We are aware that Frankie Boyle’s comedy can be very challenging which is why we have gone to careful lengths in scrutinising the material editorially, in scheduling the series appropriately and by giving clear and strong warnings into each of the programmes.

“We think that it is important that a space on terrestrial TV exists for comedy that takes risks and pushes boundaries and we stand by our original decision to broadcast the programme.”

Price responded by saying: “They are saying it is ok to ridicule people – even children – for disability in a way they would not dare over race or sexual orientation.

“The people who control the channel are endorsing this behaviour and it is disgusting. Even the fact that Ofcom are investigating the first broadcast has not made them divert from this path.

“This issue is not about me, other than Harvey is my son. This issue is about discrimination.”

She added: “By broadcasting these vile sexual comments about Harvey, and then insisting on repeating them, Channel Four are trying to take us back to an era when discrimination was accepted.

“They mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.”

She was supported by Mencap’s campaigns manager, Esther Foreman, who said: “It is disgusting that Frankie Boyle has chosen to target a child with a disability with these so-called jokes.

‘Dark ages’

“Ignorant views like this help to fuel the verbal and physical abuse that people with a disability, and their families, are regularly subjected to. Comedy like this takes us back to the dark ages.”

She said: “How can we eradicate negative stereotypes and expect the general public to treat people with a disability with the respect they deserve when such vile jokes are aired on national television?

“How can Channel 4 justify broadcasting this? The answers they have given so far are not satisfactory in the slightest?”

Boyle has become known for his controversial stand-up routines.

In April he had an on-stage argument with the mother of a child with Down’s syndrome after making fun of the condition.

In 2009, the BBC Trust said satirical gameshow Mock The Week breached editorial guidelines over a Boyle joke about the appearance of Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

Ofcom said a judgement made over Boyle’s comments would not be determined until the new year.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2010 12:43 am

    chanel four allways push the boundrys but i think sometimes they push them boundries a bit far and they should be slaped by the itc but so far as i know the itc has to have a lot of compliants to be able to do anything

  2. December 14, 2010 1:59 am

    The man is a disgrace. He doesn’t have the cochones to deal with race or religion or gender because these areas have power. Disability is an eaay target both for him and Channel 4. Disability means exactly that – lack of power so in a society designed by the “able” for the “able” we are the “*****” on society’s shoe. Think on that 8 million people with a disability…..

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