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Richard Littlejohn’s ‘Cartoon’ On Jody McIntyre Prompts At Least 500 complaints To PCC

December 14, 2010


A Richard Littlejohn column in the Daily Mail that compared student fees protester Jody McIntyre to Matt Lucas’s Little Britain creation Andy has prompted 500 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission.

Police launched an internal investigation after footage appeared to show McIntyre being pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged across the road by an officer during last Thursday’s demonstration in central London.

Littlejohn said if McIntyre was “looking for sympathy he’s come to the wrong place”. Littlejohn described McIntyre as “like Andy from Little Britain” before imagining a spoof dialogue between McIntyre – as Andy – and David Walliams’s Lou.

A BBC News channel interview with McIntyre also prompted a “considerable” number of complaints from viewers, who said interviewer Ben Brown asked inappropriate and “insensitive” questions.

Protests against Littlejohn’s column gained momentum today on Twitter, where people posted a link for the Press Complaints Commission, echoing – to date on a much smaller scale – the response to fellow Mail columnist Jan Moir’s piece on Stephen Gately last year.

One tweeter described Littlejohn as “shameful [for] mocking the disabled”. Another, referring to the Mail’s coverage of Frankie Boyle’s joke on Channel 4 about Katie Price’s son, said: “When Frankie Boyle makes jokes about disabled people, the Mail complains. When Littlejohn does it, the Mail prints it.”

A spokesman for the PCC said it had received around 500 complaints and was looking to contact McIntyre directly. It has not yet launched a formal investigation into the article.

The BBC News channel controller, Kevin Bakhurst, said the corporation had received a “consider number of complaints” from viewers about the Brown interview, which aired on the channel on Monday evening.

“I am aware that there is a web campaign encouraging people to complain to the BBC about the interview, the broad charge being that Ben Brown was too challenging in it,” said Bakhurst in a blog post on the BBC website.

“However I am genuinely interested in hearing more from people who have complained about why they object to the interview. I would obviously welcome all other views.

“I have reviewed the interview a few times and I would suggest that we interviewed Mr McIntyre in the same way that we would have questioned any other interviewee in the same circumstances: it was quite a long interview and Mr McIntyre was given several minutes of airtime to make a range of points, which he did forcefully; Ben challenged him politely but robustly on his assertions.

“Mr McIntyre says during the interview that ‘personally he sees himself equal to anyone else’ and we interviewed Mr McIntyre as we would interview anyone else in his position.”

A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to reveal how many complaints the corporation had received about the interview, saying it was not policy to do so when there was “obvious evidence of lobbying”.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. FanDan permalink
    December 16, 2010 8:56 pm

    There was no lobbying. Do the BBC really not understand that many, many people are legitimately and independently angry over the blatant bias they are showing?

    Bakhurst should be ashamed of himself. His attempt at minimizing the problem rather than apologising or dealing with it has seriously backfired. People are not happy, and it’s not because they’ve been “lobbied.”

  2. Macca43 permalink
    December 18, 2010 10:41 pm

    Littlejohn is deluding himself if he things Jody McIntyre is looking for sympathy from him or anyone else. This sordid man reveals yet more of his appalling, hateful self.

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