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Tube says no to 'Niggas'

Reg Hunter's posters banned

London Underground has banned adverts for Reginald D Hunter’s West End run, fearing the word ‘Niggas’ would cause offence.

His show, Pride And Prejudice And Niggas, premiered at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, where little fuss was made about the title But producers bringing it to London’s Arts Theatre for a three-week run next month were stunned to be told it could not appear on London’s Tube network.

Viacom Outdoor, which has the contract for advertising on London Transport, said posters would only be allowed if the offending word was removed.

Hunter’s publicist Paul Sullivan called the ban ‘an overt act of censorship’, saying: ‘It could severely affect this critically acclaimed show.’

He added: ‘Interestingly, Pride And Prejudice And Niggas is a show in which Hunter tries to make sense of the way society deals with such emotive subjects as racism.’

Producer Mick Perrin has also hit problems trying to arrange a regional tour in the new year, with at least half a dozen venues refusing to programme the show because they did not want the additional hassle they thought its allegedly incendiary title may cause.

London Underground said: ‘We carry more than three million passengers a day, including Londoners and visitors from all walks of life.

‘When we consider advertising appropriate for the Tube, we take into account words or phrases that may offend some passengers. On this occasion, it was felt that the poster is likely to offend, so we took the decision to turn it down.’

Pride And Prejudice And Niggas won a Writers’ Guild Award at Edinburgh, and former Perrier nominee Hunter previously used the contentious word in his 2004 Edinburgh show, A Mystery Wrapped In A Nigga.

The new show runs at the Arts Theatre from December 4. Click here for tickets

Posted: 13 Nov 2006