Riddle of 'Boycott Little Britain' call

Doubts over outrage reports

Doubts have been cast on claims that the new Little Britain USA has offended gay rights groups in America, even before it is broadcast.

No record appears to exist of the group said to be calling for a ban on the HBO broadcast; nor the spokesman leading the campaign.

Yesterday, Daily Star Sunday reported how West Hollywood Gay and Lesbian Alliance spokesman Irwin Blair said: ‘This is the most politically incorrect, offensive and obnoxious material ever seen in this country.

‘We intend to protest in the strongest terms to HBO and urge members of the homosexual community to boycott this show.’

However, a web search revels no record of the West Hollywood Gay and Lesbian Alliance, nor any activist by the name of Irwin Blair.

His supposed group is said to be offended by scenes such as burly body-builders simulating sex while chiding an onlooker for ‘being a fag’, and chat host Rosie O’Donnell being the butt of jokes about her lesbianism.

Little Britain USA launches on HBO on September 28 before transferring to the BBC later this autumn – and controversy will certainly help raise the profile of David Walliams and Matt Lucas, who is gay himself, in the States ahead of the debut.

Another activist quoted in the original article, New York Gay Pride spokesman Gina Gallo said: ‘Audiences in Britain might be used to this grossly insulting material – but people here aren’t. I’m surprised that Rosie, a leading voice in the gay rights movement, would allow herself to become the target of such homophobic abuse. This just isn’t what passes for comedy here.’

Broadcaster Tim Curran, who presents hourly news bulletins aimed at the gay and lesbian community for Sirius Satellite Radio from New York, cast doubt on the Daily Star’s report.

On his blog, he wrote: ‘The West Hollywood Gay and Lesbian Alliance simply does not exist at all. With 25 years (on and off) in the gay media business, I’ve never heard of either of the two supposed spokespersons, Gina Gallo and Irwin Blair (nor has Google, for that matter). I know the spokespeople for every prominent gay group in America, many of them personally, and either Gallo and Blair don’t exist, or they beamed in from Mars in the last two weeks.

‘I’m convinced that this story is total fiction, most likely planted by somebody’s publicist to generate publicity in Britain that would cross over to the US via blogs to help the HBO show.’

Published: 15 Sep 2008

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