Racist joke, 118? Certainly, 118

Phone company spreads offensive gags

A Muslim student is threatening to sue directory inquiry service 118 118 after the company texted him two racist gags.

Kameron Abbas was horrified when he used the company’s new joke-on-demand service and received a message reading: ‘What's the difference between ET and an Asian? ET got the message and went home.’

The 21-year-old then requested another and received: ‘How do you save a drowning Pakistani? Take your foot off his head.’

He then sent a text asking: ‘Do you send racist jokes?’, and received the reply that 118 118 ‘does not send jokes of this kind’.

Mr Abbas, a student at the University of Central Lancashire, said: ‘We could not believe the response. It was more Bernard Manning than Harry Hill. It was disgraceful and these people should be reported.

‘I was horrified at what we received and could not believe that 118 118 would send anything like that.’

He said he texted 118 118 after seeing the 60p-a-gag service advertised on TV. He said he and a friend requested a gag ‘for a laugh as we were bored’.

The company has apologised for a ‘breach of standards’ but has not dismissed the worker involved.

A spokesman said: ‘We are putting all operators through refresher training to stop this happening again. This is a breach of our standards. We don't do jokes like that. This is a disciplinary issue and we would like to apologise. He should not have received it.’

Published: 27 Nov 2008

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