Frankie Boyle in racism row

'He's a serial offender'

Frankie Boyle is at the centre of another storm after using the words ‘nigger’ and ‘Paki’ in his Channel 4 show this week.

Although the words were intended to highlight racist attitudes, their use has heaped pressure on the broadcaster following his joke about Katie Price's disabled son.

Tory MP John Whittingdale, chairman of the all-party Culture Media and Sport Committee in the Commons, said Channel 4 should consider sacking the comic over the words.

But they stood by him, saying the intent was satirical.

In his stand-up routine, Boyle discussed how news reports always considered British lives more valued than foreign ones.

He said: ‘What gets me is our callousness as a society when we read out our dead on the news first, because our lives are more important. Other people’s aren’t worth as much.’

He then mimicked a newsreader to add: ‘A bomb went off in Kandahar today, killing two British servicemen, three UN relief workers and a whole bunch of Pakis.’

Later he said: ‘The Ministry of Defence? At least in the old days we were honest, it was The Ministry of War.’ He then adopted the tone of a receptionist to say: ‘Hello Ministry of War, department of nigger-bombing, how can I help?’

The episode of Tramadol Nights also included a sketch in which a woman dressed like a sexy Super Mario danced provocatively before waving to the camera and saying: ‘Hello to Pakis everywhere.’ Afterwards, Boyle in character as an academic said: ‘That was very probably wrong.’

Whittingdale said: ‘The words nigger and Paki are deeply offensive to a large number of people. I don't think even in comedy it is justified

‘Frankie Boyle is becoming a serial offender. I really think Channel 4 will have to think whether it's appropriate to screen programmes which are regularly causing offence to a lot of people. It might be a breach of the Broadcasting Code. Ofcom will have to determine that.’

A spokesman for campaign group Show Racism The Red Card said: ‘Regardless of context and intention, the use of words such as these has the effect of normalising racist language.’

And Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation called it ‘abhorrent,’ adding: ‘ People at home watching that will think that this sort of language terminology is acceptable in the 21st Century.’

But a Channel 4 spokesman said: ‘We strongly refute any suggestion we are endorsing or condoning racist language by our broadcast of Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights.

‘This cutting-edge comedy is clearly intended to ridicule and satirise the use of these words - Frankie Boyle was not endorsing them. Channel 4 would not have broadcast these words had they been used in a racist way. All the jokes highlight the unacceptable nature of this language.’

Regulators Ofcom are set to investigate Boyle’s joke against Katie Price’s eight-year-old son, broadcast earlier in the series.

Published: 23 Dec 2010

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