MPs grill C4 boss over Frankie Boyle gag

Under fire over 'appalling' joke

Frankie Boyle’s joke about Katie Price’s disabled son has come under intense scrutiny in the Commons, with MPs branding it ‘unjustifiable’.

Channel 4 chief David Abraham was attacked for his refusal to offer an unreserved apology as the culture, media and sport select committee grilled him over his decision to allow the offensive lines to air.

Regulators at Ofcom previously said the joke ‘appeared to directly target and mock the mental and physical disabilities of a known eight-year-old child’ and said executives had made a poor decision in broadcasting it – but stopped short of requiring an apology from the channel.

Abraham admitted the joke had been referred all the way up to him before it was broadcast, and he gave it the go ahead ‘amongst many jokes in the series which were pushing the boundaries’.

He said that fact that only one Ofcom complaint was upheld was proof that ‘on balance we get decisions right’, the Guardian reports,

Abraham added that it was ‘very difficult [to] deconstruct a decision around something as subjective as humour’, and said that Channel 4 needs to ‘at the edge of taste... but in a responsible way’.

In an open letter to Price, Abraham has previously claimed the joke – that she married a cage fighter as ‘she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her’ – was intended to ‘satirise the culture of celebrity’.

But Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe called it ‘a clearly appalling decision’ to air the gag and added: ‘I am bewildered you can sit here and say that it is challenging political correctness and that you will not apologise ... surely no cultural remit could ever justify such a joke.’

When Abraham again dodged offering a direct apology, she added: ‘I find that completely appalling.’

Published: 14 Jun 2011

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