Russell Brand on Paralympics row

'Stop being silly' he tells critics

Russell Brand has told the Press to ‘stop being silly’ after he was criticised for comments he made about the Paralympics.

Several disabled athletes slammed the comic as patronising and offensive after he said the Games had a ‘novelty value’.

In response he tweeted a photograph of himself with a wheelchair rugby player and the comment ‘Congratulations Chris and Aussie WC rugby team. Daily Mail/People stop being silly.’

Brand featured in the weekend papers over a joke he told about the London 2012 Olympics during a low-key stand-up gig at the Pleasance in North London last week.

He said: ‘I don't give a fuck about the Olympics. It's boring Blue Peter sport and a waste of taxpayers' money. At least the Paralympics have some kind of novelty value or something.’

Wheelchair racer David Weir said: ‘Calling the sport a novelty is offensive. Brand obviously hasn’t met any Paralympians. If he did he certainly wouldn’t call any of us a novelty.’

Dressage star Natasha Baker added: ‘ We've worked harder than anyone to get here. We've suffered life-threatening illnesses. It's both patronising and upsetting for Russell Brand to describe us as a novelty.’

And Neil Coyle from the charity Disablity Alliance, said: ‘It’s a feeble joke given the hard work that goes into the Paralympics. The comment might have been tongue-in-cheek but it’s offensive. It is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.’

Brand has previously spoken out in support of wheelchair athletes. When his friend Ade Adepitan, a former Paralympic basketball medalist, was denied entry to a West End nightclub, allegedly by a bouncer who called him a ‘fucking cripple’, the comic highlighted it on his radio show, causing problems with the BBC.

Published: 12 Sep 2011

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