Jim Davidson's PR 'tried to censor review' | Publicist raises threat of legal action

Jim Davidson's PR 'tried to censor review'

Publicist raises threat of legal action

Jim Davidson is embroiled in a censorship row after his publicist pressured a journalist to change a review calling him a 'racist comedian'.

Nick Turner was told that his review of Davidson's No Further Action tour at Carlisle's Sands Centre on November 2 for the Cumbria Live website was 'libellous'.

However, Neil Reading PR did not object to Turner's description of Davidson's act containing 'references to pikeys, darkies, black bastards and endless jokes about black men having big penises'.

And Turner told Chortle that 'they weren't prepared to defend his comedy when I started quoting it back to them'.

After taking legal advice, the journalist has refused to amend the review, published November 3, in which he credited Davidson with 'some good jokes. One or two', praised the account of his investigation as part of Operation Yewtree as 'fascinating', and commended his eloquence 'about how we treat our servicemen'.

But he added that 'once you’ve searched around for the plus points you can’t get away from the conclusion that Jim Davidson is an appallingly abusive and racist comedian'.

A self-confessed Guardian reader, who has 'never been a Davidson fan', Turner continued: 'Abuse was also directed at people on benefits, Lidl shoppers, fat women, fat black women and the disabled. Even paralympians Ellie Simmonds and Sarah Storey.

'I don’t mind my comedy being rude and crude, but this seemed desperate. In an interview before the gig Davidson said his infamous “Chalky” impressions were fine in the 70s but didn’t work any longer and yet here he was wheeling them out again. Does he normally do this and the bizarre rambling Zulu film routine or was he trying to find our level?'

'And when he justified not supporting Comic Relief by saying “F*** Africa! We’ve got black people in Britain and should support people here not in other countries” he got one of the biggest cheers of the night.

'I have never felt so alone.'

A publicist for Neil Reading PR called Turner, web editor with the CN Group, and followed it up with an email on November 5 saying: 'Your reference to Mr Davidson being racist is libellous and I kindly ask you to remove this from the review immediately please. I look forward to receiving your confirmation by return'.

Turner told Chortle: 'We double-checked with our lawyers that [the review] could be regarded as honest opinion and that we're entitled to say it'.

He will not be going to see Davidson again.

'He was moaning quite a bit about the gig, the atmosphere, the audience, the sound system, he kept stopping and starting, and I did wonder if he'd reverted to this older material, just to find a level sort of thing.

'It was all pretty offensive stuff. I've seen lots of comedians, I enjoy comedy, I'm quite prepared to see something that's edgy, controversial, crude, whatever. But being abusive and overtly racist is beyond the pale.'

Neil Reading PR have yet to respond to Chortle's request for comment.

- By Jay Richardson

Published: 13 Nov 2014

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