Parents of children with disabilities are planning to protest against a performance in west Belfast later by the Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle.
They claim it is inappropriate the show is taking place as part of the Féile an Phobail community
festival because of politically incorrect jokes Boyle has made in the past about disabled people.
Last month, festival organisers said they were deeply sorry for any hurt or offence that had been caused by Boyle's appearance. They said they
would put in place measures to avoid such a situation arising in the future .
However in a world where PC lynch mobs seem to hold sway, those that refuse to kowtow to political correctness are treated as folk heroes. From Jeremy Clarkson to
Donald Trump, all capture the heart of ordinary folk, and Frankie Boyle is no exception. Féile an Phobail reports that the Frankie Boyle show has been the fastest-selling comedy gig it has ever put on.
Comedian Frankie Boyle has written an open letter slamming the BBC governing body's cowardly rebuke of his jokes about Palestine.
The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee apologised earlier this week over comments made by Boyle two
years ago, comparing Palestine to a cake being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew .
In his letter, the former Mock The Week star said he had been moved to tears after watching a documentary about life in Palestine and had promised
himself he would do something.
He said that the BBC wished to deliver the flavour of political comedy with none of the content , and also slammed the BBC's decision not to air a charity appeal for aid to Gaza last year. He said: It's
tragic for such a great institution, but it is now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well-drilled lobbying.
Boyle made the remarks on Radio 4 show Political Animal. He said: I've been studying Israeli
Army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back.
Obviously, it feels strange to be on the moral high ground but I feel a response is required to the BBC Trust's cowardly rebuke of my jokes about
As always, I heard nothing from the BBC but read in a newspaper that editorial procedures would be tightened further to stop jokes with anything at all to say getting past the censors.
In case you missed it, the jokes in question are: I've been studying Israeli Army Martial Arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy
that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well…that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.
I think the problem here is that the show's producers will have thought that
Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal was an appropriate target for satire. The Trust's ruling is essentially a note from their line managers. It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an
entire people is fair game, you are mistaken. Israel is out of bounds.
The BBC refused to broadcast a humanitarian appeal in 2009 to help residents of Gaza rebuild their homes. It's tragic for such a great institution
but it is now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well drilled lobbying.
I told the jokes on a Radio 4 show called Political Animal. That title seems to promise provocative comedy with a
point of view. In practice the BBC wish to deliver the flavour of political comedy with none of the content. The most recent offering I saw was BBC Two's The Bubble. It looked exactly like a show where funny people sat around and did jokes about the
news. Except the thrust of the format was that nobody had read the papers. I can only imagine how the head of the BBC Trust must have looked watching that, grinning like Gordon Brown having his prostrate examined.
situation in Palestine seems to be, in essence, apartheid. I grew up with the anti apartheid thing being a huge focus of debate. It really seemed to matter to everybody that other human beings were being treated in that way. We didn't just talk about it,
we did things, I remember boycotts and marches and demos all being held because we couldn't bear that people were being treated like that.
A few years ago I watched a documentary about life in Palestine. There's a
section where a UN dignitary of some kind comes to do a photo opportunity outside a new hospital. The staff know that it communicates nothing of the real desperation of their position, so they trick her into a side ward on her way out. She ends up in a
room with a child who the doctors explain is in a critical condition because they don't have the supplies to keep treating him. She flounders, awkwardly caught in the bleak reality of the room, mouthing platitudes over a dying boy.
The filmmaker asks one of the doctors what they think the stunt will have achieved. He is suddenly angry, perhaps having just felt at first hand something he knew in the abstract. The indifference of the world. She will do
nothing, he says to the filmmaker. Then he looks into the camera and says, Neither will you .
I cried at that and promised myself that I would do something. Other than write a few stupid jokes I have not
done anything. Neither have you.
The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee has issued an apology over a joke made by Frankie Boyle which compared Palestine with a cake being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew .
The committee, which acts as a final arbiter of
appeals if complainants are unhappy with the response from BBC management, upheld a previous finding that the comment was inappropriate and offensive.
But it said that no further action is needed in the case.
Boyle made the remark on Radio
4 comedy sketch show Political Animal , broadcast almost two years ago in June 2008.
The Scottish comedian said: I'm quite interested in the Middle East, I'm actually studying that Israeli army martial arts. And I know 16 ways to kick a
Palestinian woman in the back. It's a difficult question to understand. I've got an analogy which explains the whole thing quite well: If you imagine that Palestine is a cake - well, that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.
complainant wrote to the BBC Executive branding the comment disgusting and anti-Semitic.
Dissatisfied with the broadcaster's response, the complainant went to the editorial complaints unit, which is the next stage of the BBC's
complaints process. But the complainant then went to the editorial standards committee as he felt that the remark had gone through the editorial process without ringing any alarm bells.
Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington has formally complained to the BBC that it let comedian Frankie Boyle off with a slap on the wrist over jokes that caused her deep hurt.
The double gold medal winner at last year's Beijing
Olympics has demanded an explanation from the BBC Trust over why it chose not to punish the comic for outrageous slurs that left her humiliated .
And her agent has called for the BBC to ban Boyle over his comments.
episode of BBC2's satirical show Mock the Week last year, soon after Miss Adlington's Olympic triumph, Boyle said she resembled someone looking at themselves in the back of a spoon and followed up with sexual innuendo.
sparked 75 complaints, but although the BBC Trust criticised Boyle and agreed that his remarks were unfair and offensive it took no further action such as barring him from its programmes for a period.
Miss Adlington has now written to the
Corporation, calling its rebuke no more than a slap on the wrist for comments which fell well below the standards of common decency . She questioned the effectiveness of the Trust's disciplinary process and called for the corporation to
take greater responsibility for its stars.
The BBC Trust said last night it had received Miss Adlington's letter and would consider it, but added: At this stage we have no plans to review the finding .
Last Tuesday, the BBC Trust criticised the panel show Mock the Week because one of its stars, Frankie Boyle, joked about the facial features of Rebecca Adlington, the Olympic swimmer.
But even before the ban on derogatory gags,
senior figures in comedy were expressing frustration at the BBC's increasing nervousness about humour. Take Jimmy Mulville, who runs the company that makes Have I Got News for You . At the Edinburgh Television Festival in August, Mr Mulville said
it was becoming harder to get risqué jokes past the BBC's censors. My worry, he said, is that we're having our tastes set at a dial by the tabloid press.
A joke about the Queen broadcast on BBC2's satirical panel show Mock the Week had been cleared by the corporation's TV censor.
Comedian Frankie Boyle joked that you would not hear the Queen say during her Christmas broadcast: I'm now
so old that my p**** is haunted.
The episode had first been shown in 2007 but was repeated in October 2008 during the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand furore.
A complainant said the joke was grossly offensive and added: It would have
been objectionable at the best of times but coming as it did in the midst of the Ross and Brand controversy it was quite unforgivable.
An initial complaint to the BBC's management had been rejected saying that, while the joke was near the
knuckle , it was in keeping with the show.
The viewer then took his complaint to the BBC Trust which also rejected the complaint, despite admitting the joke had sexist and ageist overtones .
Richard Tait, BBC trustee and chairman
of the editorial standards committee, said the joke was well after the watershed, well signposted and within audience expectations for the show . He said: The committee did feel this joke was in bad taste - it had both sexist and ageist
However, a gag on a different episode of Mock the Week about Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington was deemed to have broken rules.
In August last year, Boyle said Adlington looks like someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a
spoon . He also made a sexual innuendo about the gold medalists' love life, saying Adlington's boyfriend looked like a male model and continuing: So from that I have deduced that Rebecca Adlington is very dirty - I mean if you just take into
account how long she can hold her breath...
One viewer told the BBC he was appalled .
The show's producer later responded to the complaint, saying the ribbing might have gone a tad too far and apologised.
said that 75 complaints were received about the item, originally aired in the week that Team GB returned from the Olympic Games. It found that, while Adlington was a public figure, she had not courted media attention. The judgment said: The joke about
her appearance and the sexual innuendo were humiliating and there was no demonstration of a clear editorial purpose for the inclusion of these comments.
The committee also noted that the commissioning editor had made her views known about
preferring not to include the joke. It said it was concerned she appeared to have been unable to obtain the edits she would have preferred.