Frankie Boyle rapped for ‘angry Jew’ joke
BBC Trust apologises for remark, saying it was offensive
Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle has been rapped by the BBC Trust for comparing the state of Palestine to a cake "being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew". Yesterday the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee ruled that Boyle's use of the word 'Jew' on a Radio 4 show in 2008 was offensive and apologised on behalf of the corporation for the remark.
The mea culpa from the very top of the BBC complaints process - the Trust acts as a final arbiter - comes after nearly two years of to-ing and fro-ing. It is also the second time in seven months that the BBC Trust has felt it necessary to apologise for Boyle’s controversial sense of humour.
Last October 75 people complained to the BBC when Boyle likened the teenage Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington to "someone looking at themselves in the back of a spoon" on the BBC 2 comedy show /Mock the Week/. Following that furore the Trust ruled that the Scottish comedian's remarks were offensive and humiliating. However, as reported by The First Post, Adlington's agent criticised the executive for not taking stronger action.
One person complained after Boyle made his 'angry Jew' comments on the radio comedy show Political Animal in June 2008. The male complainant wrote to the BBC executive, calling Boyle's remarks "disgusting" and "anti-Semitic". But he was dissatisfied with the executive's response and went to the editorial complaints unit, the next stage in the corporation's complaints process.
The unit replied in December 2008, upholding the complaint and saying the joke was "inappropriate and offensive". Political Animal's editors were also told that future shows needed to be more effectively supervised. However the complainant said he was still unhappy with the BBC's proposals. The remark had gone through the editorial process "without ringing any alarm bells", he said.
Yesterday, 23 months after the show was broadcast, the BBC Trust upheld the editorial complaints unit's previous finding and said no further action was needed in the case. The committee also noted that following the BBC's 'Sachsgate scandal' involving Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, work had been carried out in the corporation's audio and music division, showing "the BBC's willingness to learn from such mistakes".
Earlier this month Boyle, who has now left Mock the Week, found himself in hot water again. He was criticised by the parents of a child with Down's syndrome for making jokes about the condition during a stand-up gig in Reading.