Boyle told off by Ofcom for ‘offensive’ joke

Apr 4, 2011
Staff Reporter

Comedian rapped over knuckles for Tramadol Nights gag about Jordan’s disabled son

The comedian Frankie Boyle has been rapped over the knuckles for "offensive" jokes he made on Channel 4 about Katie Price's disabled eight-year-old child, Harvey.
During an episode of the comedy Tramadol Nights, Boyle joked: "Jordan and Peter Andre are still fighting each other over custody of Harvey - eventually one of them will lose and have to keep him."
He then added: "I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage fighter - she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her."
Media regulator Ofcom received more than 500 complaints about the joke, including one from Price – once better known as the glamour model Jordan - who posted on her website: "To bully this unbelievably brave child is despicable, to broadcast it on television is to show a complete and utter lack of judgment".
But although Ofcom has condemned Boyle and Channel 4 for breaching broadcasting rules, it has not imposed any punishment, such as a fine or on-air apology.
Channel 4 argued at the time that the comments were merely satirical and absurdist. Chief executive David Abraham personally sanctioned the episode before it was broadcast.
The broadcaster also claimed Boyle was making fun of Price, better known as former-glamour model Jordan, for her "exploitation of her children for publicity purposes".
But Ofcom ruled that this did "not provide broadcasters with unlimited licence... This position applies even more firmly in a case in which the child is as young as eight years old, and has a number of disabilities which are specifically focussed on".
Boyle has been in trouble before for jokes about Downs Syndrome sufferers, Olympian Rebecca Adlington's looks and the Cumbria massacre.

Sign up for our daily newsletter