Entertainment & Arts

Frankie Boyle defends Paralympic jokes

Frankie Boyle
Image caption Channel 4 said there were "no shows planned" with Frankie Boyle

Frankie Boyle has defended jokes he made on Twitter about the Paralympics, saying they were "celebratory".

The comedian called the Saudi Arabian team "mainly thieves", referring to criminals having their hands removed.

Boyle tweeted: "I'll be joking about Paralympics same way I joked about the Olympics. That's my job yo."

He added: "Nobody thinks it's a good thing to laugh at the disabled. But it is a genuine problem that we're not allowed to laugh with the disabled."

Boyle was supported by some of his online followers including Scottish comedian and actor Greg Hemphill, who said: "Well said mate. Inclusion vs. exclusion."

However, Boyle's defence caught the attention of former Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson who asked: "Would you mind saying disabled people please.

"We're not 'the disabled'. It's 'the table'....etc etc. thank you."

Boyle also joked: "After all the trials they've gone through, these Paralympians face their greatest challenge in trying to not look bored by Seb Coe."

The comic, who has almost a million followers on the social networking site, told critics: "Why not read the Paralympic jokes on my timeline and make your own mind up? Celebratory, non discriminatory, pretty funny."

It is far from the first time Boyle has caused offence. In 2009, the BBC Trust said satirical gameshow Mock The Week breached editorial guidelines over a joke Boyle made about the appearance of Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

In 2010, Channel 4 defended jokes he made about model Katie Price after she complained to broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

Some reports have speculated that the latest row may have cost Boyle further work with the channel, which broadcast his comedy show Tramadol Nights and is also the home of Paralympics coverage in the UK.

A Channel 4 statement said: "Frankie Boyle was tweeting from his personal account and not on behalf of Channel 4. He is not under contract and there are no shows planned with him."

Speaking to The Guardian, Mencap's Dan Scorer praised Channel 4's commitment to disability programmes but said: "It would be disappointing if these steps were undermined by providing a comedian who has repeatedly caused profound offence to disabled people opportunities to do so again."

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