16th Oct 2012 11:04am | By Kevin Mann
Comedian Frankie Boyle has entered into a lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper after they published an article labelling him as “racist" last July.
Mr Boyle described a “very serious” libel article published by the Daily Mirror in July 2011 entitled “Channel 4: We are back on the Boyle”.
Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, has since defended his claims. Their lawyer in the proceedings, Ronald Thwaites QC, stated that Mr Boyle was indeed a “racist comedian,” as well as saying the Daily Mirror was claiming its use of the description was very fair.
Speaking to jurors, Mr Thwaites stated: “What he has done is to take the negative stereotype of black people and exploit that for cheap laughs gratuitously.”
“This is not part of some intellectual cause. This is not part of some clever message. We have selected some stark examples of where he is racist in his comedy.”
Mr Boyle spoke to the jurors. First explaining that he was born to “economic migrants” from Ireland in Glagsgow in 1972.
“I am completely anti-racism,” he said. “I have never expressed in any serious point anything that has been anything but anti-racist.”
David Sherborne, Mr Boyle’s barrister, said that labelling someone as a “racist” was an “obviously defamatory” intention. He went on to say that Mr Boyle accepted criticism but these remarks were well past the line.
Speaking to the jury, Mr Sherborne stated: “Saying ‘vile’ or offensive’, or his material is ‘vile’ or ‘offensive’, is one thing. He realises that that goes with the territory, so to speak.
“But accusing him of being a racist is an entirely different matter. You can call him ‘offensive’, you can call him ‘tasteless’. That’s fine. But he is not racist.”
“He would not have sued the defendant if he had been called ‘tasteless’ and ‘offensive.’ But he was not. He was called ‘racist’. That is a different matter and he will explain to you why it was so upsetting.”
The barrister added that accusations from the newspaper that Mr Boyle was “forced to quit” Mock the Week or had been terminated from his position were both “completely untrue.”
The article which Mr Sherborne was referring to is a piece published by MGN titled “New show for vile comic.” It started: “Racist comedian Frankie Boyle could soon be returning to TV despite upsetting thousands of viewers with his sick jokes.”
The newspaper made allegations that a joke about Olympic medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington had caused the cancelation of his BBC Two panel show.
Mr Boyle has repeatedly come under fire from critics during his career, defending himself by saying that he believes that there is “no too far” in comedy. He has often told jokes about the missing child Madeleine McCann and her family.
Tramadol Nights, a 2010 series on Channel 4, went under criticism after Mr Boyle joked about the disabled son of Katie Price.
In a joke about British foreign policy that he told jurors as an example, he pretended to answer a phone and said, “Department of N----- Bombing.”
In defending Mr Boyle, My Sherborne told jurors that “context is everything” and that he had not utilized the term “n-----“ unreasonably.
Continuing Mr Sherborne stated: “We say the use of the world is clear. The defendants have misunderstood it. Surely we have not got to the stage where we cannot use the word at all.”
Mr Boyle’s barrister has defended phone hacking victims against tabloid newspapers who had allegedly listened to the voicemail messages of celebrities secretly.
The publisher of the Daily Mirror intends to show 12 examples of Mr Boyle’s comedy to show that the use of the term ‘racist’ was fair.
Image via Getty.
I'm afraid I must disappear from Twitter for a while. See you on the other side of this thing. HipHopThursday will continue tho x— Frankie Boyle (@frankieboyle) October 14, 2012
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