‘Bullied’ into ending Dapper Laughs


Published: Friday 20th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The comedian behind the controversial Dapper Laughs act who was heavily criticised for being sexist and offensive claims he was bullied into killing off the character.

Daniel O’Reilly said he has had time to “calm down” following a storm of criticism and will now bring back his “lad culture” brand of comedy.

The internet comic’s ITV2 show ended in November after one series and his UK tour was cancelled last year when a video emerged of him telling an audience member that she was “gagging for a rape” during a live show.

He appeared on BBC’s Newsnight at the time and told host Emily Maitlis: ”I am not going to allow Dapper Laughs to represent me. I want the people out there to know that not only am I going to stop it, I am going to help it not being promoted.”

But despite his apology, just a month later he proclaimed that “Dapper’s back” in a Christmas message on YouTube.

In an interview with BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat today he denied that killing off his character was a stunt and said he has support from his fans.

“It wasn’t a stunt, it was just everything was just too much, that was the only way I could stop and it did, it stopped the drama,” he said.

“After, I had time to settle down and calm down and think about what had happened and started receiving 30,000-40,000 people signing petitions on Facebook to bring me back and a lot of fans disgusted that I was even contemplating giving up.

“I thought no, I’m not going to be bullied out of what I’m doing, let’s bring it back.”

He added that he did not make the rape joke during his live show, but repeated what an audience member had said to him about her friend.

His video clips include him yelling sexual comments at women from his car or on the street but he told the BBC he does not believe men approach women in real life.

One of his recent tweets read: ”Remember, its only sexual harassment if she’s more attractive then you”, which he admitted was distasteful and sexist but said he found it “amusing”.

Anti-street harassment campaigner Bryony Beynon, the co-director of Hollaback! London, said: “The kind of behaviour he normalises through his routine is sexualised street harassment.

“To suggest it doesn’t exist isn’t just laughable but completely incorrect and ignores and trivialises women’s experience by saying it’s all banter and comedy.

“He obviously realises he doesn’t have much else than the controversy itself to feed off.

“All I can hope is that louder, more comedic voices will drown out his low-level garbage.”

In November Ofcom launched an investigation into whether any offensive material in the show was justified by the context.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “Ofcom is currently investigating whether the repeated use of sexual references in this comedy series met generally accepted standards.”

Mr O’Reilly said he felt his freedom of speech had been “100%” violated by a “media campaign against me” and said the press were “allowed to fabricate and make up stuff and create a mass hysteria point of view around the character”.

He also said his family were subjected to hate and abuse in the wake of the row.

Roz Hardy, chief executive of Object, a campaign which challenges media sexism, said: “We respect freedom of speech, which he is entitled to, b ut criticism of somebody’s act is not stifling their freedom of speech.

“His TV show was not banned, it was just not recommissioned because I think, it’s fair to say, it was not appropriate entertainment.

“A lot of men and women felt parts of his act were verging on incitement of sexual harassment by encouraging men to go up to women and make sexual comments or pretend to accidentally touch them.

“It’s a shame because he is still a young comedian and could learn from his mistakes and create a new character.”

Published: Friday 20th February 2015 by The News Editor

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