Thursday, December 9, 2010

Channel 4 refuse to apologise to Katie Price for broadcasting Frankie Boyle's vile sexual slur about disabled son Harvey

By Jody Thompson

-Model gives C4 5pm deadline to apologise over 'despicable' jibes or she will lodge complaint with Ofcom

Outrage: Katie Price, seen her landing in LA last night, has branded Frankie Boyle's mocking of her son Harvey on his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights 'disgusting'

Katie Price has called in her lawyers after comedian Frankie Boyle made a vile sexual slur against disabled son Harvey on his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights.

Former Mock The Week star Boyle, 38, said on the show, which is watched by one million viewers : '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 f****** her...'

Talking to MailOnline, Katie stormed: 'Harvey Price is a little miracle. Every day he overcomes so many difficulties with the help of family and medical experts and has so many tiny battles to win due to his medical problems and autism.

'I love him and am deeply proud to be his mother. If Mr Boyle had a tenth of his courage and decency he would know that to suggest, let alone think funny, that Harvey may sexually attack me is vile and deeply unfair.'

'Mr Boyle clearly has serious issues and those that give him a TV platform to say such disgusting things need to look at themselves very honestly.

'To bully this unbelievably brave child is despicable, to broadcast it on television is to show a complete and utter lack of judgment. I have asked my lawyers to write to Channel 4 on Harvey’s behalf.'

Katie told MailOnline that so far her request for an apology over the 'vicious' comments have been 'dismissed' and that she had received the same statement that the Mail Online had received.

And this evening, having not received an apology by the 5pm deadline, her spokesperson added: 'Following our earlier statement, we are deeply saddened that, despite requests, publicly-owned Channel 4 has not met the 5pm deadline for an apology over the deeply offensive and hurtful sexual comments it broadcast about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey.

'Accordingly, On Katie Price's instructions, we can confirm that we have had no option but to formally complain to OFCOM on Harvey Price's behalf about the comments.'

A Channel4 spokesperson told MailOnline: 'Frankie Boyle is one of the highest profile comedians in the UK; he’s well known for his controversial humour and the programme carried appropriate warnings as to the nature of the material.

'The joke aired in the context of a late night comedy show. The joke itself has been performed by Frankie as part of his stage show and, as with much of his material, is an absurdist and satirical comment on high profile individuals whose lives have been played out in the media.'

Family outing: Katie with husband Alex Reid and Harvey on a day trip to Alton Towers in April this year

But Katie and Harvey’s lawyer Mark Bateman of Archerfield Partners told MailOnline he felt the comments were more serious than the sexual comments made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 in the Sachsgate scandal.

He said: 'It cannot be brushed under the carpet. It is true we have given Channel 4 until 5pm to make a voluntary apology and are instructed to write to OFCOM if that does not happen.

'Channel 4 have got this horribly wrong if they think their actions are defensible because Boyle is high profile or because he has made this so called joke before

'To ridicule disability in general is bad enough but to single out a young child as courageous and vulnerable as Harvey is cowardly. This attack is not an attack on a high profile individual it is an attack on a disabled child.

'With free speech comes responsibility and Channel 4 have shown themselves to be plainly irresponsible. Channel 4 seem to think issues of disability are less deserving than issues of racism or sex but this is simply discrimination.'

Eight-year-old Harvey, Katie's son with footballer Dwight Yorke, 39, suffers from septo-optic dysplasia which has left him blind and he also has a condition that makes him gain weight easily meaning he finds walking difficult.

He also suffers from autism which leads to behavioural problems.

Angry: Peter Andre, pictured here at the opening of a Skechers shop in Dublin last night, said he was 'digusted' by the jibes

Katie, 32, and her ex Peter Andre, who has been a father figure for Harvey, have for once put on a united front in defence of their boy.

Andre, 37, was said to be 'absolutely disgusted and sickened' to hear that Harvey had been made fun of.

His spokeswoman said: 'Peter is angry and very upset at Harvey being mocked in this way. Children, especially a disabled youngster, should be off-limits.'

It's not the first time Boyle has caused outrage with his comedy, in which no target is off limits.

In April, the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee (ESC) was forced to issued an apology over an anti-semitic joke made by Boyle which which compared Palestine with a cake being 'punched to pieces by a very angry Jew'.

Boyle made the remark on Radio 4 comedy sketch show Political Animal, broadcast in June 2008.

Off message: Frankie Boyle, top left, with his former Mock The Week co-stars in 2007, from left to right, Hugh Dennis, Dara O'Briain, Andy Parsons (top) and Russell Howard

Last year Boyle was condemned by the BBC when he said swimming champion Rebecca Adlington looked like she was 'looking at herself in the back of a spoon'.

Talking on Mock The Week he added that Adlington must be 'very dirty' to be able to keep her boyfriend.

The BBC Trust condemned Boyle for his 'humiliating and offensive' remarks and 'unnecessary innuendo'.

He later quit the show in fury over what he saw as an attempt to tone down his brand of humour.

It was shortly after the corporation announced a crackdown on 'cruel and humiliating' comedy in the wake of the Sachsgate scandal, in which Ross and Brand rang veteran actor Andrew Sachs's home and left messages containing sexual innuendo about his granddaughter on his answerphone.

But Frankie, who had previously been carpeted on Mock The Week over a sexual joke about the Queen, said the censors are dragging comedy back 30 years.

He said at the time: 'The number one priority today is "Don't frighten the horses". It's like we're back in the 1970s in terms of compliance.'

He also found himself in hot water again recently when the mother of a child with Down's syndrome criticised him for making fun of people with the condition during a gig in Reading.

Harvey himself has found himself under attack before.

In November 2007, Heat magazine gave away a sticker bearing a picture of Harvey next to the words 'Harvey wants to eat me'.

The then editor Mark Frith apologised and said 'no offence was intended.'


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