You know, I'm a bit more sympathetic to Frankie on this one. First of all, I don't really think that referring to the disabled offspring of a professional media whore
As I said initially: I despise that woman and everything she stands for. But it's a bit much to claim that it's acceptable to ridicule her child for her stupidity. The kid didn't get a choice to be spawned from her or to be born disabled (very probably due to her inability to refuse a bottle during the pregnancy). He also has no choice about being used as her media tool and due to those disabilities, has no prospect of being able to fight back or emancipate himself in future.
It shouldn't be different if it was someone else's kid.
in the course of stand-up comedy act really can be said to constitute "bullying" the child, as has been claimed.
What does constitute "bullying", then? For me, the excuse that it doesn't count if it's behind someone's back and/or they won't hear about it expires when you're about six years old.
As with the Liddle/Burchill offspring - it's bad enough that your parents have to play their entire lives out in the public eye without having to read that you were dragged into it, too.
I know that I'm perilously close to using a "Think of the children!" defence - which I don't like - and I'll freely admit that this is probably one of my personal "fluffy bunny" issues, but I don't think that my points're less valid for the fact I've been on the end of that sort of bullying myself. As I said when the DM
ran a particularly sensationalist and inaccurate article on my own disability: people read that crap. And they talk about that crap. And they believe that crap and pass it on to other people, because they think that it's acceptable. And it perpetuates because their kids think it is, and so on.
Which is why we complain to the DM
mods and the PCC about articles on immigration and non-white people and suchlike. For me, it's the same here. For all Katie Price is a massive hypocrite who'll milk this complaint for sympathy for all it's worth, I don't think that she should be disqualified from complaining when the complaint isn't about her.
Yes, it's reprehensible to use a disabled child to get attention. But how is that any different from what poor, victimised, censored, put-upon Frankie just did? Personally, I'd expect any Ofcom verdict to point that out, in much the same way as the Naomi Campbell versus The Mirror
court case a few years ago.
And as Channel 4 has said,
"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."
Again, where was the kid's choice to be stuck in the spotlight? What Frankie is doing is using the child to attack the mother - is he not good enough to come up with a decent joke attacking Jordan on her own?
And where was the intelligence, wit and satire in that remark, anyway? I must've blinked and missed it.
Also, plenty of comics moderate their act from stand-up to TV. Witness the contract between the number of times Russell Howard uses the word "rape" in his DVDs and on the BBC. But the "Well, what do you expect?" defence from the platform is still rather pathetic. You can defend anything up to and including snuff movies and televised happy slapping with that, as long as you label it first.
With which it's hard to disagree. Bernard Manning used to say that kiddies with disabilities was the only subject he wouldn't tell a joke about - while being more than happy routinely to put out the most repugnantly racist and sexist material imaginable. I don't think you'll get Frankie doing racist or sexist stuff, but barbed surreal gags about people who have become wealthy through a career based entirely on living their lives publically (and in Price's case she seems to have been perfectly happy to talk about her son to the media and permit her son to be photographed) are, as far as I can see, fair game for Frankie. Katie Price might have had her feelings hurt by this, but I do think it's a tad rich for her to complain about a professional comic taking the piss out of her.
But again, this is about the child, not the mother. I think that Channel Four and Frankie Boyle could both've remembered that in the first place. The key idea here is that somebody could've shown some responsibility and restraint when the mother won't. Two wrongs don't equal the moral high ground.