Scottish Comedian Faces Criticism for Twitter Jokes About Paralympics

11:32 AM PST 08/31/2012 by Georg Szalai

The controversy over Frankie Boyle is seen as tricky for Britain's Channel 4, which airs the Paralympics and says it has no new shows planned with him.

LONDON - Controversial Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle is in hot water in the U.K. following Twitter jokes about athletes at the Paralympic Games that people found offensive.

Channel 4, which airs the Paralympics, featured him in The Boyle Variety Performance earlier this week, but said Friday it has no plans for further programming featuring Boyle.

"Frankie is not under contract with Channel 4, and we don't have any shows planned with him," a spokesman said.

Boyle made the comments on his personal Twitter account, not on behalf of Channel 4, but the incident is still seen as a tricky situation for the broadcaster.

"I'm going down to the blind football to shout that the referee's a deaf bastard," Boyle said in one tweet. Another said: "Apparently the Saudi Arabian Paralympic team is mainly thieves." Others included "I hear the blind high jump's cancelled after 2 Labradors were hanged during training" and a tweet that said one British high jumper's performance "doesn't count as it was Taliban assisted."

According to the Guardian, Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt had said earlier this year that the broadcaster was talking to Boyle about possible future projects. It had commissioned his recent series Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights after his departure from BBC2's Mock the Week in the aftermath of other controversial jokes.

Channel 4 last year declined to apologize after Boyle made a joke on the show about a disabled kid, which media regulator Ofcom argued "had considerable potential to be highly offensive."

Boyle on Friday defended his jokes. In one Twitter post, he called them "celebratory, non-discriminatory, pretty funny." And 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."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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