U.K.'s Channel 4 Comes Under Fire for Lewd Prince Harry Joke
The U.K.'s Channel 4 has been accused of “degrading the Royal family” by a conservative member of British Parliament, after the broadcaster’s cult college sitcom Fresh Meat ran a joke about Prince Harry being given a hand job by a sales clerk.
The criticism comes just days after the BBC refused to apologize for a separate bit on Have I Got the News for You, which suggested the Prince, fourth in line to the British throne, uses cocaine.
Harry, for his part, has done much to earn his lampoon-able reputation as the most randy of the Royal Family. Last year, he was photographed playing pool and carousing in the nude while partying in a Las Vegas suite with friends. One of the “friends” leaked the cell phone photos to the press.
In the offending episode of Fresh Meat broadcast Monday night on Channel 4, a character named JP, played by the comedian Jack Whitehall, told another character: “I’ll take you to a place on the King’s Road where Prince Harry got a hand job off an assistant manager at Abercrombie & Fitch.”
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell took umbrage, according to conservative-leaning paper, The Telegraph.
“The media should not involve the Royal family in this sort of thing,” Rosindell said. “It’s inappropriate and degrading and it demeans the broadcasters that engage in it. It’s just wrong.”
Channel 4 responded by saying the line was “clearly tongue in cheek,” adding “Fresh Meat has established itself as a very irreverent comedy drama.”
“At least the Have I Got News For You joke was witty and a play on words,” said royal biographer Penny Junor. “But this is just gratuitous and nasty, with no wit at all.”
On that BBC show, guest presenter Jo Brand commented on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s recent choice of godparents for baby Prince George, saying “They include Hugh van Cutsem – I presume that’s a nickname, as in Hugh van cuts’em and Harry then snorts ‘em.”
The BBC reportedly wrote to Kensington Palace to apologize, but not for the joke. They got the name of baby George’s godparent wrong: it was Hugh’s brother William van Cutsem who was chosen for the honor.