In the opening paragraph of my previous Style and Then Some entry I briefly referred to controversial Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle, specifically the times he had disgustingly poked fun at disabled children. Ironically, no sooner had I pressed publish did the news break that Boyle had fallen out of favour with Paralympic broadcasters Channel 4 due to offensive comments the entertainer had made on Twitter apparently at the expense of certain Paralympic competitors. Fully expecting to be utterly repulsed at what I read, I began investigating but was rather surprised by my findings.
Boyle’s first comment: ‘Apparently the Saudi Arabian Paralympic team are mainly thieves’, then came, ‘Sadly our Paralympian in the high jump isn’t expected to match his personal best. But I hear it doesn’t count as it was “Taliban assisted”. Rounding off with ‘‘Wow, Austrian Paralympians seem a lot more able-bodied than most regular Scottish people.’
I don’t know about you but to me these so called cruel jibes appear to be more social comment as opposed to outright personal attacks on disabled athletes, the latter being something I would never support. Boyle was quite obviously pointing out the strict Sharia laws in Saudi Arabia which means theft is punishable by needlessly cutting off people’s hands; something despicable that should be more widely publicised. The ‘Taliban Assisted’ comment is clearly highlighting the plight of many ex-servicemen around the globe who have had the heart-breaking misfortune of losing a limb whilst fighting for their country – something else horrific that also happens far too often. And the last one, well that’s probably just true, meaning he was simply complimenting the Austrian Paralympic team.
In the Independent’s i daily newspaper, Australian Comedian Adam Hills who was born without his right foot and is currently hosting the Paralympic show The Last Leg on Channel 4 said he didn’t see Boyle’s remarks as a big deal and as a disabled person himself claimed ‘we can take it,’. Was he insinuating that actually leaving disabled people out of the joke is more offensive in some way, maybe even a little condescending? Could Boyle’s comments possibly have been slightly misconstrued on this occasion? On a personal note, go Team GB! My last Olympic/Paralympic related piece I swear.