Frankie Boyle: my Paralympics jokes were celebratory

FRANKIE BOYLE faces the axe from Channel 4 following outrage at jokes he made on Twitter during the Paralympics opening ceremony this week. But the controversial comedian insists his jokes were "celebratory" and "non-discriminatory".

Boyle's quips about the Saudi Arabian team being “mainly thieves” and Austrian Paralympians being “more able-bodied than most regular Scottish people” appear to have been the final straw for Channel 4, which backed him when he was censured by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom for a joke about glamour model Jordan’s disabled son.

Boyle appeared on Channel 4 only this week with The Boyle Variety Performance, but this time the network appears to have little choice in ditching the comedian, partly because his comments do not sit well with the its status as the main broadcaster of Paralympics TV coverage.

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

The Guardian notes that this is a “marked change of tone” from an interview in May when Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt said they were in discussions with Boyle about future projects but had not found the right one.

While the official statement uses somewhat diplomatic language, a “source” at Channel 4 goes much further, telling the Daily Mirror: “We will wash our hands of Frankie now.”

Another “insider” told the tabloid: “Frankie has upset a lot of people, his comments are out of touch with the feelings of Britain.”

But Boyle has taken to Twitter to defend his Paralympics jokes, describing them as celebratory, non discriminatory and pretty funny.

“I'll be joking about Paralympics [the] same way I joked about the Olympics. That's my job," he said.

“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.”

In a rare moment of earnestness, Boyle went so far as to claim that the “stereotype of disabled people being too weak and vulnerable to be talked about” is to blame for the government’s controversial policy of contracting the IT giant Atos to carry out "fitness to work" tests on disabled people who claim incapacity benefits.

Critics of Atos and the fitness to work scheme say people who are too disabled to work have had their benefits removed and been forced into poverty. · 

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