Miss Adlington and Mr. Boyle

Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington has formally complained to the BBC that it let comedian Frankie Boyle off with \’a slap on the wrist\’ over jokes that caused her deep hurt.

The double gold medal winner at last year\’s Beijing Olympics has demanded an explanation from the BBC Trust over why it chose not to punish the comic for \’outrageous\’ slurs that left her \’humiliated\’.

And her agent has called for the BBC to ban Boyle over his comments.

During an episode of BBC2\’s satirical show Mock the Week last year, soon after Miss Adlington\’s Olympic triumph, Boyle said she resembled \’someone looking at themselves in the back of a spoon\’ and followed up with sexual innuendo.

Sorry, but this sort of thing goes with the territory.

No, it wasn\’t kind, it wasn\’t nice and it wasn\’t polite.

But fame brings both adulation and insult. And this free speech thing means you don\’t get to choose which other people offer about you.

16 comments on “Miss Adlington and Mr. Boyle

  1. Free speech?

    But Miss Adlington is forced on the pain of imprisonment to pay for someone to insult her (if she wishes to own a TV). Hardly free.

    Will she be given a chance to use licence payers money to insult him?

  2. “No, it wasn’t kind, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t polite.”

    But it was funny, if you find the whole joke.

    She should be grateful for the attention. She won a gold medal in a sporting event that no-one normally gives a toss about and isn’t as fit as Sharon Davies.

  3. Of course Boyle is free to make unfunny, crude and cruel jokes but Addlington is also perfectly free to complain about him doing so – especially when he is paid by money taken by threat from our (and her) pockets.

  4. “Addlington is also perfectly free to complain about him doing so”

    And the BBC should be free to ignore her. But they aren’t, because of the unique way the BBC is funded.

  5. “But Miss Adlington is forced on the pain of imprisonment to pay for someone to insult her…”

    What, that’s his day job now? Insulting Addlington 24/7?

  6. Julia, I assume Boyle was paid for his appearance – I could be wrong, but assume he doesnt work for free.

  7. As commenters have correctly pointed out, the bit that sticks in the craw for us we libertarians is the licence fee tax.

  8. Hmm. Steven Berkoff successfully sued Julie Burchill for libel after she wrote that he was “hideously ugly”.

  9. “As commenters have correctly pointed out, the bit that sticks in the craw for us we libertarians is the licence fee tax.”

    We libertarians also pay for Rebecca Adlington to go swimming up and down a pool (a sport which no-one gives a toss about acquiring the broadcasting rights to).

  10. “Hmm. Steven Berkoff successfully sued Julie Burchill for libel after she wrote that he was “hideously ugly”.”

    * irony failure: reboot y/n? *

  11. the obvious retort is that if Frankie Boyle looked at himself in a spoon, the spoon would shatter. That someone as physically and intellectually ugly as Boyle should choose to make fun of someone’s beauty, and presumabnly raise a laugh from the captive audience of drugged heifers, is itself a sign that the man needs to be punished. I suggest banishment from lucrative TV contracts to the remote outskirts of YouTube where he can vie for airtime with videos of Richard Murphy in full cry. Actually, he is the Richard Murphy of satire.

  12. Congratulations Messrs White and Diogenes. You have given us all clear examples of how someone in a free society can react to insults: respond in kind or go to court.

    Alternatively Miss Adlington could have simply stayed quiet and the vast majority would never have heard Mr Boyle’s “joke” at all.

    There is, of course, a fourth option. Sadly, I doubt Mr Boyle has a club from which he can be dragged, local authorities have become grossly negligent in the provision of parish pumps and I doubt Miss Adlington owns a horsewhip.

  13. Frankie Boyle is probably the funniest person around at the moment. 75 people complained about this (Adlington and 74 mates) and a million people laughed. Yes it’s not nice when people make fun of you but it’s life. Get over it. The worst thing to come out of thiswould be that we go back to the sanitised, regurgitated comedy we had many years back, when the best comedians weren’t shown on TV. Today’s world seems to be about people being ‘hurt’ far too easily, complaining loudly, and the establishment caving in for fear of litigation. Very sad. The BBC’s new policy is another body-blow for free speech and democracy. We’ll be like China, Russia or Iran before you know it.

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