Dapper Laughs: Jenny Eclair and Isy Suttie among 44 comedians to sign open letter against 'entirely sexist' ITV star

Daniel O'Reilly has sparked widespread outrage with his 'degrading' jokes

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The Independent Culture

Jenny Éclair, Matt Holt, Katherine Ryan and Isy Suttie are among a group of 44 comedians who have signed an open letter against Dapper Laughs and his "entirely sexist and degrading" brand of 'lad comedy'.

The ITV comedian, real name Daniel O'Reilly, has come under fire for encouraging rape culture and normalising sexism, particularly in his controversial ITV2 series On The Pull.

However, despite more than 53,000 people signing an online petition to see the show scrapped, ITV insists that O'Reilly's narratives are "firmly based on treating women with respect".

"Comedy is subjective and we appreciate the content of the show might not be to everyone's taste," a spokesperson said. "We regret that any of our viewers were offended. However, as with all our shows, the series content was carefully considered, complied and deemed suitable for broadcast."

O'Reilly himself has apologised for any offence caused by his 'jokes'. "Some comedians push the boundaries in the name of entertainment," he said. "That means taking risks. But I think it's important that if we over step the mark and cause upset that we apologise."

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But both O'Reilly and ITV's responses have angered others in the comedy industry, who insist that most comedians "do not believe the harassment of women or misogyny dressed up as 'banter' is pushing any kind of boundary whatsoever".

"[O'Reilly's apology] seems to be an attempt to shield himself from personal scrutiny, responsibility or recrimination by manufacturing for his readers a false sense that we as comedians are somehow all in this together," reads the letter from Rhys Thomas, Matt Roper and more.

"This whole escapade has shown, quite luridly, that misogyny still exists, that it still thrives and that we all have a responsibility to be vigilant and speak out whenever and wherever it rears its head."

The letter goes on to praise university students who have "stood up and continue to stand up against 'laddism'", as well as homeless charity Shelter who last week refused donations from Dapper Laughs on the grounds of "deep offence" caused by his jokes.

"This could be an incredible opportunity to sincerely think about and privately explore what true engagement with 50 per cent of Planet Earth's population could be like when they're not reduced to 'gash', 'pussy' or 'minge', it concludes.

"They are women. They are human beings. They are as amazing, banal, interesting and flawed as you. The door is always open to you should you ever wish to make an earnest attempt to understand that."

Comedians who have signed the open letter (in alphabetical order)

Will Andrews

Frances Barber

Sophie Black

Jason Bradbury

Johnny Candon

Jenny Éclair

Pippa Evans

Jessica Fostekew

Janey Godley

Jamie Glassman

Matt Holt

Andrea Hubert

Nadia Kamil

Suzanna Kempner

Luke Kempner

Lee Kern

Jenny Landreth

Wendy Lee

Grainne Maguire

Mae Martine

Lucy Montgomery

Susan Murray

Lucy Porter

Jan Ravens

Jo Romero

Lizzie Roper

Matt Roper

Katherine Ryan

Lou Sanders

Doug Segal

Lee Simpson

Daniel Sloss

Anne Smith

Martin Soan

Darren Strange

Rachel Stubbings

Jojo Sutherland

Isy Suttie

Nathaniel Tapley

Rhys Thomas

Hannah Warman

Tony Way

Arabella Weir

Eleanor White