Robbie Williams slammed by ageism campaigners after 'punch a pensioner' joke


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The Independent Culture

Robbie Williams has been criticised by the National Pensioners Convention (NCP) because of joke he made about punching the elderly.

Speaking The Graham Norton Show on BBC One on Friday he responded to questions about his new chart-topping single "Candy".

In the music video for the single Williams is seen punching an elderly woman.

Host Graham Norton said remarked to Williams: "That's quite a shocking image isn't it?"

Williams replied jokingly: "It is, isn't it? They wanted me to kick a dog and I'm an animal lover so I wasn't having that."

"Then they said 'punch a pensioner' and I was like 'Yeah, I'm in."

NCP, Britain's biggest pensioner organisation, has called on the BBC and Williams to apologise for the comments he made.

Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “This isn’t about pensioners needing a sense of humour or people having the right to artistic freedom. This is about basic common decency."

"Celebrities should think twice before making ageist comments which seem to imply that pensioners should be treated in a degrading way. Elder abuse is a serious issue and needs to be tackled rather than seen as a bit of a joke.”

Williams' spokesperson told the BBC: "The plot for this particular video did involve some aggressive scenes but they in no way reflect his views on violence in real life."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Robbie was a wonderful guest on this week's show and this comment was clearly a joke."

"Fans of The Graham Norton Show know, understand and expect this irreverent type of banter amongst the guests. No offence was intended."