Comedian Frankie Boyle complained today that he had been libelled when a tabloid newspaper described him as “racist”.
Lawyers told the High Court in London that a Daily Mirror article which started with the words "Racist comedian Frankie Boyle" was defamatory.
A barrister told a jury that the newspaper also defamed Boyle, from Glasgow, by saying he had been "forced to quit" the BBC show Mock The Week.
Daily Mirror publisher Mirror Group Newspapers is disputing Boyle's allegations in a trial expected to last a week.
Barrister David Sherborne, for Boyle, said that to call someone "racist" was "obviously defamatory".
And he said any suggestion that the comedian had been "forced to quit" Mock The Week or was sacked was "completely untrue".
Mr Sherborne said Boyle's humour was "deliberately challenging".
He said the comic did not object to being criticised but did object to being described as racist.
"Saying 'vile' or 'offensive', or his material is 'vile' or 'offensive', is one thing," Mr Sherborne told the jury.
"He realises that that goes with the territory, so to speak.
"But accusing him of being a racist is an entirely different matter."
Mr Sherborne added: "You can call him 'offensive', you can call him 'tasteless'. That's fine. But he is not racist."
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.