Calling Jim Davidson 'racist' is libellous his representatives tell reviewer

Reviewer accused of 'libel' by old-school comic's PR

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The Independent Online

With his jokes about black women, “fat birds” and the disabled, Jim Davidson may be our most offensive comic.

Now it’s his own representatives who claim to be offended, after a reviewer accused the comic’s publicists of putting him under legal pressure for calling Davidson “racist”. Nick Turner, who attended Davidson’s performance at Carlisle’s Sands Centre, said he was told by the comic’s PRs that his review, published on the Cumbria Live website, was “libellous”.

Mr Turner described Davidson’s act as containing “references to pikeys, darkies, black bastards and endless jokes about black men having big penises”. This was not a point of contention with Neil Reading PR, which looks after Davidson’s current No Further Action UK tour. But the publicists objected to Mr Turner’s summary that “you can’t get away from the conclusion that Jim Davidson is an appallingly abusive and racist comedian”.

 

A publicist for Neil Reading PR sent an email which read: “Your reference to Mr Davidson being racist is libellous and I kindly ask you to remove this from the review immediately please.” After taking legal advice, the journalist has refused to amend the review. Mr Turner told comedy website Chortle: “We double-checked with our lawyers that (the review) could be regarded as honest opinion and that we’re entitled to say it.” Mr Turner said that the PR company was not “prepared to defend his comedy when I started quoting it back to them”.

The review noted that: “Abuse was also directed at people on benefits, Lidl shoppers, fat women, fat black women and the disabled. Even Paralympians Ellie Simmonds and Sarah Storey.” Davidson also revived his notorious impression of “Chalky”, a West Indian man.

The Independent understands that the joke which resulted in Davidson being labelled “racist” was a story in which he acts the part of a Sergeant Major. The matter is in the hands of Davidson’s lawyers but Neil Reading PR has not followed up its request to remove the word.