Comedian Daniel O'Reilly has said he will be retiring his controversial character ‘Dapper Laughs’, following a backlash over jokes he made about rape.
O’Reilly revealed that he would no longer play the character, hours after it emerged that his UK tour had been cancelled, and a day after ITV2 announced it had axed his TV programme.
"It was great at the beginning, but it has completely ruined everything for me as a comedian," he said in an interview on BBC2's Newsnight. "It's wrecked my life to a certain extent," he said later.
Appearing contrite, his beard shaved off and wearing a simple black shirt in contrast to his character's gregarious sartorial style, the comedian addressed allegations that his rape jokes are sexist and offensive.
““I don’t want to be an advocate for [rape]...I’m going to communicate to my fans that I don’t agree, this is why I’m here, I don’t agree with that,” said an obviously shaken O’Reilly.
“I’m not going to do what maybe other comedians would do and stand behind it and say "If you don’t like it switch off." I’m not going to say that," he added.
Asked “what will Dapper Laughs will do now?” he emphatically replied: “Dapper Laughs is gone”.
The comic was due to play at prestigious venues including Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London and the O2 Academy in Leeds, but yesterday afternoon, a spokesperson for Academy Music Group (AMG) confirmed all 12 dates on the tour have now been cancelled, the Mirror reported.
This was merely a day after ITV announced that his new dating show Dapper Laughs: On the Pull would not return for a second series, after footage emerged showing him at a gig last month where he joked about raping a woman.
Some 60,000 people signed a petition calling on ITV2 to cancel the show, after Dapper Laughs said on stage at the London Scala that a woman in the audience member was “gagging for a rape.”
Speaking about the incident, a video of which emerged earlier this week, the comedian said: "I didn't think so many people would see it, to be honest. I kind of got a little bit carried away."
O'Reilly tried to explain that he didn't advocate rape and feels it should be obvious that he doesn't agree with his character's point of view."I'm taking the mick out of what I think men think," he said.
He agreed with presenter Emily Maitlis that it was "wrong" his comedy might influence others to enact sexual violence. "I didn't see it as me that was saying it. It was my character, because it was popular," he said.
Speaking of how the furore had ruined his life and career O'Reilly said he was a "victim" of his own mistakes. O'Reilly said even his family had spoken to him critically about Dapper Laughs and he said he had "no desire" to continue with the character.
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