Katie Price seeks legal advice over Frankie Boyle joke about her son

By Raf Sanchez
Thursday 09 December 2010 17:11

Katie Price has asked her lawyers to write to Channel 4 after comedian Frankie Boyle made a "vile" joke about her disabled son.

Price said she was seeking legal advice after Boyle made comments about her son Harvey, who suffers from septo-optic dysplasia and autism, on his show Tramadol Nights.

In a statement on her website, she said: "Harvey Price is a little miracle. Every day he overcomes so many difficulties with the help of family and medical experts and has so many tiny battles to win due to his medical problems.

"If Mr Boyle had a 10th of his courage and decency he would know that to suggest, let alone think funny, that Harvey may sexually attack me is vile and deeply unfair.

"To bully this unbelievably brave child is despicable, to broadcast it on television is to show a complete and utter lack of judgment."

A message at the beginning of Boyle's programme, which was broadcast on Tuesday night, warned viewers the show contained "very strong language and uncompromising adult content".

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "Frankie Boyle is one of the highest profile comedians in the UK, he's well known for his controversial humour and the programme carried appropriate warnings as to the nature of the material.

"The joke aired in the context of a late-night comedy show. The joke itself has been performed by Frankie as part of his stage show and, as with much of his material, is an absurdist and satirical comment on high-profile individuals whose lives have been played out in the media."

It is not the first time the comedian's jokes have landed him in trouble.

In April he had an on-stage argument with the mother of a Down's syndrome child after making fun of the condition, while in August 2008 he said Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington looked like "someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon".

In a statement, Price's lawyer said he would contact the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom if Channel 4 did not apologise.

Mark Bateman said: "It is true we have given Channel 4 until 5pm to make a voluntary apology and are instructed to write to Ofcom if that does not happen.

"Channel 4 have got this horribly wrong if they think their actions are defensible because Boyle is high-profile or because he has made this so-called joke before.

"To ridicule disability in general is bad enough but to single out a young child as courageous and vulnerable as Harvey is cowardly.

"This attack is not an attack on a high-profile individual, it is an attack on a disabled child. With free speech comes responsibility and Channel 4 have shown themselves to be plainly irresponsible.

"Channel 4 seem to think issues of disability are less deserving than issues of racism or sex but this is simply discrimination.

"The BBC sacked a senior producer and forced the resignations of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross over sexual comments made on a radio show.

"This is far more serious, and simply cannot be brushed under the carpet by Channel 4."

Boyle was censured by the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee for his comments about Adlington, but the swimmer's agent said it should have done more.

In April of this year, the Trust was forced to apologise for a joke Boyle made on Radio 4 more than a year earlier.

During a broadcast in December 2008 he compared Palestine to a cake "being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew".

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