ITV drops Dapper Laughs after petition over ‘rape joke’

Comedian Daniel O'Reilly on Newsnight BBC

ITV has dropped comic character Dapper Laughs, saying it won’t commission a second series after more than 60,000 people signed a petition criticising the sexist lad culture he portrays.

Footage emerged last week showing Dapper Laughs, real name Daniel O’Reilly, apparently joking about rape during one of his London performances at Scala.

In the footage, he’s talking to one of the female audience members saying: “She’s gagging for a rape. Yep, we’ll have a chat afterwards.’”

He then says: “Do you want to come backstage after? Bring two of your mates, you’ll need them.”

Londoners have welcomed the news of ITV2 axing Dapper Laughs and his On The Pull show.

Emily Lim, 25, a post-graduate intern said: “I’m happy he got the axe from ITV, his show and behaviour encourage some of the guys in the office to act like ‘lads’ and quote things from his show. The last thing I want at work is a pretend cockney guy being sexist and encouraging misogyny.”

After footage emerged of him apparently joking about rape, more than 40 comedians signed an open letter to comedy site Chortle against Dapper Laughs, these comics include Isy Suttie, Daniel Sloss and Arabella Weir.

Many have flocked to Twitter to express their opinion also – Alex Sears, 25, Musician tweeted:

Cardiff University and O2 Academy Leicester announced they’ve recently cancelled a Dapper Laughs gig.

There was even a petition by Simon Moran on Change.org to cancel all Dapper Laughs shows at all O2 Academy venues now.

An ITV spokesperson says that in the light of comments made by Dapper Laughs outside of the TV show the broadcaster wouldn’t be commissioning a further series.

“We have given careful thought to the recent criticism of the character Dapper Laughs, which has focused on his activities outside of the ITV2 programme, [for which the] content was carefully considered and complied. We have taken the decision that we won’t be considering this show for a second series,” they confirmed.  

Despite many welcoming the news, plenty of fans have taken to the defence of the criticised comedian.

One, who didn’t want to be named, has defended the comedian: “Dapper Laughs is a character, not a real person. The guy is a comedian who’s a bit controversial. Keith Lemon is also a character who says far worse stuff than [Dapper Laughs] does and no one gets in a rage about him.”

“Just because some people took offence to him, and because feminism is a big thing at the moment, doesn’t mean everyone else has to join in…[to] then go and laugh at South Park making fun of Jews and gays, or Frankie Boyle making jokes about the Queen’s fanny and paedophiles,” according to his anonymous fan.

Adam Cozier, another Dapper Laughs fan, has started a Change.org petition to bring back the comedian, according to the online petition the group are “standing up for Dapper Laughs.”

Nick Nevern, actor, writer and director best known for The Hooligan Factory is also supporting Dapper Laughs; he believes that the comedian “hasn’t said anything worse then some established comedians have said before.” He’s also asked people to sign the petition to bring back Dapper Laughs.

However, the movement to bring back the character came to an end after O’Reilly appeared on BBC Newsnight and confirmed he’s “killed off” the Dapper Laughs character and his alter-ego.

Speaking to Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, O’Reilly was seen explaining that he’s speaking out to insist that he doesn’t “advocate” the behaviour and comments made by his character.

“It was a type of comedy I shouldn’t have been doing,” he said. “I’m not going to do what maybe other comedians would do and stand behind it and say, ‘Do you know what, if you don’t like it switch off’.”

Explaining that Dapper Laughs “took over”, he claimed that the character was designed to jokingly portray what he believes “men think”, while believing that viewers were not taking it seriously but “laughing” at it, leading him to push “the boundaries of that character”.

O’Reilly then went on to say that the Dapper Laughs character “wrecked” his life to a certain extent, this prompted Maitlis to ask if he felt like a victim now. He responded: “A victim of my own mistake.”

Despite his apology last night on national television, many aren’t convinced by O’Reilly.

Holly Attrill, 23, young creative at London advertising agency said: “There’s nothing he can really say to take back his behaviour. The interview was horrible and awkward to watch, he was genuinely trying to get sympathy. I’m just pleased another rape-promoting misogynist has been kicked off our screens.”

Now the Dapper Laughs character has been put to bed, the real question being asked by 60,000 who signed the movement to get him axed plus many members of society, is how he got in that position in the first place.

Clive Martin, Vice journalist said: 

ITV said they had no other option but to axe the show following the petition and negative media attention the comedian attracted.

They may also have to answer questions about how the show was commissioned in the first place, along with what kind of message the broadcaster is sending to its audience by airing a whole series.

 

Photo from BBC Newsnight