Daily Mail column on student protester prompts 500 complaints to PCC

From the Guardian


Anger over Richard Littlejohn’s comparison of Jody McIntyre to Little Britain’s Andy, as BBC interview also sparks outrage


A Richard Littlejohn column in the Daily Mail that compared student fees protester Jody McIntyre to Matt Lucas’s Little Britain creation Andy has prompted 500 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission.

Police launched an internal investigation after footage appeared to show McIntyre being pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged across the road by an officer during last Thursday’s demonstration in central London.

Littlejohn said if McIntyre was “looking for sympathy he’s come to the wrong place”. Littlejohn described McIntyre as “like Andy from Little Britain” before imagining a spoof dialogue between McIntyre – as Andy – and David Walliams’s Lou.

A BBC News channel interview with McIntyre also prompted a “considerable” number of complaints from viewers, who said interviewer Ben Brown asked inappropriate and “insensitive” questions.

Protests against Littlejohn’s column gained momentum today on Twitter, where people posted a link for the Press Complaints Commission, echoing – to date on a much smaller scale – the response to fellow Mail columnist Jan Moir’s piece on Stephen Gately last year.

One tweeter described Littlejohn as “shameful [for] mocking the disabled”. Another, referring to the Mail’s coverage of Frankie Boyle’s joke on Channel 4 about Katie Price’s son, said: “When Frankie Boyle makes jokes about disabled people, the Mail complains. When Littlejohn does it, the Mail prints it.”

A spokesman for the PCC said it had received around 500 complaints and was looking to contact McIntyre directly. It has not yet launched a formal investigation into the article.

The BBC News channel controller, Kevin Bakhurst, said the corporation had received a “consider number of complaints” from viewers about the Brown interview, which aired on the channel on Monday evening….. Click for full article


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