UK

Ukip Calypso Singer, Mike Read, Asks Record Company To Withdraw Controversial Song

22/10/2014 08:11 BST | Updated 22/10/2014 13:59 BST

It lasted less than a week and sparked an internet frenzy, but now, it seems, the Ukip Calypso song is no more.

The under fire former Radio 1 DJ behind the controversial track has asked his record company to withdraw it and apologised for "unintentionally causing offence."

Ukip have blamed "synthetic outrage" the DJ's decision - accusing "right on" critics of depriving a charity of cash to help the fight against Ebola.

Ukip said it regretted that Read had felt obliged to ask his record company to withdraw it from sale and said it would donate its share of the proceeds so far to the Red Cross to help make up for income the charity would miss from future sales.

"This is Mike's song and it is obviously his decision what to do with it," a party spokeswoman said.

"We do think it is a shame that he has been treated so harshly by many in the 'right on' media, but we respect his decision.

"We thought it was just a bit of fun, as did thousands of people, evidenced by how well it has been selling. Were it not for the synthetic outrage, the song would have generated a lot of money for charity, as profits were to be split with the Red Cross for their Ebola Outreach programme.

"It's a pity those so concerned with political correctness have trodden all over this."

Read told the Press Association: "I'm so sorry that the song unintentionally caused offence. That was never my intention and I apologise unreservedly if anyone has taken offence.

"I've asked the record company to withdraw the single immediately."

Earlier, DJ Mike Read had said the song, which sings the praises of the anti-EU party and its leader, in a dodgy faux-Jamaican accent was just "a bit of fun," highlighting a "track-record of multiculturalism."

He told BBC London radio: "I don't have a racist bone in my body. I work across all cultures and creeds, I travel the world."

"I’ve got so many chums out in the Caribbean. I’ve spent a lot of time out there," he said.

The DJ, who currently hosts an afternoon show on BBC Berkshire, added that he felt "absolutely terrible" some had found the track offensive and admitted that with hindsight, perhaps the accent may have been a poorly thought out attempt at humour.

mike read

Radio 1 DJ Mike Read, who has launched a bid for chart success with a song singing the praises of Ukip and its leader Nigel Farage

"I thought oh my god, that's not what I intended at all, I felt absolutely so low I cannot tell you," he told the radio station.

"People are very very very quick to take offence now at something that years ago would have been deemed to be a bit of satire and a bit of fun.

"But now with social media everybody can assume that you meant something appalling by it, which of course I didn’t. I was terribly hurt that people thought that."

Farage yesterday appeared on BBC Radio 4's World At One to address the furore surrounding the song - and to give it his backing.

Asked if he thinks the track is racist, Farage replied: "No of course it's not".

"Look. C'mon Mike Read has worked for the BBC for several decades, he's one of your corporation's biggest star's and he's made a calypso song and as he said himself, if he was doing a Bob Dylan song, he'd do Bob Dylan's accent," he said.

"It is meant to be a bit of fun," the Ukip leader concluded.

Farage's response to the outrage surrounding the controversial song was rather more measured than that of Ukip's "commonwealth spokesman" Winston McKenzie, who last night stepped in to defend the Calypso song in what was arguably the most utterly bizarre Newsnight segment in the show's history.

McKenzie, who failed in his bid to get elected as a councillor in Croydon after calling his own constituency "a dump" - got into a heated debate last night with DJ Nihal from the BBC's Asian Network, who did well not to walk away from the farcical argument.

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Discussing Read's track, the Ukip spokesman told presenter Evan Davis he thought Read was "good man… it's crazy'"

Denying that the track is racist, Winston said: "From ever since the beginning of time, the Beatles, Elvis, the Rolling Stones - they've taken up the black man's music."

"Now when I heard this song for the first time, I thought to myself 'a white boy singing calypso - fantastic," the former professional boxer and motivational speaker added.

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Nihal, Winston and Davis

As Nihal spluttered in horror, Winston, who also fancied his chances of reaching pop stardom on ITV talent show the X-Factor in 2005, said that he hopes Reed will now join him for a duo.

"I can sing the white song, he can sing the black song," he said.

In stark contrast to Winston's infatuation with Read's track, Nihal said that his initial reaction was "that it made my ears vomit."

"It was the naffest I have ever heard," he said, to which a furious Winston exclaimed "get out of here! Come on my man! Get real!"

Telling Winston to "calm down for a minute", Nihal tried to explain that most of the listeners on the BBC's Asian network said they would not vote for Ukip as it is seen as a racist party - a claim not helped by Reed's song, he added.

"It's a joke, a poor joke," Nihal argued. "Have you got Noel Edmonds singing Land Of Hope And Glory," he asked as the debate descended into Winston repeating "Listen to me, listen to me. Listen. Listen."

Launching into a tenuous argument about how Ukip isn't racist, Winston explained: "This all stems from the PCC [sic] brigade and the media, y'know we have got to walk away from this thing, grow up and be sensible."

As Nihal tried to intervene, any illusion of decorum from the Ukip spokesman disappeared as Winston shouted: "My man be quiet" warning "don't get shirty with me man."

As Davis desperately tried to calm the situation, and failed, the interview thoroughly disintegrated into farce as Winston denied he would "mix with racists" by pointing at a knitted fox badge on his jacket.

"This fox is Nigel Farage," he says. "This is the Ukip fox that's come to lay down the policies that people want, that all the people off Britain are screaming."

Nihal, resigned to his fate, sat back in exasperation as Winston repeated that Read's song is "fantastic" and "good luck to him."

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the discussion sparked an internet frenzy with viewers saying the debate made them want to "just go and die quietly in a corner."