Under fire "lad comedian" Dapper Laughs may be viewed by ITV as "respectful" towards women, but it seems that thousands disagree.
A petition has been launched to urge the TV network to cancel their controversial ITV2 show "On The Pull", which sees the online personality, real name Daniel O’Reilly, giving what can only be loosely termed as "dating advice" to men.
ITV has already defended the so-called "proper lad", despite accusations he is trivialising rape and gross misogyny with "banter-based cretinism", by arguing he is "neither sexist or degrading to women."
Responding to a concerned member of the public who complained that they are giving "direct endorsement of sexual assault" the channel stated: "Dapper’s pulling tips are firmly based on treating women with respect and speaking to them in the right way and this is the message he gives to all the singles on the show during the series."
But now, Londoner Tom Zephyr, 26, has written to ITV boss Adam Crozier and said "it is time for ITV to follow its own responsibility policy and recognise that it has a duty not to aid the spread of sexism."
Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Mr Zephyr said ITV's response to the public's concern over the show is "worryingly evasive."
"It reads as if it were written by one of Dapper's fans," he said. "Even a casual viewer of the show will see that Dapper's pulling tips are based on the fundamental notion that women are to be valued by men according to their appearance and approached with the primary objective of getting sex. Surely this is not ITV's notion of 'treating women with respect'?"
Mr Zephyr also disagreed with ITV's statement that "all humour is subjective" comparing Dapper Laughs to other risque comedy shows such as Monty Python or Ali G which, he said, "pushed the boundaries of comedy but always maintained an element of self-reflection and tongue-in-cheek.
"There is no hint of this in Dapper Laughs' work. If ITV continues to promote his brand of boorish banter at the expense of the women he targets and the insecure men he coaches, everyday sexism will eventually be normalised to the extent that young women are compelled to accept constant harassment as a fact of life, while many young men's chances of achieving happiness and balanced self-confidence will be ruined in the pursuit of a "proper laddish", but ultimately hollow and dehumanising, ideal."
If you are still blissfully oblivious to Dapper's talents, the controversial "Cockney", who comes from Woking in Surrey, is known for imparting pearls of wisdom including: "Just show her your penis. If she cries, she's just playing hard to get" and "remember, its only sexual harassment if she's more attractive then you".
In less than 24 hours the petition has gained more than three thousand signatures, with backers arguing the show is a "disgrace to comedy, entertainment and the British television industry."
Mr Zephyr's petition states:
O’Reilly’s work frequently depicts real-life harassment of women and in his new show he offers dating tips to members of the public inspired by his misogynistic views, all under the guise of harmless comedy.
O’Reilly’s attitudes towards women, and ITV’s backing in particular, are far from harmless however: because ITV has granted O’Reilly the massive exposure and credibility of its platform, everyday sexism is being normalised for both young men and women.
This has to stop. Sexual harassment and borderline threatening behaviour towards women must never be defended as either comedy or “harmless banter” nor should young men and women be encouraged to regard sexist behaviour as socially acceptable.
The petition include the hashtag #canceldapper which has already been gathering support on Twitter:
#canceldapper because he's a massive knob head and not at all funny— dip (@grumpydip) November 8, 2014
#canceldapper is a thing now, get the sexist prick off air. Why would ITV even consider a show like that, ridiculous. Petition signed.— Ryan William Thomson (@RyanThomsonKOL) November 8, 2014
Dapper's brand of "comedy" has previously been described as helping to create a "rapist's almanac," by Huffington Post blogger Lee Kern, who wrote an open letter to ITV2 saying they have contributed to a "prevalent predatory culture that reduces women to nothing more than a piece of cunt."
In short, he wrote, the entire oeuvre of Dapper Laughs "represents an avalanche of brainlessness bilging over 21st Century culture like a soft wave of WKD-infused phlegm. His belligerent sexism and veneration of anti-intellectualism is the clarion call of a people shovelling themselves into the excrement of history."
The strongly-worded blog shamed ITV2 by stating that in producing such work "you despise your mums. You despise your daughters. You despise your sisters. You despise your wives. You despise women everywhere if you have helped play a part in allowing this rat-tousled, fuck-spiv to have a platform to pump shit into British society.
"If I could sum everything up in one go it would be this: We don't work in an industry that is somehow separate from reality. What we do is not 'just telly'. We are helping to shape the reality we live in. What we put on the screen has a real world effect. And this show contributes to a culture of abuse that degrades us all - men and women - boys and girls."
Writing in the Telegraph, TV critic Michael Hogan also criticised Dapper's approach: "He’s also downright dangerous: legitimising cat-calling, street harassment, manipulative 'pick-up artist' misogyny and the predatory pursuit of 'banging fit birds' to 'ruin them'.
"Dapper’s no laughing matter. He’s deeply offensive to women and doing all men a disservice."