A growing list of high-profile comedians are lending their names to a statement condemning misogynistic comments made by self-professed "lad" Dapper Laughs.
Dapper Laughs is the 'star' of ITV2's On The Pull
It hits out at Dapper Laughs' – real name Daniel O’Reilly – 'dating advice’ to men, which includes the material “Just show her your penis. If she cries, she’s just playing hard to get” and “remember, it’s only sexual harassment if she’s more attractive than you.”
The statement comes as footage of Dapper last month telling a female audience member she is “gagging for a rape” emerged (below).
Filmed at his sold-out show at the London Scala on 16 October, it saw the comedian deny his material encourages men to sexually assault women, but then single-out an unidentified woman close to the front row.
He said: “She’s gagging for a rape. Yep, we’ll have a chat afterwards. She’s having a chat about ‘yeah, I get quite tight but I get a bit… poor girl.
“Do you want to come backstage after? Bring two of your mates, you’ll need them.”
He added: “Some comedians push the boundaries in the name of entertainment. That means taking risks.
“But I think it’s important that if we overstep the mark and cause upset that we apologise. I would like to say sorry to those people who I have upset by my recent comments. I assure them that was not my intention.”
Following this Dapper has been somewhat quiet on social media, aside from reporting he had spent Sunday watching porn and eating a roast dinner in his track suit.
Jenny Eclair is one of the comedians who has signed Lee Kern's statement
The statement backed by the comedians adds that the programme, Dapper Laughs: On The Pull, could “encourage street harassment, rape culture and normalises misogyny. These concerns have been borne out and validated by the testimony of women who have complained to ITV.
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“We are a group of comedians who believe that, contrary to their claim, the current output of Daniel O’Reilly and given a platform by ITV is entirely sexist and degrading to women.”
The statement references the fact that homeless charity Shelter has refused to accept funds from Dapper’s Christmas album and the successful efforts of a Cardiff University student in preventing him from performing there.
Organiser Kern told Huffington Post UK: “I, along with other comedians have no problem with Daniel O’Reilly per se – it’s the misogynistic (not to mention often homophobic and racist) values which he perpetuates and which have been given a platform by ITV and their sponsors who help fund the show.
“I hope people who read the statement will be exposed to more positive narratives around the subject of gender and will become unapologetic ambassadors for the values of equality which are at the root of feminism".
Tom Zephyr, the organiser of the petition against Dapper Laughs called directly on ITV boss Adam Crozier to pull the show, accusing it of normalising sexism “under the guise of harmless comedy.”
He wrote:“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.”
Zephyr, who has also personally written to Crozier, initially hoped to collect 50,000 signatures but has now doubled that target in light of its success.
Comedians who have signed Lee Kern's statement: Carl Donnelly, Will Andrews, Frances Barber, Sophie Black, Jason Bradbury, Johnny Candon, Jenny Eclair, Pippa Evans, Jessica Fostekew, Janey Godley, Jamie Glassman, Matt Holt, Andrew Hubert, Nadia Kamil, Suzanna Kempner, Luke Kempner, Wendy Lee, Grainne Maguire, Mae Martine, Lucy Montgomery, Susan Murray, Lucy Porter, Jan Ravens, Jo Romero, Lizzie Roper, Matt Roper, Katherine Ryna, Lou Sanders, Doug Segal, Lee Simpson, Daniel Sloss, Martin Soan, Darren Strange, Rachel Stubbings, Jojo Sutherland, Isy Suttie, Nathaniel Tapley, Rhys Thomas, Hannah Warman, Tony Way, Arabella Weir, Eleanor White.
He told HuffPost UK: “The response to the petition has been amazing and I will be raising the petition's signature target to 100,000 to capitalize on the momentum it has gained. I think it is really important to give people, both men and women, the opportunity to not only speak out against sexually predatory and objectifying sub-cultures, but to also let everyone know that there are actually tens of thousands of people out there who feel the same way."
A spokesman for ITV said: "Dapper Laughs: On The Pull features an established internet comedy character created by Daniel O'Reilly. ITV2 commissioned a show in which this character is placed within a recognisable TV format, a dating advice show.
"Comedy is subjective and we appreciate the content of the show might not be to everyone's taste. We regret that any of our viewers were offended. However, as with all of our shows, the series content was carefully considered, complied and deemed suitable for broadcast."