The Blog

Dapper Laughs Was an Unfunny, Sexist Cretin, But We're Letting People Off With Far Worse

We need to hold all perpetrators of misogyny to account - to the same standards - regardless of whether they happened to have an otherwise likeable persona or an influential corporation guiding them through their latest crisis.

We're good at selective outrage in this country, aren't we? I'm just as glad as you are that Dapper Laughs is off the TV, but it's hardly the moral victory we're making it out to be.

The backlash against Dapper has been entirely justified. Likewise, the campaign to stop 'pick up artist' Julien Blanc from performing in the UK is understandable. Their attitudes to women are simply wrong. Both responses point to a growing collective intolerance for misogyny dressed up as banter or humour, this is a good thing. Although I'd personally be happier if Blanc was allowed to come over here so we could identify and ridicule his followers.

But this doesn't mean these two are somehow more dangerous than your bog standard celebrity sexist like Jim Davidson or dare I say it, Russell Brand - whose previous misogyny takes some beating. Sentiment toward both Dapper and Blanc became so quickly amplified because a) it was right for people to be outraged and b) because neither had the clout or reputation to deal with what was happening. Neither had the skill to divert attention from their attitudes by holding up a topical campaign t-shirt on Twitter or apologising at the correct time. Equally vile attitudes held by people better equipped to deal with criticism remain unchallenged to the same extent.

Social media affords utter nobodies dangerous levels of influence. It makes celebrities out of the sort of people that can handle it the least. Dapper went from Vine prankster to TV personality in a heartbeat. Idiots found him funny and TV tastemakers tried to cash in. He missed out on that all important part of a comedy career where you hone your craft, test your material to death and drop the stuff that makes people cringe.

Compare Dapper for a moment to Dappy. Both have similar, ridiculous names and both have been criticised for their attitudes towards women, but Dappy has a powerful record label to advise him. And when he needed it in 2010, after sending death threat texts to a female Radio 1 listener who criticised his band while he was on air, he had all the professional support necessary to gloss over a very ugly episode. He apologised for his behaviour, as media trained celebrities with powerful connections tend to do.

"I sent the messages to her in the heat of the moment when I was angry, but that is no excuse."

Let's forgive him. He said sorry. Fast forward two years and here's the little scamp performing at a Radio 1 event. Everyone's cool with this, apparently. Fast forward a few more months and he's runner up (to Jim Davidson admittedly) on Celebrity Big Brother 13 , despite saying about women "if you sleep with five men, you are a whore" on the show. The general public spent their own money to vote for him. The UK endorsed Dappy despite this.

While this isn't to say we should go easy on people because they're less famous or more difficult to like, it is this type of inconsistency that genuine misogynists use to defend their own behaviour. It's been happening for years.

Take Stan Collymore and Paul Gascoigne; both admit domestic violence against women yet the former - for a while at least - had a fair claim to double standards from the media. He was "disgraced former footballer Stan Collymore" while the other was "Former England legend Paul Gascoigne." For every free pass Gascoigne gets, Collymore is entitled to one more whinge.

Who do you hate more? Disgraced misogynist and TV-unfunny man Dapper Laughs or maraca-shaking Madchester legend and bee enthusiast Bez? One went to jail just over four years ago for "throttling" his girlfriend, infamously told the NME he hated faggots and yet is regarded as an "icon" by his hometown newspaper, in a city that is home to over a million females and the largest gay and lesbian population in the UK outside of London. Yet somehow Bez is invited to speak at Manchester Science Festival, gets his gurning face on The Sunday Politics and generally enjoys a reputation as a harmless buffoon; the other is our latest out-of-the-box hate figure.

What about Sean Connery? Champion of the firm "open-handed slap" as a means to control a disobedient woman but still given a platform to influence an entire nation. It's so much easier to create a hate figure when we don't have to revise our opinion of them first, but that's exactly what we should be doing. Why are we asking Russell Brand - a renowned womaniser - to condemn another? Does Russell Brand get our forgiveness because a few years have passed since he told Andrew Sachs his granddaughter "wasn't menstrual" when he had sex with her? Is he the best we've got as a antidote to the likes of Blanc?

We need to hold all perpetrators of misogyny to account - to the same standards - regardless of whether they happened to have an otherwise likeable persona or an influential corporation guiding them through their latest crisis. If we need to revise our opinions of people we used to admire, then we should be prepared to do it.