Monday, May 24, 2010

Comic Ricky Gervais criticized for calling singer Susan Boyle "a mong"

From The Daily Mail in the UK:

Comic Ricky Gervais (pictured) has sparked fury after claiming that Susan Boyle looks like a "mong".

The Office star made the sickening jibe about Scots star SuBo during his current UK tour.

Charity bosses have now written to Gervais to demand he stops using the word - a cruel nickname for Down's Syndrome sufferers.

During the tour, he said: "Look at Susan Boyle - if you can.

"Well, she's a mong, isn't she? She looks like a mong, doesn't she?"

Xanthe Breen, of the Down's Syndrome Association, said: "We've had a campaign to have that particular word removed from common usage and we really don't want a resurgence.

"Families who live with Down's are left very upset by it. I have contacted Mr Gervais's PR company. I look forward to hearing from them."

The tasteless term is short for "mongoloid" - an outdated term used for people with Down's Syndrome.

Last night, Gervais refused to take back his slur on Britain's Got Talent star Susan, 49, who has battled learning difficulties from birth.

The platinum-selling singer, from Blackburn, West Lothian, has refused to comment.

Her spokesman said: "Whenever someone says something negative about Susan, we don't get drawn into it."

During his Science stand-up show, Gervais also criticises BGT judge Amanda Holden and the contestants.

One Gervais fan wrote on a website: "I've seen all four of his tours and this latest one is the worst by quite some way.

"It had some good points, however, he literally spends the first 10 minutes explaining how it's OK to call Susan Boyle a 'mong'.

"Very poor from a man I used to admire."

Gervais previously featured a Down's Syndrome child in his sitcom Extras.

His character Andy Millman got into an embarrassing mix-up after telling a mum to keep the kid quiet in a restaurant.

Xanthe Breen added: "Sadly, we live in a society where once you're out in the big world you seem to be fair game.

"Laughing's good but not at the expense of anyone who's vulnerable.

It's pure laziness. Lots of other people manage to be incredibly funny while not actually yanking the carpet up from under people who cannot defend themselves.

"Susan Boyle wouldn't be able to defend herself against something like that. She'd just be hurt."

The latest storm comes after Glaswegian comic Frankie Boyle was slammed last month for a sick routine about Down's Syndrome kids.

He was challenged by Sharon Smith, the mum of a Down's child, who was in the front row of one of his live shows.

A spokesman for Gervais - who shot to fame in The Office - wouldn't comment on the new row but said: "The DSA and Ricky's management were in correspondence following the Extras episode and the correspondence was amicable."