Belfast Telegraph

Comedian's gay jibes at DUP's Foster spark call for apology from the BBC

By Ivan Little

The BBC is coming under pressure to apologise to Arlene Foster for broadcasting a TV show in which a Scottish comedian said the former First Minister looked like "a butch lesbian masquerading as a straight woman in charge of the DUP".

Fern Brady also lashed out at the party as "the most homophobic in the UK".

Her other targets included actor Liam Neeson and Belfast city, where she has appeared in several live shows and also on the BBC's Blame Game programme.

Brady's broadside at the DUP came on Live From The BBC on Wednesday night as she recalled a conversation with a Belfast taxi driver who'd joked with her that all Northern Ireland women were comedians.

Brady said she told him: "I know mate. My favourite one is the character actor you have here who looks like a butch lesbian masquerading as a straight woman in charge of the DUP, the most homophobic political party in the UK."

She told her audience: "If you don't know them, the DUP are a mad Northern Irish party.

"They don't have gay marriage in Northern Ireland and what I love is when these homophobes have to make up these fictional, pretend reasons to justify their homophobia because you can never say the real reason why you're homophobic, which is: 'I really want to try gay sex'.

"All homophobes are gay in the end; it's just a waiting game.

"So instead you do what the DUP do and you make up these pretend reasons like: 'We can't have gay marriage in Northern Ireland because it would ruin the definition of traditional marriage'."

Sources close to the DUP said the BBC's decision to broadcast Brady's "offensive onslaught" was disgraceful and warranted an immediate apology.

During one performance in Birmingham last year Brady said that she'd had to amend some of her jokes before the BBC would broadcast them, in particular one about Foster.

"So obviously the shocking comments about Mrs Foster that were aired during the week must have been cleared by the BBC," said the DUP source.

The BBC was asked last night about the show and if there had been any complaints about the comedian's remarks.

It said: "We don't routinely give out complaints figures, but publish a fortnightly complaints report that shows total complaints received about programmes and those receiving more than 100 complaints."

At the start of her televised routine, Brady said she had travelled around a lot getting her show ready, including previewing it in Belfast.

"It's a weird place to do comedy," she said.

"But if you are a young person, go. It's an amazing way to experience what 1970s Britain was truly like." She said that the Belfast taxi driver couldn't believe that she was a "female" comedian. She told him: "I know they're still illegal here", and likened Northern Ireland to the state of Gilead, referenced in TV series The Handmaid's Tale as a totalitarian place of sexism, racism and homophobia.

On Twitter the reaction to Brady's show was mixed with plaudits from some individuals and angry criticism from other people who said they were going to complain to the BBC.

It's not, however, the first time Brady has criticised the DUP and Foster on social media sites or in her shows.

She has also attacked Ballymena-born Neeson, who said last year that the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal had sparked "a bit of a witch-hunt".

Brady, who will be appearing at the Empire in Belfast next month, said Neeson and other celebrities, including Joanna Lumley and Angela Lansbury, had undermined the seriousness of accusations against producers like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.

Before the Republic voted to overturn the abortion ban earlier this year, Brady was also an outspoken critic of the country's legislation.

Belfast Telegraph

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