Dapper Laughs's Been Pulled

“We have given careful thought to the recent criticism of the character Dapper Laughs… and have taken the decision that we will not be considering this show for a second series.” These were the words of an ITV spokesman last Monday, proving that Daniel O’Reilly, also known as Dapper laughs, has created controversy too hot for even the pioneering ITV2 to handle, after totting up 29 complaints, a 60,000 signature strong petition, and a vast media storm.

The comedian (or ‘character’, as ITV have branded him) has been under a lot of fire since his rise to fame on social media with his Vine videos, which featured clips containing enough cat-calling, sexual harassment and crude jokes to make Jeremy Clarkson look politically correct. With societies recently increased awareness of feminism - take a bow Emma Watson - it was never going to be long before the finger of accusation was waved in the direction of Dapper who’s particular brand of comedy is offensive at best, harassment and violence inciting at worst.

Whilst some would place Dapper’s work nonchalantly into the category of Lad-culture, others would recognise the darker connotations that the playful “lad” tagline is often guilty of masking. What’s more, it’s not just his TV show that has been criticised. Amateur footage of his stand-up tour has emerged in which he can be heard making disturbing rape jokes, even telling an audience member that she was “gagging for a rape”. That too has since been cancelled.

A few days before the ITV announcement, Dapper took a break from his usual online satire to tweet a statement apologising to anyone that he has offended but also saying that it is important for comedians to take risks and push the boundaries. Certainly many would agree with this and sympathise with the comedian. Just a quick search of #DapperLaughs on Twitter reveals a number of tweets which - if you share my personal views - are rather saddening.

Tweets in support of Dapper range from:

@nicholalou- “Why do some people have to ruin it for everybody else!

@JakeStan- “No more dapper laughs on tv because women find it degrading! Don’t watch it then?

To the down-right disgusting which exemplify the horrific views that comedy like this is guilty of promoting, such as:

@OllieJMarshall- “Girls crying about dapper laughs are thinks [thick] as shit coz they’d probably shaft him anyways.

 

Despite this, there are clearly a lot of people who are happy that Dapper’s show has been axed, for example:

@AndrewJShirley- “Again, another example of how much of a scumbag this guy is.

@GirlGuiding- “We’re not laughing at #DapperLaughs, we’re empowering girls & young women to speak out against sexism #GirlsMatter.

Yet the anti-lad support goes much further than twitter. An open letter to ITV2 from comedian Lee Kern said that they had created “a rapist’s almanac”. TV critic Michael Hogan also spoke out, labelling Dapper “less of a legend, more of a bell-end”. More proactively, Cardiff University students succeeded in petitioning to their student union to cancel an upcoming performance of Dappers socially unacceptable tour.

So, is this another small win for feminism and equality? It would appear so. Following the days of controversy, Daniel O’Reilly took part in an exclusive interview with BBC’s News Night, on Tuesday. The comedian, dressed solemnly in a black turtle neck jumper, appeared to be genuine.

“It’s completely ruined everything that going on with me as a comedian,” he told probing presenter Emily Maitlis. He went on to claim that he cancelled the tour himself and doesn’t want to pursue the “Dapper Laughs” character anymore, saying “Dapper Laughs has gone.” Despite these points, he floundered during the interview. His arguments were weak and poorly delivered. In fact, you can’t help but wonder why he hadn’t been given just a little more PR training.

During the interview Daniel blamed the quick growth of Dapper’s Facebook page, albeit indirectly, for the success and popularity of the character. This raises a new question:  should social media do its best to prevent the promotion of sexist views in the same way they attempt to with racism and extremism? Certainly, in the case of Dapper Laughs, had the social media growth been stumped earlier then it’s unlikely that the character would ever have found his way into main stream entertainment.

So, with Dapper seemingly off our screens for good, one thing remains to be seen; is all publicity good publicity after all? Let’s hope not.