Frankie Boyle: comedian slammed for joke about ‘raping and killing Holly Willoughby’

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The Scottish Comedian has come under fire after defending his ‘joke’ during the Latitude Festival performance

Frankie Boyle has come under fire for making a rape ‘joke’ about TV presenter Holly Willoughby.

He then defended the remarks later in the week during a launch event for his new novel.

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But what did the controversial Scottish comedian say? Here’s what you need to know.

What was Frankie Boyle’s ‘joke’? 

During the Latitude Festival in Suffolk last weekend (21-24 July 2022), Frankie Boyle, 49, referenced a game about “killing and sh*****g people” which included This Morning host Holly Willoughby.

Allegedly he told the crowd: "I’d obviously kill her and rape her afterwards. I’m joking, I’d rape her first."

He then proceeded to defend his comment on Friday when asked about it at a book launch for his new novel in Waterstones, after being questioned by an audience member.

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He said: “Can I just say, my routine about raping and f*****g Holly Willoughby was part of a very long routine about whether or not it’s OK to do a joke about that, and I look at it from both sides, there are pluses and minuses”.

He went on further to say that comedy was in "the eye of the beholder" and that he considered himself to be a ‘mainstream’ comedian.

Controversial: Boyle made rape 'joke' about TV presenter Holly WilloughbyControversial: Boyle made rape 'joke' about TV presenter Holly Willoughby
Controversial: Boyle made rape 'joke' about TV presenter Holly Willoughby

What was the reaction to this ‘joke’?

Holly, 41, has in the past spoken up for sexual abuse victims and has also revealed her own experience of up-skirting when photographers crouched on the floor to take photos of her.

A spokeswoman for the feminist campaign group FiLiA said: ‘We are horrified that some men in the entertainment industry continue to consider the abuse of women to be comedy material.

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"Seeking cheap applause at the expense of traumatising women speaks of low-quality material.

"There is nothing funny about male violence. Women and girls around the country are not laughing.

"Instead, women are angry and scared for their safety.

“We are grappling with a national crisis in which the police and the courts fail rape victims who are brave enough to come forward seeking justice.

“We know from research that fewer than two per cent of reported rapes in England and Wales end in prosecution.”

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Boyle’s joke was heavily criticised by Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, chairman of the Women and Equalities Committee.

Ms Nokes, who attended the University of Sussex at the same time as the comic, told The Mail on Sunday: “The Frankie Boyle I was at university with wouldn’t have found rape funny.

“It never is, and I’m disappointed that anyone would try to make a joke out of male sexual violence.”

Has Frankie Boyle come under fire before?

In 2012, Boyle posted a tweet referring to Victoria Pendleton, the Olympic cyclist and said: “Victoria can lift twice her own bodyweight. Sexy, as it means she still wouldn’t be able to throw me off.”

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At the time, the End Violence Against Women Coalition said: “His tweet trivialises the experience of rape victims and sends a signal to those who might commit rape that it is not a serious crime. Revolting.”

Boye has also caused outrage with jokes on Rebecca Adlington’s appearance, and Katie Prices’ son Harvey.

In 2017, Katie Price urged fans to boycott Boyle’s Live at the Apollo show after his comments about her son.

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