Frankie Boyle festival show goes ahead despite Down’s Syndrome protest

Frankie Boyle
Frankie Boyle

Organisers of the West Belfast Festival have said their booking with comedian Frankie Boyle would remain intact, despite protests over his jokes about people with Down’s Syndrome.

In 2010 Mr Boyle made headlines after joking about Down’s Syndrome during a Scottish tour. Yesterday the Nolan Show reported that a petition had been formed to have him blocked from the Belfast event.

A spokesman for the festival said it also met recently with representatives of the Stephen Hartley Down Syndrome Support Group and Kids Together Belfast, which both advocate for children with disabilities.

“At the meeting we listened to the deep-felt concerns and obvious disappointment of the group in regard to the aforementioned booking,” he said.

“The groups voiced their concern in regard to the previous content of his material, which has caused widespread criticism in relation to his derogatory comments about disabled and vulnerable children and adults who are unable to defend themselves.

“The group felt that the booking was inappropriate and insensitive within the context of a community festival.”

He said they aspire to promote social inclusion and are “apologetic” for creating a situation where any individual with a disability feels ostracised.

They will consider the concerns when making future bookings, but Mr Boyle’s appearance this year will go ahead, he confirmed.