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The ‘Dapper Laughs’ Controversy

Until the 7th November, I hadn’t heard of Dapper Laughs. In case you’re blissfully unaware, ‘Dapper Laughs’ is the ‘comedy’ persona of Daniel O’Reilly, a UK Social Media sensation that has his own ITV2 show, cunningly entitled ‘Dapper Laughs’.

When I think of comedy personas I think Mrs Merton, Alan Partridge, Ali G – funny and on the whole inoffensive. What you get with Dapper Laughs is sexist, offensive tripe that is dressed-up as banter.

Things seemed to be chugging along quite nicely for Mr Laughs; ITV2 deal, growing social media presence and apart from the odd-bashing in the media, no-one was particularly bothered. Until yesterday, the 7th November 2014.

Dapper Laughs has released an album entitled Proper Naughty Christmas, which was reviewed on the usvsth3m.com website. The review is savage, if you’re a misogynistic creep, but for the rest of us, well, songs about a woman wanting “one up the bum” and a tramp that “stinks of sh*t” may just make your blood boil. So, following the review there was a Twitter exchange between writers from usvsth3m.com and Dapper Laughs. But wait, it wasn’t what it seemed.

You see, apparently, Dapper’s intentions are good. He stated that sales of the album would directly benefit the charity Shelter, so singing about homeless people in a derogatory manner is ok, innit?! Well, in short, the storm grew on Twitter and it resulted in Shelter publicly stating that it didn’t want money from Dapper Laughs. When has that ever happened? A charity rejecting money from a ‘celeb?

Now that you know the score, here is what the Dapper Laughs’ controversy has taught me as a woman:

1. A significant percentage of men think it’s ok to degrade women online.

Abi Wilks (@abiwilks), who tweeted in support of the original album review received what can only be described as disgusting abuse on Twitter. I can’t even bring myself to quote some of the tweets but some of the least offensive included:

“why don’t you go back to your home on whore island?”

” oh come on, seriously what’s with this women’s rights bullsh*t?”

“shut-up you f*cking sl*g”.

I said these were the least offensive. There’s far worse.

2. Sexism branded as banter is ok.

If you’ve not seen the ITV2 show, the gist is that Dapper is on the pull. Sounds harmless? It’s not. This programme demonstrates that it’s apparently ok to shout at women in the street, to refer to women as “pussy” and that he’s an expert in making women “proper moist”. This isn’t lad banter, it’s sexist and predatory. People are obviously lapping it up though. He’s got an ITV2 show for god’s sake!

3. ITV2 and others are making money from offensive cr*p like Dapper Laughs.

Following the storm, that is still raging, you’d think that ITV2 might stop, take notice of the general consensus that Dapper Laughs isn’t entertainment and either pull the show, or apologise. Oh no, they issued a response that basically says that it’s risqué humour and that his pulling tips are “firmly based on treating women with respect”. Put it this way, the ITV2 response made me laugh more than anything I’ve seen of Dapper Laughs. If you want to see how women are treated with respect, google the lyrics for “Proper Moist”. Nice.

4. If you’re a woman and you disagree with a man online, expect to be threatened with rape.

Strong words, backed up with evidence. You see, for disagreeing with Dapper Laughs, Abi Wilks was threatened with rape, by his cretinous followers. Rape or threats of rape seems to be the Twitter weapon of choice for men who seem incapable of putting together an educated argument. They’re so devoid of anything between the ears that they choose to hide behind their keyboards and threaten women with sexual violence. From women MPs to TV stars, journalists and writers, it seems that if you have an opinion that somehow ‘offends’ men, then you can expect to be targeted. How is this happening? Why does a generation of men (it’s mostly 18-30s), think that this is in anyway a) acceptable and b) funny?

5. There are many exceptions. Thank God!

Of course, not all men a) would watch Dapper Laughs b) find him funny or c) abuse a woman online, of course not. There are millions of men out there who find Dapper Laughs’ apparent mocking of sexual assault and objectification of women dressed up as banter equally abhorrent. Thankfully.

I just can’t get my head around how something such as this is deemed to be acceptable for a prime TV channel. I thought that the days when men shouted at women in the street and women were portrayed as pure sex objects were coming to an end. How is this now becoming acceptable again?

What are your thoughts? Is Dapper Laughs just banter?


  • Sonia Kruppa Sonia Kruppa says:

    I am now the wrong side of thirty and when I was growing up, women seemed to be riding high on a wave of independence and liberty. I am very alarmed and surprised at the attitude which is now much more commonplace online and in some media, that is that women are all just slappers who are up for it etc. When I chat to younger women, you would be forgiven for thinking that the suffragette movement had never happened, they seem to accept the abuse! Was I just a feisty young woman with naïve ideals or have we gone backwards. I often feel there is a tangible threat to women’s safety and its depressing to say in the least.

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