Harry Enfield

// 14 October 2008

The Harry and Paul show is under fire, after it ran a sketch which revolved around encouraging a man to “mount” a Filipina maid.

Really, I’m not going to attempt to describe the sketch, but you can see it here:

The BBC (yes, reporting on itself!) says:

A petition organised by the Philippine Foundation called for the “re-education” of the BBC.

It said: “This particular sketch is completely disgraceful, distasteful and a great example of gutter humour.”

It accused the BBC and the show of “inciting stereotyped racial discrimination, vulgarity and violation of the maid’s human rights”.

The sketch was “tantamount to racism and [the] worst sexual abuse and exploitation of the hapless young Filipina domestic worker employee,” it added.

The petition had received 328 signatures by midday on Tuesday.

Comments From You

aimee // Posted 14 October 2008 at 8:31 pm

Ummm…. Isn’t this supposed to be just a parody of the distasteful views and attitudes shown by wealthy middle england to well… anyone else? I think this is one of those diffucult situations where i’m not sure whether or not something has crossed the line from humour to discrimination, but in this case, i’m rather inclined to see the funny side.

Pete // Posted 14 October 2008 at 9:04 pm

Its a daft sketch taking the piss out of southern peoples attitude to northeners and foreigners.

Its not mocking the phillipines or northeners at all and its silly to suggest it.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 14 October 2008 at 11:41 pm

In other words male sexual violence against women is once again depicted as ‘just humorous and funny.’ No need to ask why it is considered ‘funny’ to depict a man attempting to rape a woman and yes ‘mounting’ is a euphemism for sexual penetration. No I have not forgotten the woman depicted was not white and so yes indeed this ‘sketch’ was deliberately misogynistic and racist. It is true many Fillipino women who migrate to the UK and other European countries are subjected to male sexual violence because they are not considered human but instead are viewed and treated as female sex/labour slaves by their employers.

Bee // Posted 15 October 2008 at 12:46 pm

Gosh. I can’t watch the clip, but I read the description of it on the petition, and it does sound rather horrible.

What on earth were they thinking?!

Laura Woodhouse // Posted 16 October 2008 at 5:17 pm

I agree with Pete and Amy here: the sketch is designed to highlight and mock the sexism and racism of the stereotypical white male Middle Englander. I personally don’t think it’s very funny, but I hardly think it warrants Harry and Paul being accused of racism or misogyny.

Laurel Dearing // Posted 16 October 2008 at 8:58 pm

mm i think its more humourous than racist. mocking it like the above say, however i do not think that jokes implying rape should be mainstream because is seems even the word rape is a joke and the figures prove it.

Pete // Posted 16 October 2008 at 10:26 pm

Rape is going a bit far isnt it?

In the context of the sketch the northener and phillipine were treated as animals, not people. Someone breeding animals isnt accused of assisting rape.

Knee jerk reactions here.

chem_fem // Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:21 am

Pete at the end the maid is walking back home and her ‘master’ starts to follow her. She then starts to run away from him.

The insinuation is that he’s about to rape her.

watch the last few seconds again.

Ed // Posted 19 October 2008 at 4:32 pm

It’s a parody of the dehumanising behaviour of the middle and upper class in the use of foreign home-help. They’re comedians. They’re pointing and laughing at people’s foibles, not at rape.

Pete // Posted 20 October 2008 at 11:11 am

Chem_Fem, its not her master, its the postman chasing her.

But yes he is chasing her, though that I dont see that it follows that hes about to rape her, its just a nonsense way to end a nonsense sketch.

laurenthelurker // Posted 20 October 2008 at 11:13 am

There were people protesting outside BBC’s media village on Friday about this.

I’m of the opinion that if someone feels offended by something, then the least we can do is acknowledge it and try to see it from their point of view, not dismiss them as “looking for something to be upset about” or “knee-jerk reactions”. It smacks of arrogance.

The protesters were genuinely hurt by the sketch, meaning that even if Enfield intended it to be a satire on how the middle class view people they think are ‘below’ them, he actually ended up reinforcing their attitude.

Anna // Posted 20 October 2008 at 1:30 pm

‘In the context of the sketch the northener and phillipine were treated as animals, not people’

um. and that’s even remotely ok why?

Audreya // Posted 20 October 2008 at 2:10 pm

Pete – on what possible basis can you defend this sketch because it openly ‘treats people as animals?’ Jesus. That’s a pretty sick and base form of ‘humour,’ making light of degrading treatment and rape. But then it does not really affect you so I guess you personally are not offended and cannot see why others are. Maybe think it through a little, from a perspective outside your own embodied one?

Kath // Posted 20 October 2008 at 4:55 pm

Anna, because the butt of the joke are people who treat others that way, not the northerners/Filipinas themselves.

Pete // Posted 20 October 2008 at 9:44 pm

Anna, its remotely ok for the same reason that its ok to make cartoons of Muhammed.

Also its not the northener or the maid being mocked… its the attitudes of the owner. Are white southeners acceptable targets for mockery?

Bee // Posted 21 October 2008 at 12:01 pm

I can appreciate that the butt of the joke is the Harry character, however I still think this sketch is a bit insensitive, as it plays on degrading sexual stereotypes with regard to the Filipina maid (and sexual exploitation of overseas workers goes on, and it’s not funny). It doesn’t degrade northerners in the same way because they (we) are not an oppressed group (though some may beg to differ!).

I can appreciate the intent of the sketch, but can also easily see why some Filipinas/Filipinos are upset by it.

bzzzzgrrrl // Posted 21 October 2008 at 1:21 pm



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