Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 13:03 UK

Philippines angry at Enfield show

Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield
Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield have worked together for years

Comedian Harry Enfield's BBC show has been labelled "disgraceful and distasteful" by members of the Philippine community in the UK.

A petition has been launched condemning the Harry And Paul show for a sketch in which one man urged another to "mount" a Filipina maid.

The Philippine embassy in London has written to the BBC and the Press Complaints Commission about the scene.

A spokesman for the show said it was "in no way" meant to cause offence.

"Harry and Paul is a post-watershed comedy sketch series and as such tackles many situations in a comedic way," said the spokesman, from production company Tiger Aspect.

"Set in this context, the sketch in question is so far beyond the realms of reality as to be absurd - and in no way is intended to demean or upset any viewer."

'Absurd'

The scene, first broadcast on 26 September, was part of a running joke in which a family from the south of England treats a northern man like a pet dog.

"Our chums up the road wanted to see if they could mate their Filipino maid with our northerner," said Enfield's character as the maid danced provocatively in his garden.

This particular sketch is completely disgraceful, distasteful and a great example of gutter humour
Philippine Foundation
After the performance failed to have the desired effect, Enfield shouted: "Come on, Clyde, mount her."

In the Philippines, foreign secretary Alberto Romulo, summoned British ambassador Peter Beckingham to discuss the broadcast.

The British Embassy in Manila later issued a statement saying the BBC had editorial independence and the views expressed and portrayed by the network were "completely independent" from the government.

'Re-education'

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.




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