BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK: England
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Comic's show cancelled after racist jokes
Comedian Stan Boardman
Stan Boardman has been banned from Leeds United FC
Leicester City FC has cancelled a planned show by comedian Stan Boardman despite his apology over racist jokes told at an event in Leeds.

Leeds United FC has threatened to withhold the Liverpool-born comic's 4,000 fee after complaints he offended guests at a Player of the Year dinner.

Mr Boardman insists he is not a racist and merely exchanged "banter" with an Asian solicitor who he says accused him of stealing hubcaps.

But the apology has come too late to save a planned appearance at Leicester's Filbert Street ground on 11 May.

If someone stands up and heckles me and says Scousers are thieves then I am going to give it back

Stan Boardman, comedian

Leeds United officials have condemned Mr Boardman's act as "inappropriate and unacceptable" and barred him from performing at the club again.

Mr Boardman was appearing at the Yorkshire club's Elland Road ground on 30 April, when he told a heckler to "go back to your curry house in Bradford - your elephant is waiting".

A letter to the comedian, signed by Leeds United operations manager David Spencer, says: "Unfortunately your act upset many people and we feel your overall performance was totally inappropriate and unacceptable, and because of this we feel we must review your payment for the evening."


Mr Boardman says he has not received the letter from the club and accused officials of double standards.

He also denies making a joke that Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate, the players cleared of assaulting student Sarfraz Najeib in Leeds city centre, came out of a nightclub and said "I could murder an Indian".

Mr Boardman said: "I am not a racist. My job is being a comedian and making people laugh so if I have upset anyone, then I apologise.

'Standing ovation'

"I never used the word 'murder' in the joke about Bowyer and Woodgate. I said 'Do you fancy an Indian?'

"And the Indian fella who heckled me was shouting 'Go back to Liverpool! You've robbed our hubcaps' so I told him to go back to Bradford and that there was an elephant waiting outside.

"If someone stands up and heckles me and says Scousers are thieves then I am going to give it back. It was banter.

"I was given a standing ovation at the end of my act and I must have signed 100 autographs and posed for 50 photos, so I would say most people seemed to enjoy it."

Racism tackled

Leicester City announced it was cancelling a show at Filbert Street following the row.

The recently-relegated club said it had welcomed the Liverpudlian to the club in the past and had never had problems but it was taking a "serious stance" on racism.

Leicester City's chief executive Steve Kind said: "Stan Boardman has been to the club in the past and has never been involved in any incidents of a racist nature.

"However, once the club heard the reports from the awards ceremony at Leeds United, it was decided to take the immediate action of cancelling Mr Boardman's booking for the Gala Dinner.

"Leicester City Football Club takes a serious stance on tackling racism and does not condone racist behaviour of any type or description."

Stan Boardman
"We are only comedians, we make people laugh"

Click here to go to Leeds

Click here to go to Leicester
See also:

02 May 02 | Leeds United
Leeds embarrassed by comedian
02 May 02 | SOL
No laughing matter for Leeds
08 Mar 02 | Business
Leeds United seeks transfer income
21 Apr 99 | UK Politics
Liverpool anger at Straw jibe
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories