Frank Skinner ‘deeply ashamed’ of ‘bullying’ Jason Lee blackface skit

Frank Skinner 'deeply ashamed' of 'bullying' Jason Lee blackface skit

The comedian has spoken in depth about his regret over the sketch (Picture: Getty)

Frank Skinner has said that he deeply regrets ridiculing retired footballer Jason Lee on his TV show Fantasy Football League.

The stand-up comic and his comedy partner David Baddiel fronted the popular BBC series in the 1990s and they often mocked active players, pundits and managers in sketches.

Nottingham Forest striker Lee became a figure of fun due to his struggles with scoring and his hairstyle, with the duo depicting him as wearing a pineapple on his head and Baddiel at one point even dressing in blackface with the fruit on his head.

Looking back, Skinner feels huge regret over the ‘bullying’ jokes and the inappropriate blackface sketch.

Revealing that he and Baddiel had recently discussed the incident ‘from a how-the-f**k-did-that-ever-happen point of view’, he told The Guardian: ‘I still don’t know how it happened. I know why we took the p*ss out of him, because I’d watched him on Match of the Day missing several goals, so a sketch about him being unable to put a piece of paper into a bin worked.

‘But when Dave walked out of makeup [in blackface] that night, I still don’t know why one or both of us… or someone there didn’t say what the f**k is happening?’

Frank Skinner

Skinner branded the skit a ‘bullying campaign’ that he was ‘deeply ashamed’ of (Picture: HGL/GC Images)

David Baddiel And Frank Skinner

Skinner with Baddiel (L), with whom he presented Fantasy Football League (Picture: Trevor Leighton/TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

‘I can’t look back on it now without seeing it as bullying. There was a big response to it. People started to send in loads of pictures of pineapples, and so it ran and ran and ran. Looking back, it was a bullying campaign. And it’s awful. And yeah, I’m ashamed of it.’

The comic added that he felt it ‘wouldn’t be too much’ to say that both he and Baddiel were ‘deeply ashamed’ of the incident.

Despite his shame though, Skinner, 65, doesn’t think it is appropriate for him and best friend Baddiel, 58, to make a ‘big public apology’ because he thinks it would be insincere.

‘They look a bit like union card apologies, “I just need to keep working; I’ll apologize for anything, just let me keep working.” I didn’t want to be part of that.’

He stressed that he felt there was ‘no excuse’ and that he was ‘blaming us’.

David Baddiel on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Baddiel has previously apologized for donning blackface (Picture: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

However, he did share that there was a BBC representative who sat in the audience every week, with the broadcaster watching the show and okaying it before it was transmitted.

‘They were supposed to be a guiding hand, not letting us f**k up. But that’s a side issue. It was a vendetta. An unintentional vendetta but still a vendetta,’ he admitted.

Baddiel has previously apologized for the blackface sketch on Twitter and in an interview with The Telegraph, in which he said: ‘I regret, and apologize for, the makeup and costume, which however much it might have been in the show’s tradition of dressing up to look like footballers in a silly cartoon way, was also part of another very bad racist tradition.’

Lee, 51, has publicly criticized Baddiel and Skinner, and shared his disappointment that neither of them have ever reached out to him to say sorry for their offensive jokes.

Jason Lee at FOREST V EVERTON

Retired footballer Lee, seen here in 1995, has called out the comics for never apologizing to him (Picture: Shaun Botterill/ALLSPORT/Getty)

Speaking to the PA news agency in 2020, he commented: ‘Baddiel and Skinner, did they realize the impact of what they were saying, how it affected so many people?

‘Especially a hairstyle, you’re talking about ethnicity, a lot of black people would wear dreadlocks and feel deeply offended by someone who’s getting mocked for a similar hairstyle. The implications were far wider, and it wouldn’t happen today.’

‘I never received an apology from Baddiel and Skinner.

It’s never too late. I think that would be good for maybe my children to hear that, and it would show them that in today’s day and age people maybe are more remorseful, and people are having to look at how they act.’

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

MORE : Sir Lenny Henry filled with ‘massive pride’ to be baton bearer in Birmingham for Commonwealth Games

MORE : Jeremy Clarkson rents bull with ‘testicles the size of space hoppers’ for his lucky Diddly Squat farm cows

TV

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.