McIntyre is “a disabled protester who has cerebral palsy” and uses a wheelchair. As the Independent noted, “McIntyre was seen on video this week being dragged across the street by police after being tipped out of his wheelchair during protests in London over rises in student tuition fees.”
According to the Guardian, the complaints movement was fueled online in a Twitter campaign for PCC complaints.
As Editors Weblog noted, the PCC operates independent of news organizations in Britain and “normally accepts complaints only from those directly affected by the article.” As a result, the PCC reportedly intends “to contact McIntyre directly.”
Littlejohn’s Dec. 14 column covered a few topics, including the Stockholm bomber, McInytre and a 58-year-old woman “who has travelled the world” seeking to be impregnated. It currently features 138 comments.
He directly made the comparison, writing that “Jody Mcintyre is like Andy from Little Britain” along with a mock dialogue.
Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade commented on the controversy, saying that he doesn’t see the PCC taking any action over the column:
“There was no factual inaccuracy. Littlejohn is a columnist. He has a right to be offensive, even obnoxious. That’s his job.
His piece was not based on a prejudice against McIntyre because of his disability (nor was he exhibiting a prejudice against all disabled people). If so, I would take a different view.
“In this case, I sincerely hope that McIntyre is sensible enough to ignore any pressure to complain.”
McIntyre addressed Littlejohn’s column in a Dec. 15 blog for the Independent. After addressing the protest, McIntyre commented:
“Adding insult to injury is The Daily Mail, which found it appropriate to suggest I’m faking my disability and am mentally inept when it comes to making decisions about my actions. Highlighting a somewhat backwards attitude towards disabled people and their place in society, that over 500 people have already complained about Richard Littlejohn’s depiction of me as Andy from Little Britain (I don’t wear vests for a start), shows whose side the public are on when it comes to what’s acceptable where mocking disability is concerned.”
The Guardian noted that the BBC was also criticized and has received complaints over its interview with McIntyre.
iMediaEthics is writing to Littlejohn for comment and will update with any response.