A young Asian boy walked on stage with Chinese music to represent the stand-up comedian
The Royal Variety Performance has been accused of “casual racism” over a sketch by host David Walliams that featured a young Asian boy to represent comedian Michael McIntyre.
Walliams was mocking a range of celebrities, using children to portray them, as he narrated the story of UK talent show Britain’s Got Talent to mark the show’s 10th anniversary.
Amongst the celebrities featured was stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre. When Walliams introduced McIntyre, a gong was sounded, followed by a young Asian boy walking with Chinese music playing.
McIntyre has no Asian heritage.
Viewers took to Twitter to express their outrage, slamming the sketch as “casual racism”, whilst another said the “slit eyed joke” was “offensive”.
Am I the only one who thought the ‘Asian Michael McIntyre’ gag during the pathetic BGT history was casually racist? #RoyalVarietyPerformance
— Andrew Keates (@andrewkeates) December 13, 2016
Did they really just make a slightly offensive “slit eyed joke” about michael mcintyre? Wow! #RoyalVarietyPerformance
— Brendan Bunting (@DapperArtist) December 13, 2016
Didn’t know Michael Mcintyre was Chinese? #RoyalVarietyPerformance
— Lee 🎅🏻🎁 (@Leemond) December 13, 2016
In response, a spokesperson for ITV, the channel on which the Royal Variety Performance was broadcasted said, “There was a light hearted sketch about the story of BGT on last night’s Royal Variety Performance and no offence was intended.”
The Royal Variety Performance is an annual televised variety show that raises money for the Royal Variety Charity. The event is historically attended by senior members of the British Royal Family and is organised by the charity itself of which Queen Elizabeth II is the sole life-patron. Performances include comedy, music, dance, magic and other speciality acts.
Entertainers often consider it a great honour to perform in front of the Royal Family at the event. Sinece 2007, a performance spot has been reserved for the winner of the television competition Britain’s Got Talent.