By Joshua Dimond
Until recently most people could be forgiven for not having heard of Daniel O’Reilly, better known as the “LAD comedian” Dapper Laughs. However, in the past week, Mr O’Reilly has been the subject of much controversy for his comments towards women, which have been described as misogynistic. The comedians ITV2 show Dapper Laughs: On The Pull was criticised for having a sexist theme, whilst his live show caused outrage when it emerged that he had told an audience member that she was “gagging for a rape”. As a result of newspaper and social media condemnation, his ITV2 show and live tour (which was due to come to Manchester) have both been axed.
Who is Dapper Laughs?
Dapper Laughs first rose to internet fame through the video-sharing website Vine. Videos he uploaded include clips titled “six second sex secrets” in which he films himself using crude chat-up lines on unsuspecting women, usually followed by the catchphrases “proper moist” and “she knows”. In addition to Vine, he also found popularity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat.
In February 2014, he released the single “Proper Moist”; reaching number 15 in the UK singles chart. In April 2014, he began his live stage show Moist Tour and in September he was given his own TV show On The Pull, where he helped men ‘pull’ women.
Dapper Laughs behaviour on social media can be described as typical lad “banter” no different to that of other websites such as TheLadBible. This “banter” may have flown under the radar whilst it was just being watched on Vines, but his sudden escalation from web star to TV show personality has put his attitude towards women under intense scrutiny.
In November, the website usvsth3m.com criticised O’Reilly’s Christmas album Proper Naughty Christmas. The website reviewed that although O’Reilly claimed the album was released for a homeless charity, it actually mocks homeless people, undermining its “supposed charitable purpose”. Dapper Laughs took to Twitter to respond to the websites criticism, claiming that it’s “just comedy”. He also attacked one of the websites female writers, promoting some of his twitter followers to send her abusive tweets; calling her “slag” and “whore”.
Further to the criticism of the album, his TV show had many negative responses from journalists and social media who described it as sexist for the way he viewed women as sex objects. After ITV received a petition of 68,000 signatures for the removal of On the Pull from the channel, the show was eventually axed, leading to questions such as how a show of this nature was allowed to be aired in the first place.
And now his live tour has also been cancelled following the intense media storm. Calls for the tour to be cancelled emerged after he described a woman as “gagging for a rape” during one of his shows,. In one instance, Cardiff University students successfully campaigned for his show to be cancelled at their union.
Price of fame
O’Reilly’s minor celebrity status has led to him being in the spotlight over any comments he makes. Therefore the media backlash was not a surprise after he made rape-related comments such as “if she cries, she’s just playing hard to get”. His work may be intended as banter, but rape jokes are no laughing matter, especially when he has made several of them. As a celebrity, O’Reilly became a role model, and many other ‘lads’ who follow his work may consider his views on women as an acceptable part of lad culture.
Joshua is a 3rd year studying history at MMU. His interests include football, politics, 20th century British history, comedy and British cinema.