What Happened to David Walliams Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time
The horror of Little Britain is hard to forget. Strangely, I was living abroad when it became popular on British TV, and I remember talking to people from home who told me about this “hilarious new series.”
When I finally saw it, I was appalled. It was racist, put down the poor, LGBT+ people, and people with disabilities promoted the horrible term “chav,” and wasn’t very funny or witty. Laughs from making fun of those who can’t talk. Laughs about bullies at school.
Eventually, the show’s producers seemed to realize that what David Walliams and Matt Lucas were doing… wasn’t OK. For example, the character of Desiree DeVere, for which Walliams wore black makeup and a fat suit, was taken out of the show.
In 2020, Little Britain was taken off streaming sites like BBC iPlayer and Netflix because of protests against racism after the death of George Floyd.
Both Walliams and Lucas have since apologized (albeit years later and in the same way on Twitter) for using harmful stereotypes in their portrayals of “characters of different races.” For example, one of Lucas’s characters was a “chubby Thai bride” named Ting Tong, which is unthinkable.
As David Baddiel’s 25-year-late apology to player Jason Lee shows (Baddiel put on “blackface” for Fantasy Football League to look like Lee, giving him the nickname “pineapple head,” which led to years of racial insults), time doesn’t make it okay to forgive.
Walliams’s use of blackface in 2003 was racist, and Lucas’s “yeah but no but” impression of Vicky Pollard was an insult to the poor. It was offensive then and it is offensive now.
People who support free speech may be right that there is nothing wrong with being offensive, but that doesn’t mean we have to praise people who are.
We don’t have to give them top spots on shows like Britain’s Got Talent and eye-popping book deals for their (very ordinary) children’s books when there are so many good writers who don’t have the support of celebrities. We don’t have to make so much room for them.
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So, if Walliams leaves Britain’s Got Talent (his future as a judge is “very much up in the air,” according to an ITV show official), I won’t be sad to see him go.
Because I wasn’t surprised to hear that in January 2020, he said “disrespectful” and sexually explicit things about people trying out at the London Palladium.
According to a leaked transcript that the Guardian looked at, Walliams seemed to call an older performer a “c***” three times after an unsuccessful audition or make sexually explicit comments after a female contestant left the stage.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that he had already made “disrespectful comments.” I think Walliams showed how mean he was in Little Britain, and since then he’s been enjoying it.
He should have died when Little Britain came out 20 years ago. In a perfect world, it never would have come out at all, let alone kept shining.