Outrage at Frankie Boyle's offensive Madeleine McCann comment on Twitter
Comedian Frankie Boyle has provoked outrage by making a "deeply offensive" comment about Madeleine McCann on Twitter.
The Scottish comic and television star tweeted the joke yesterday and immediately came under fire from some of his 1.05 million followers.
However, the missing Leicestershire youngster's parents, Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, were said to not want to dignify his comments by giving their views on the matter.
Their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said it was not the first time Boyle – who is on tour and is to release a DVD in November – had made remarks about their daughter.
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Boyle made the comment about Madeleine, who went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in May 2007, after he had posted a series of tweets about the allegations of sexual abuse of children levelled against Sir Jimmy Savile in a television programme this week.
One of his Twitter followers responded: "Wow, that's pretty horrible even by your standards."
Another wrote: "This time he's really gone too far. Career-ending, I'd say – and not even a tiny bit funny."
However, one of the comedian's fans tweeted: "If you're thinking of unfollowing Frankie Boyle because he made a distasteful remark, why were you following him in the first place?"
MrMitchell said: "Frankie Boyle has made similarly deeply offensive comments about Madeleine in the past and the family will not dignify any of them by commenting."
On a previous occasion the comedian referred to Madeleine during a stage show in Liverpool – Mrs McCann's home town – reportedly leading a number of people to walk out of the theatre.
Leicester city councillor Patrick Kitterick, a former winner of the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, said: "There is a place for edgy comedy but this comment isn't edgy and it isn't funny."
Tom Franklin, of Kibworth, saw the tweet soon after it appeared yesterday morning.
Mr Franklin said: "I support the principle of freedom of speech, but this remark went well beyond what is acceptable.
"This is the kind of comedy which scapegoats people who cannot speak for themselves, either because of their circumstances or because they don't have the economic muscle that the Frankie Boyles of this world have."
Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007, sparking a worldwide search that continues.
The Mercury contacted Boyle's representatives, Chambers Management, but nobody was available to comment.