On the first day of the trial, comedian Frankie Boyle has confirmed he is suing the Mirror newspaper for “serious libel” following an article it published in June 2011 which labelled him racist.
The article ran with the first line: “RACIST comedian Frankie Boyle could soon be returning to TV despite upsetting thousands of viewers,” following Boyle’s public departure from BBC Two’s Mock the Week over controversial Rebecca Adlington jokes.
At the trial, which is taking place at the High Court in London throughout this week, Boyle’s lawyer said that to call someone a racist was “obviously defamatory.”
He went on to say that: "Saying 'vile' or 'offensive', or his material is 'vile' or 'offensive', is one thing,"
"He [Boyle] realises that that goes with the territory, so to speak. But accusing him of being a racist is an entirely different matter."
"You can call him 'offensive', you can call him 'tasteless'. That's fine. But he is not racist."
The Mirror commented: "Frankie Boyle is taking legal proceedings against us for the description of him as a 'racist comedian'. He claims it is untrue and defamatory. We are defending this claim on the basis of truth and fair comment.
"We are also defending his claim that we libelled him by suggesting that 'he was forced to quit Mock the Week' in 2009."
Boyle took to Twitter last night to tell his followers: "I'm afraid I must disappear from Twitter for a while. See you on the other side of this thing."