Update: this article has been edited to include comment from Dapper Laughs (see end)
Daniel O’Reilly has some regrets about his character Dapper Laughs, he says in a video released today by BBC Three. Whether those regrets are for the way he portrayed women, the misogynistic abuse his fans perpetrated or the fact that it lost him his TV series is unclear, but he has regrets, he says.
One of the sketches he discusses is this infamous example, in which he uses a knife to demand a woman removes her clothes:
Journalist Abi Wilkinson (who writes for us) asks him about the sketch in the BBC’s video, titled ‘Best of Enemies’. She was the subject of harassment from Dapper Laughs fans after she tweeted about a Christmas album he made to benefit the homeless, in which he, in her words, “Shouts at a ‘tramp’ “you smell like shit” because he wants to help homeless people.” O’Reilly apologised on Twitter a year later, but the video is the first time the two have met in person.
When Abi brings up the knife Vine, rather than saying it was uncool and apologising, O’Reilly says we all got his meaning wrong. Saying “turn around and lift up your fucking shirt” with a knife in his hand didn’t actually mean he was threatening a woman to undress at knifepoint, far from it. In his words:
“To me the joke of that was not scaring her into taking her bra off, just that the quickest way to get a girl’s bra off would be to cut it.”
Abi’s response echoes ours: “Really? Really?!” followed by some truly enviable facial expressions.
At this point, O’Reilly backtracks and says “Well looking back on it now, maybe it was a bit of both”, before continuing to say that the sketch was filmed 2 years ago and “it was meant to come across as stupid” (nailed it). “Like I said, there was parts of some of my content that I regretted,” he states, suggesting this particular sketch was on the list.
Here’s why his defence doesn’t work: if the joke was that the quickest way to take a bra off is to cut it, why does he need to say “Turn around and lift up your fucking shirt” like a rapist? Why “fucking shirt” if he’s just trying to have some fun, consensual sex with someone who wants him to remove her underwear? The intent is clear, and he’d have scored some much-needed reputation points if he’d acknowledged that and apologised for it.
Abi tells us she isn’t buying it, either: “I thought his explanation was silly and he’d have been better off just admitting what the joke was about.” The conversation is surprisingly amicable given the heat of the original disagreement – Abi says “I never hated him and wasn’t surprised he was nice enough in person, but I’m not convinced he really got where I was coming from at all.” No kidding.
You can watch the conversation in full below – the knife sketch conversation is at 6:27.
This isn’t the first time O’Reilly’s defended his gags rather than apologising – after he was caught on video referring to an audience member as “gagging for a rape,” he was at pains to stress that he was just repeating something the woman’s friend had said. He didn’t explain why he then went on to say that if his show was “a guide to rape,” as was being suggested in the press at the time, “I would have done one five-minute episode, come on and go ‘Oi oi, I’m Dapper Laughs, go down the shops, get some rope, bit of duct tape, rape the bitch, well done, see you later.”
We’ve asked Mr. Laughs for comment and will update if we hear back. In the meantime, read Abi’s advice on why arguing online can actually prove worthwhile – she’d know.
Update: we have now heard from Dapper Laughs. He says:
“That content is 2 years old and out of date, just like this story.” [the knife sketch is 2 years old. The explanation video is new].
That’s us told, then.
Main image: BBC Three via YouTube