When political correctness goes wrong - the biggest offenders

As foot-in-mouth merchant Silvio Berlusconi finishes his first week of community service, Dave Kenny picks some examples of other people who’ve been in hot water with the political correctness brigade.

When political correctness goes wrong - the biggest offenders

SILVIO Berlusconi has just finished his first week of community service. The former Italian prime minister was found guilty of tax fraud and ordered to work with Alzheimer’s patients.

Silvio is probably best-known for being one of the most un-PC politicians in Europe. He once described Angela Merkel as “un****able” (ie he didn’t want to go to bed with her). On another occasion he told an African priest he had “a nice tan”.

Here, to celebrate his political ‘correcting’ are examples of PC gone bonkers.

Bowled over

In 2009, Barack Obama caused a furore after a chat with Jay Leno about his poor bowling technique. The usually thoughtful President declared: “I have been practicing bowling. I bowled a 129 — it was like the Special Olympics.”

Black humour?

In 1993, Ted Danson appeared at a comedy roast of Whoopi Goldberg… in blackface. His routine was deemed so non-PC that he was censured by New York’s mayor. Goldberg wasn’t offended, though. What the PC brigade didn’t rush to highlight was the fact that she and Danson were living together at the time.

Class act

Prince Philip is in a class of his own when it comes to non-PC remarks. Actually, he’s in a class of his own anyway (he’s royalty). Here’s two of his best: “Are you all one family?”, to a (stunned) mixed-race dance troupe at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance.

“I don’t think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing.” 1988.

Ginger’s Nuts

David McWilliams was castigated in 2007 for referring to BMW drivers as “knackers”. PC commentators implied he was referring to the Travelling community in the most insulting manner possible. (He wasn’t.) Macker explained that he was joking about Beamer fans being uncultured. ‘Knacker’ is the south Dublin equivalent of ‘skanger’.

The word originally referred to an uncouth person who skinned horses. It’s also slang for testicles. There’s a joke in there about ‘bollocks’ and ‘flogging a dead horse’. We like McWilliams so we’re not going to crack it.

Let us (not) pray

In January 2009, Catholic chaplains at Letterkenny Hospice were told to remove a tabernacle from its prayer room as it might be offensive. This was despite the priests getting the consent of the C of I and Presbyterian chaplains. One of the clerics pointed out that 80% of the terminally ill patients were Catholic. “So what?” replied the HSE.

Who had taken offence? Nobody. PC won and the tabernacle was removed. And rightly so. Imagine a religious symbol being allowed in a prayer room.

Banning Christmas (1)

Say the word ‘crib’ and most of the world thinks of non-PC, gold-toothed gangstas, ‘pimping their rides’, etc. Crib is slang for ‘home’ in the US, dear. It’s not offensive... unless you live in Ireland.

In December 2007, RTÉ kicked an ad — by Catholic publishers, Veritas — to touch because it contained the word ‘crib’. They were concerned that the Christmas radio ad was promoting religion. The previous year they had rejected another Veritas advert because it contained the word ‘Christmas’. Montrose’s concerns were perplexing when you consider that RTÉ broadcasts the Angelus twice a day. Whatever about all that, I still have an image in my head of Baby Jesus, all blinged up, saying “Welcome to ma crib, homey”.

Banning Christmas (2)

In 2007, Santas working in shopping centres across Australia were banned from bellowing “Ho ho ho” — because it might frighten children.

Recruitment firm, Westaff, instructed its staff to replace the greeting with “Ha, ha, ha”. Which was much better. That’s just what a three-year-old needs: a huge man in a red suit laughing at them.


In 2010, recruitment agency boss Nicole Mamo was dismayed to find her advert for hospital workers deemed ‘discriminatory’ by a job centre in Britain.

Was it racist, ageist or sexist? If it was, you wouldn’t be reading this.

It was none of the above. It was insensitive to a silent minority in society: the bloody useless. Her advert for ‘reliable’ and ‘hard-working’ applicants was rejected as it could be offensive to unreliable and lazy people.

Crowd of headers

Anfield finally woke up to the joys of PC in the wake of Luis Suarez’s 2011 racially abusive tirade against Patrice Evra. Staff at the club were issued with a guide to unacceptable language, that took things a little too far.

Banned phrases included ‘Don’t be a woman’, ‘Play like a girl’, ‘Rent boy’ and ‘Man up’.

PC name-change (1)

Richardheads: In 2009, staff at Flintshire council in Wales were surprised to find a new item on their canteen menu: ‘Spotted Richard’. Council PC types had renamed the classic dessert, Spotted Dick, as it was deemed to be potentially offensive.

It wasn’t the first time Spotted Dick had come in for a hammering. In 2001, Tesco also opted for Spotted Richard, claiming women shoppers were offended by having to ask for Spotted Dick.

PC name-change (2)

Peopleholes: Back in 1990, Councillors in Sacramento decided to end sexism on their streets by renaming the city’s manholes ‘maintenance holes’.

Why stop there? Here are a few other gender-neuter name changes for you: Captain Corelli’s Person-dolin, Peoplechester United, The Ottoperson Empire, The Person-churian Candidate, The Road to Persondalay. And a personal favourite: Nelson Persondela.

Don’t worry if you find it hard to swallow all these PC rules. You’re only huperson after all.

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