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15 November 2018

Chortle mixed up two black women when reporting on an all-white comedy gig

The row began when details of the comedian Harry Hill’s Christmas charity fundraiser event were released earlier this week. 

By Media Mole

Comedy news and reviewing magazine Chortle thought two different black women were the same person – in a piece criticising an all-white comedy gig.

The row began when details of the comedian Harry Hill’s Christmas charity fundraiser event were released earlier this week. Writer and comedian Lolly Adefope noted on Twitter that, of the 23 comedians in the line-up (including Jimmy Carr, Rob Brydon, and Jo Brand), every single one was white.

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The viral tweet drew in comments from hundreds of users, one of them being Otegha Uwagba, the founder of Women Who, a London-based community for working women. In her tweet, she said of anyone trying to claim the line-up was not intentionally white: “that is bullshit.”

Chortle then reported on the controversy. In and amongst reporting on the apology from Harry Hill (about the, again, zero people of colour on this 23-person bill) and mentioning how other comedians participating claimed it was a harmless a mistake (but not, actually, pulling out of the gig), it included Uwagba’s quote calling it the aforementioned “BS”. Except, rather than, you know, attributing the quote to Uwagba, a woman of colour, it attributed it to Adefope, another woman of colour instead.

While this Mole was writing, Chortle corrected its mistake. But, in reality, it could have probably got away with it – it’s hard to tell one comedy magazine apart from another, after all.