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S. J. Parris and Stephanie Merritt

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Dapper Laughs: vile, humourless misogyny? It’s banter, innit?

Saturday 8th November 2014

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You may not have heard of Dapper Laughs. Lucky you. Allow me to enlighten you, if that is the word. Dapper – the cheeky nom de guerre of south Londoner Daniel O’Reilly – is very much the Nigel Farage of modern comedy. Like Farage, Dapper managed to build up a remarkable grassroots fanbase long before he troubled the awareness of mainstream audiences, without any of the usual costly publicity machinery, armed only with a smartphone and views that apparently strike a chord with “ordinary blokes”.

Through his various social media accounts Dapper posts videos of himself engaging in “banter”, which mainly consists of shouting sexual comments or insults at women in the street while filming their reaction. “Hey darling, can I smell your fanny?” – that sort of fun. You might be forgiven for confusing this with sexual harassment, just as people often confuse some of Ukip’s view with racism, but that’s probably because you’re one of those humourless liberals or feminists who fail to understand the basic concept of “banter”, which is that you’re allowed to say anything you like to anybody, no matter how offensive, as long as it’s a joke, because, y’know, free speech...

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