There is always one arsehole, isn’t there?
There is somebody who has an axe to grind, and has taken it upon themselves to make a series of videos in which they put forward all sorts of notions to damage the reputations of me, Stephen Gardner, and James Wilson (the collective sometimes known as BJS Productions), by calling us (among other things) racists.
He made complaints to Ofcom about one broadcast I was a part of several years ago (about myself, BJS, and other individuals), and Ofcom did not uphold ANY of his complaints. I’m an innocent man, and I’ve had it proven from the radio regulator.
I know the name of the individual responsible for all of this (though I’m not going to name him here), and I’m sure he’ll get a lot of pleasure out of being recognised at last. This blog (which almost nobody reads) has higher visitor numbers than he has video viewers, so that gives me some comfort. That said, his videos do come up in some Google searches for me, so that’s not great.
To push his agenda, he’s taken images from this site, from my personal blog, from GlossFM’s website, and in one case – from my personal Facebook page. He’s edited audio from all over the place, and I’ve no idea how much of BJS’ content he must have listened to, to do it.
If it wasn’t on the Internet for anyone to find, I’d probably just laugh it all off, and think “hey – at least someone is listening to all this”.
I’ve done a bit of digging on the individual concerned, and found out he has applied for an unhealthily high number of Freedom of Information requests, and that he’s made complaints (some, in video) about a lot of other people too. He’s misappropriated audio, used pictures of children without their parents’ consent, and made claims that another innocent individual looks like a serial killer.
Sadly, while he might be just a busybody with too much time on his hands, somebody finding an isolated video calling me a racist, isn’t helpful. After all, there is no way of proving you aren’t a racist, is there? So I’ve decided to stop ignoring him (as he doesn’t seem to be going away).
I’ve made official complaints of harassment to YouTube for his videos, and as he uses a lot of copyrighted music in them, I’ve contacted the owners of the copyright and told them. In one case, I’ve been having a personal conversation with the artist in question, about whether or not they would give consent to a series of videos vilifying a number of innocent people.
So What’s This Guy Complaining About, Exactly?
Thanks for asking. He’s complaining about loads of things, but of the ones that concern me, here’s some details. Spoilers follow.
Me, Stephen and James (collectively BJS) make comedy radio shows and podcasts.
These include a number of sketches, and so that they don’t all sound the same, we put on different voices to play different parts, much like the actors on South Park or The Archers or whatever. No, we’re not as funny as South Park.
We’ve had “characters” from Yorkshire, the Westcountry, America, Germany and France. We’ve had very-stereotypical gangsters, and for one series, 4 sketches had a character who was Spanish.
In November 2007, the complainant heard Stephen talking in a bad Spanish accent, and me hurling badly-acted very-scripted insults at him, and took this as a racist slur. This was deliberately done in a ridiculous Frenchman-in-Monty-Python’s-Holy-Grail manner, with such insults as me calling Stephen a “horse-faced son of Anne Widdecombe”, and an ugly “lovechild of Russell Grant and Lorraine Kelly”, despite me claiming to be talking to him on the phone. Because of Stephen’s accent, the complainant decided to take this as a racist attack on the entire Hispanic community.
It’s not our best work, and the sketch was axed after those 4, for several reasons. The reasons were:
- It was far too long. Each episode was nearly 10 minutes long, and one ran on for over 11 minutes. It’s a bit long, for a comedy sketch.
- It was ram-filled with sound effects, and took me hours and hours to edit together.
- It was too repetitive. It was essentially a couple of jokes, repeated every week, very slowly.
- It wasn’t funny enough.
My sister (a very regular listener) thought it was OK “once”, although somebody left a comment on our MySpace page (yes, it was THAT long ago) saying how much they had enjoyed it.
When we returned to the station 6 months later for another broadcast, we had decided not to continue that segment. Rather than give the 4 boring reasons, we joked that all features over 20 minutes in length had been banned, and also because of complaints. We thought this was funny, but the complainant has taken this to mean that we had been told off by station management. Which we weren’t. We’ve never been told off by station management for anything.
In November 2008, I stated we were going to play a song by NWA. Stephen commented that “that’s an acronym for something isn’t it”, and I announced it was the radio edit – with the swear words removed. They are called NWA. It is an acronym. I know this isn’t racist, but the complainant has mentioned this in one of his videos, so I thought I’d mention it here.
November 2008, Stephen commented that a woman in the papers was a “WAG”. James commented you couldn’t be a “wife AND girlfriend..surely you’d be a wife OR girlfriend”. Having immediately realised why that new acronym wouldn’t be suitable, we ended this conversation. Naive possibly, funny I still think, but as we didn’t actually say anything racist, I (and Ofcom) think that is ok.
November 2008 again. According to the complainant’s videos, apparently our racism was “almost imperceptible” by this point.
As a talking point, we were asking listeners the following question:
“What have you stole, on your last day of leaving a job?”
We didn’t have any suggestions from listeners at the point we were talking, so James made some up. He said that a woman had contacted us to say she took a “black panther” home on her last day at the zoo. Stephen added that the Bronx Zoo was closing (a story he had misread from the paper – it was actually some small sections of it that were closing).
Apparently (and I’ve never been there, so wouldn’t know), 80% of the people living in the Bronx are black or hispanic. Panther, black, hispanic, closed, racist attack? It’s about the most tenuous calling-someone-a-racist I’ve ever heard.
The complainant has found a video recording from 26th February 2009, where Stephen comments that he voted for the BNP in the last election (no, not the one which resulted in a hung parliament – the one before that). The sound in our voices would tell anybody that this is a joke. Stephen even laughs and says “that was a joke” and “I voted Labour”.
To the casual observer, lumped in with a load of recordings of our daytime weekend shows, that possibly sounds like a bad subject to talk about on that station at that time of day.
What he hasn’t bothered to mention is that this wasn’t on our GlossFm shows. In fact it wasn’t on any radio shows, FM or otherwise. It was 9.30pm when we recorded the video, but it wasn’t broadcast anywhere. It was part of a behind-the-scenes video I stuck on YouTube.
I almost feel I should make a joke here, but it’ll probably only be misconstrued, and made into another 15 boring videos, intercut with stolen photographs, and a load of shit bands with songs about white power, or racism or something.
If anyone knows how to get videos removed from YouTube though, that’d be nice. Thanks for reading, and remember – I’m not a racist, and nor is Stephen or James.
Update: 16th June 2011, 11:25am. The videos in question now show: “This video has been removed by the user”. Maybe a series of radio features (and YouTube videos) I made in response, making fun of the guy, helped. Probably not.
He’s also removed a lot of the ones that weren’t related to me, which was good news for a fellow GlossFM radio presenter that he described as looking “like a serial killer”.
Update: 17th June 2011, 5pm(ish). Well that was short-lived. He’s re-uploaded a load of the videos that he’d removed, it seems – including the ones calling us racists, and the one describing me, Stephen and James as shamelessly “moonlighting”, as we were part of two voluntary organisations at the same time. No idea why they were removed, nor why they’re back. Oh well.
(Update: As of 29th November 2012, bjsproductions.co.uk is now known as parkandgardner.com.)