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'We have been suffering from political correctness gone mad for years now' - Pat Shortt

Comedian and actor hits out at moves to remove iconic shows and movies


Pat Shortt. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Pat Shortt. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Pat Shortt. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Funnyman Pat Shortt has hit out at efforts to take the `Chinese racist' Father Ted episode and other shows off the air in response to the Black Lives Matter campaign.

"We have been suffering from political correctness gone mad for years now and when it gets really heightened, people should take a deep breath and sit back a little bit and not being stupid and taking life too seriously," Pat told the Sunday World.

Comic Pat had a recurring part on Father Ted playing `Tom' a gun-totting local who wore a t-shirt with the slogan, `I shot JR.'

And he also praised RTE for confirming it will not remove the controversial Father Ted episode from its schedules.

"We are all a bit baffled about the Father Ted one in particular, and fair play to RTE if they're not taking it down or doing anything like that, they're dead right," he said.

"They're not giving in to this mass hysteria, its ridiculous. "People just need to chill out, relax, sit back, take a deep breath and don't overreact to things and get caught up in the hysteria of these things and pulling statues down and all that carry on." The Father Ted episode in question features a group of Chinese tourists visiting Craggy Island, with Ted waving at them through the window but looks like he's doing a Nazi salute, while a piece of dirt on the glass also gives him a Hitler-style moustache.

"Oh, `I believe you're a racist now Father?'," chuckles Pat when asked about the episode and quotes a memorable comment about Dermot Morgan's character.

"I think that line sums it up in a way, it's a joke. Look, I knew Dermot very, very well, Arthur and Graham (the writers), all the people involved. There isn't a racist bone in their body, that was a joke.

"A lot of visual humour and visual gags. I don't think Father Ted has any case to call whatsoever, not just because I was involved in it and all the rest, but I don't see where there's racist humour in that one, it shows it for fun, for what it is.

"I think people are too sensitive." Tipperary man Pat (52), who also found fame as part of the D'Unbelievables and in Killanaskully he played mischief-making truck driver Tom from the mid 1990s. "He was a great character, I enjoyed playing him," he smiles. But the storm over several TV programmes and movies which has erupted in recent days grates with the comedian.

"I've been kind of busy in the last while and I picked up bits and pieces about Little Britain and Gone With The Wind and a few things like that," he explains.

"I don't understand what the fuss about Gone With The Wind is, I'm kind of baffled on that one."

He adds: "Father Ted is harmless fun. Look, you're not talking 1970s' humour, which was like On The Buses and all that kind of stuff, which were blatantly sexist and some of it probably racist.

"I think a really, really good example of it, is Ashes To Ashes, that programme, where your woman goes back in the '70s working in the cops and they're blatantly sexist and it shows up that for what it was of that era and that time.

"We have moved on."

The current crisis was sparked by the killing of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis by a white police officer, who has since been charged with murder. The killing has sparked protests in America, which has also seem similar worldwide demonstrations, including in Ireland.

Several `racist' statues have also been targeted. "When Black Lives Matter and all these things happen, it heightens everything and then people start looking at every miniscule and every minute detail and sometimes there is a case to answer but in some cases it's completely taken away with the whole thing," observes Pat. "I think it's an overreaction and people should pull back and see things for what they are and see what the root problems are."

via Sunday World

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