Monday 20 November 2017

Little Britain star Matt Lucas quits Twitter after teen’s jibes about dead lover

Happier times: Matt Lucas and his former partner Kevin McGee, who took his own life in 2009
Happier times: Matt Lucas and his former partner Kevin McGee, who took his own life in 2009

Tim Stewart

COMEDIAN Matt Lucas has quit Twitter in disgust after a Northern Ireland teenager apparently made fun of his ex-partner’s suicide.

The Little Britain star (37) announced his decision in a final message to his 566,200 followers after the 16-year-old tweeted a joke about Kevin McGee.

The message compared the death of McGee — who hanged himself in October 2009 — to that of TV presenter Mark Speight who also killed himself.

McGee was found dead 10 months after divorcing Lucas. The pair had been married for 18 months in a civil partnership.

The TV producer killed himself after posting a suicide note on Facebook, which read: ‘Kevin McGee thinks that death is much better than life’.

The teenager at the centre of the row was listed on Twitter as being from a village in Co Antrim although his account has now been deleted from the networking site.

The jibe was posted on Friday night, prompting a furious Lucas to write back: “Shame on you.”

The schoolboy tweeted a ‘wink’, to which Lucas wrote: “I'm not joking. I think you should delete that tweet. It really upset me.”

In a general posting to his followers, he added his disappointment that the teen “thinks jokes about the suicide of my former partner are funny”.

The Co Antrim boy apologised and denied sending the tweet.

“I only put it up as a joke for my friends to see,” he said.

But shortly afterwards the comedian announced he would be closing his Twitter account.

He said: “I appreciate all the support on here over the past couple of years but it's time to shut down my Twitter account. Xx.”

Lucas was a regular tweeter and the exchanges sparked a flurry of messages from fans who urged him not to quit the site.

Fans launched a series of attacks on the teenager with one calling the comments “heartless and cruel”.

A short time later, a separate website carried a lengthy apology which it said had been emailed by the Co Antrim tweeter.

“Matt, if you’re reading this, I truly am sorry,” the statement said.

Broadcaster Richard Madeley was among those who tweeted advice to Lucas after the hurtful comments.

“If you get abusive tweets, you know the sender is inadequate, sexually incompetent and has a jealously complex. Tweet them that and then block ’em,” he wrote.

It is far from the first time a celebrity has threatened to leave Twitter after suffering abuse.

QI host Stephen Fry — one of showbiz’s most prolific tweeters with almost four million followers — has also threatened to quit the site in the past after taking offence at abusive tweets.

Matt Lucas is a comedian, screenwriter and actor best known for his acclaimed work with David Walliams in the television show Little Britain. He first rose to prominence in the 1990s in his role as George Dawes alongside comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer in their comedy panel game Shooting Stars. He entered into a civil partnership with Kevin McGee in December 2006 but the relationship broke down 18 months later.

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