Russell Kane is a sexist bully
Russell Kane, on Thursday night, was featured in a BBC Comedy Festival special from Edinburgh. In his short set, he said that women ‘moan’ about getting unwanted male attention but then ‘put a short skirt and makeup on’, implied that he has considered sleeping with vulnerable women with low self-esteem to make himself feel better, asked an audience to feel sympathy for ‘desperate, rapey gits’, and joked about putting women in vans and chasing women with limps in order to have sex with or rape them.
Some people may find this hard to believe. Russell Kane’s stand-up used to be gentle, thoughtful, even funny. But with his new image seems to have come a new, misogynistic persona. Put him away and get the old Russell back, please.
I found this routine pretty disgusting in its casual use of misogynistic attitudes, and makes light of women being harassed, followed home and threatened. Shouting ‘get in the van!’ or ‘chase her! She’s got a limp!’ at a woman can’t be construed as anything other than making light of kidnap, stalking, rape, sexual abuse and harassment – all very real threats that women have to face every day. Russell Kane, a male stand-up comedian, thinks he has the right to joke about the experiences that have plagued mine and millions of other women’s lives, all in the name of a cheap laugh.
Some might say that because he is also mocking men, that the routine isn’t sexist. Of course it is sexist – against both men and women. Men are not feral creatures, only after a shag. They’re people. Women aren’t virgins or whores. They’re people.
The fact that because he’s been single for a while (either in his comedy persona or in reality), apparently makes Kane thinks it’s okay to create humour out of horrific situations. He was mocking the weakest of the weak – rape victims, women with physical disabilities, people who are emotionally broken – and this makes him no better than people like Jeremy Clarkson or Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown. He is a bully. I hope women know better than to go out with him. I’ve been out with men like him before – they grind your self-esteem down so that you’ll stay with them. They’re pathetic misogynists. Find someone who wants you for you, who treats you with respect, and who is a big enough person to tell when they’ve made a mistake.
I already though Russell Kane was a bully, even before I took to Twitter to express my outrage.
I tweeted, ‘Just watched some pretty disgusting stand up from Russell Kane. Apparently if you don’t want to be perved on, don’t wear makeup… and we should feel sorry for ‘rapey’ men who harass insecure women… Kidnap, rape, all hilarious subjects obviously…’
I then tweeted Kane with my concerns, thinking that perhaps he might apologise and think more about how his material affects people. I said, ‘I saw you live two years ago. I was a fan. Then I watched your routine on Edinburgh Comedy Fest Live. That was disgusting… Even as a joke, telling women that if they wear makeup they deserve to get perved on is sick… As is making an audience feel sorry for ‘desperate, rapey gits’. Rape and sexual harassment are disgusting… Did you think that up to 1 in 4 women watching this show are rape survivors/victims? How do you think you make us feel?’
His response? To call me a ‘thick cunt’, a ‘reactionary weak fuck’, ‘INSANE’, a ‘tiny person’ and, perhaps the most insulting, he said that I ‘fellate the right and kowtow to it.’
Great response – call a woman feminist who criticises your comedy, fairly politely, a thick cunt, because that’s not misogynistic. Make a joke about blowjobs, because that’ll improve your feminist credentials!
Perhaps most laughably of all, he said to me, ‘Do you understand misogyny?’ and claimed his set was ‘creatively feminist’. If creatively feminist means ‘massively sexist’ then I suppose it was creatively feminist. And how dare he, as a powerful white man, ask a woman who’s been taking shit from boys and men for her whole life, if she understands misogyny.
Yes, I understand misogyny. It sickens me. Russell Kane, on the other hand, uses it to bully, to reinforce stereotypes, to ‘kowtow’ (a word he likes) to rape culture and to have a good laugh at rape victims’ expense.
I want him to donate his fee to Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Assault Centre and to publicly apologise. Anything less is insulting.