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Comic Boyle sues Mirror for libel
Comedian Frankie Boyle has defended his right to use offensive words when "ridiculing" racism after suing a tabloid newspaper for libel damages.
Lawyers for Mr Boyle told a High Court jury that a Daily Mirror article which started with the words "Racist comedian Frankie Boyle" was defamatory.
They said Mr Boyle "actively campaigned" against racism and complained that the newspaper had "misunderstood" the context of the comedian's language.
But Daily Mirror publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) is defending its article - published on July 19, 2011 - at a trial in London expected to last a week.
MGN lawyers said Mr Boyle was a "racist comedian" who gratuitously exploited negative stereotypes of black people for "cheap laughs".
But Mr Boyle's barrister David Sherborne said the comedian was ridiculing racists when telling jokes - and expressing views of people he detests.
He gave jurors an example of a joke about Britain's involvement in foreign conflicts in which Mr Boyle answered a phone and said, "Department of N***** Bombing".
Mr Sherborne said "context is everything" and argued that Mr Boyle had "clearly" not used the word "n*****" gratuitously.
"We say the use of the word is clear," said Mr Sherborne. "The defendants have misunderstood it."
He added: "Surely we have not got to the stage where we cannot use the word at all."