BBC’s Harry and Paul racist sketch against Pinays

Whew! when will it ever stop? After the Desperate Housewives insult on Philippine medical schools and Filipino doctors, here comes another racist and insulting episode from the British Broadcasting Company’s Harry and Paul show.

The less than 1 minute sketch  packed racist and sexist insults on Filipina domestic helpers abroad.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… one may say that we are just too onion-skinned to be hurt and insulted by comedians who get their breaks by dishing out “jokes’ like this. I wouldn’t find it funny even if it were a British maid who was portrayed in the sketch… nor any other woman of any nationality. It is simply disgusting and of bad taste. What makes more painful for Filipina domestics in particular is that the sketch has turned the violence and sexual abuse the Filipinas suffer abroad into something that is comic.

Yes, we Filipinos are fond of making fun out of ourselves, our situation, our problems, our culture and we, too, are fond of making jokes about other people. We, too, have a thousand and one racist and sexist jokes. BUT that does not make this offense against Filipinas less grievous. To portray a Filipina maid as a sexual object and make her plight something to be laughed at is entirely a different thing.

I support Rep. Risa Hontiveros’ call for an apology from the BBC for this grave insult.

BBC apology demanded for ‘racist’ show

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 16:39:00 10/06/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) should apologize for airing a segment of a comedy show last month that was a “racist, humiliating, and disgusting” portrayal of a Filipina domestic helper, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives demanded Monday.

Akbayan partylist Representative Risa Hontiveros also asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a complaint against the British government so that the latter would “look into the issue and correct the sickening joke.”

Hontiveros was referring to a skit shown on “Harry and Paul” aired on BBC on September 26 that was also posted on
youtube at

In the skit, a postman approached comedian Harry Enfield, who was agitated and was shouting at someone, and asked him what was going on.

It turned out that the co-host Paul Whitehouse was seated on a chair on his lawn and beside him was a gyrating young girl in a grey uniform and an apron.

Harry then told the postman that he was shouting at his Filipino maid to do her job and get his friend Paul to mate with her.

He kept ordering the girl to gyrate and dance in front of Paul and even instructed her to “hump him.” When an indifferent Paul stood up to go inside the house, Harry scolded the Filipina telling her to get out.

The scene ended with the postman sidling up to the Filipina and whispering to her as they walked off together.

“It was revolting. It was a disgusting and insensitive and racist attempt to satirize a scene of exploitation,” Hontiveros said.

She added that the show “trivializes an act of abuse commonly experienced by Filipina workers abroad.”

“This has to be corrected, otherwise, it would become easy for other media outfits to use Filipina workers abroad as an object of sexual ridicule. …The media should be a partner against human trafficking and not an unwitting promoter of abuse because of insensitive and racist portrayals of women in trafficking,” she said.

(youtube video courtesy of thetrueasiatictribe)

13 Tugon

  1. I have just seen this and am appalled at the crass stupidity of the people involved in this sketch. I am English and by no means a prude or lacking in sense of humour, but i find this to be the work of sad, unfunny, unintelligent comedians who try to get a cheap laugh from stereotypes about whom they know nothing.

    Having worked in the Philippines over many years i find this insulting to a culture that i have the utmost respect for and for a people who have endured difficulties and sacrifices that people from the UK have had little or no understanding of for generations, merely from the fortunate occurence of their having been born in the UK.

    When i am in the UK i see a sad and somewhat pathetic culture or greed, ignorance and stupidity, shored up by an aura of arrogance that is misplaced and ill advised.

    Britons come from a proud background and i never thought that i would be appalled to admit where i come from but now i would rather not admit to the fact given our behaviour almost everywhere we go and our attitude towards the people we meet.

    I am sure that lots of people will suggest that it is only a bit of fun and that i am too uptight, but i cannot accept that and would love to get the two idiots that were involved in the sketch – Whitehouse and Enfield – to the Philippines and see how funny they think they are then

  2. what the hell is this? my goodness… Do u agree that British people are always insulting us being Filipino? we need to fight for this stupid hell of insulting. Our dignity being Filipino is getting lost and the best way for that is all Filipino workers in UK must be leave there and transferee in part of USA. If we can’t do that, we also make an insulting movie against them or let us have a war.

    what do u think guyz??

    • I m sure there are already plenty of Filipino TV programs making fun of white people.

      A war? Are you serious? Britain has nuclear weapons and USA backing.

  3. […] S3lv0 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptYeah, yeah, yeah… one may say that we are just too onion-skinned to be hurt and binsulted/b by comedians who get their breaks by dishing out “jokes’ like this. I wouldn’t find it bfunny/b even if it was a British maid was portrayed in the b…/b […]

  4. Hi, I’m English and know of this program.
    The problem is that you haven’t got the joke. I appreciate that British humour can be hard to grasp for people not from the UK.

    The target of the joke is the middle class white guy, the scenario highlights his naive ignorance and inherent racism. The main candidate for the racism is actually the Northern guy _not_ the Filipino maid, she could easily be replaced by any other nationality, she isn’t the point.
    The joke is that the middle class white guy is treating his northerner as his pet and doesn’t realise how terrible his actions are.

    Note that British humour inherently pokes fun out of British people themselves. I encourage you to watch things like The Office, Brass Eye and Peep Show. The point of these shows is to follow an inherently flawed character and to laugh at them.

    I also encourage you to visit the UK, we have one of the most multi-cultural capitals and aside from the odd ignorant bastard we are very ANTI-racism. Racism is actually a bit of a public taboo in the UK these days, being racist is utterly unacceptable in most social circles here.

    *****Whether the Filipina maid portrayed in the sketch is the target of the joke or not is not the point. The reality that our overseas Filipino workers are subjects of discrmination, stereotypes, physical, psychological and sexual abuse is a sensitive issue to us Filipinos. That reality is not funny. The issue here is not about how complex British humor is.*****

    • “The problem is that you haven’t got the joke. I appreciate that British humour can be hard to grasp for people not from the UK.”

      Indeed-lost in translation. Pinoys should not be watching it, stick to the banana skin jokes in our own culture. Irony is wasted here.

      By the way, my ex GF was a dancer, then a maid so tho it maybe a stereotype Pinoys dont like the world to know, it is the ugly truth sometimes.

  5. i read this news and am sorry but i have to agree on what jax said that the laugh is more about the ignorance of that white guy.

    napinpoint nga lang ulit ang sad plight ng mga pinoy maids na dapat pag-ukulan talaga ng pansin ng mga tao sa gobyerno sa atin. Kapag nakuha nila ang apology, anong gagawin nila para ma-ayos ang lagay ng mga OFWs?

    hi selvi, muntik na ako ma hack kaya log off muna ako sa YM 🙂

  6. minsan dapat natin harapin ang katotohanan..pero pag wala naman mag reklamo baka umabuso…..peace

  7. […] BBC’s Harry and Paul racist sketch against Pinays « Nomadic Thoughts The less than 1 minute sketch packed racist and sexist insults on Filipina domestic helpers abroad. … (youtube video courtesy of thetrueasiatictribe) … – 32k – Naka-cache – Mga katulad na webpage […]

  8. Upakan nalang!ano? brits my azzz.

  9. sorry, but replacing the filipina in the skit with any other nationality only shows that british “humor” is very much capable of looking down on other nationalities 😦

    and the “point” of any skit, paper, movie, etc. isn’t what is intended by the author/director, it’s what actually hits the reader/viewer.

    • maybe should have said “foreign maid”? Then it showed the man does not like foreigners.

      Only because the word “Filipina” was used did it come on the radar of 1000 over sensitive Pinoys with child psychology.


  10. The sketch was about racism not promoting it.

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