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Olympic medallist Louis Smith banned for 'mocking Islam'

(149 Posts)
WalrusGumboot Tue 01-Nov-16 14:20:44

I find this extremely worrying. I hope the ban is overturned. Freedom of speech should be defended and I think it's shameful that British Gymnastics are not being more supportive of Louis.

WalrusGumboot Tue 01-Nov-16 14:21:17

Sorry about the link I'm on my phone blush

RortyCrankle Tue 01-Nov-16 14:26:25

I wonder if they would have done the same if it had been Christianity and not Islam? I am guessing not.

Garthmarenghi Tue 01-Nov-16 14:32:39

Wow. What a worrying move.

joshlymanlover Tue 01-Nov-16 14:34:45

Awful move. Very worrying

WalrusGumboot Tue 01-Nov-16 14:36:48

Of course they wouldn't Rorty and that's the worst part. This is sending the wrong message completely.

MorrisZapp Tue 01-Nov-16 14:39:04

Shall we ban people who guffaw at Father Ted?

Bloody shameful.

draculasteabag Tue 01-Nov-16 14:39:43

I don't think you are allowed to mess round with Islam. You can with other religions though. Probably they are afraid of attacks from Islamic extremists, which is possible.

DiegeticMuch Tue 01-Nov-16 14:42:14

Terrible decision. Can religion, which a growing number of people regard as superstition, really not be mocked any more?

WalrusGumboot Tue 01-Nov-16 14:44:26

If we go down that road Dracula, the whole world will be Muslim one day.

I can't believe this is not bigger news actually. It's far more important than just a sport headline.

everdene Tue 01-Nov-16 14:59:43

This is in no way comparable to Father Ted, which was written and acted by Catholics as satire.

In what way is mocking how Muslims pray comedic? He was just being a pissed up idiot. I think it's right he's been banned, how is he supposed to represent GB on a world stage when he's laughing at other cultures? I'm not a Muslim but surely part of being an ambassador for GB is being respectful about other people's cultures.

Plus the whole 'going to meet the community you've offended and being photographed smiling at them' is such a weaselly way of trying to dodge responsibility for being offensive.

derxa Tue 01-Nov-16 15:02:06


draculasteabag Tue 01-Nov-16 15:32:28

Plus the whole 'going to meet the community you've offended and being photographed smiling at them
I a lot of celebrities who have been offensive do this. It's nothing new.

everdene Tue 01-Nov-16 15:40:55

Exactly Dracula, it's a tired old trope from people whose management are desperately trying to limit damage rather than get them to engage with whatever it is they are supposed to have done.

WalrusGumboot Tue 01-Nov-16 16:35:09

But Everdene, would you think the same if someone who mocked Christianity? Or Scientology?

everdene Tue 01-Nov-16 18:04:09

I do feel mocking Christianity is different, and I am a Christian.

This century, Christians weren't a minority in Britain, so any mocking came from a position of power.

However, Muslims are a minority in the U.K. and one that is frequently the subject of dog-whistle racism and physical and verbal attacks. So Muslims being mocked by someone who isn't Muslim is just an imbalanced attack. I'm not saying any religion should be beyond satire or ridicule, but there is no humour or wit in what Louis Smith did. When comedians mock or pierce religion it is different as there is unless you're Bernard Manning social comment and satire to go alongside it.

I think people should be respectful of anyone's differing views.

yeOldeTrout Tue 01-Nov-16 18:08:11

hold on guys, it's only a 2 month suspension. I haven't seen the video so I can't comment on that, but apparently this is the 3rd time he's been reprimanded for unbefitting conduct; the 2 months was because this is a 3rd offence in a short time, not a direct response to this incident. He'll apologise & we can all move on.

missyB1 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:16:34

Ok so the ban was a cumulative punishment as he had been guilty of various misdemeanours including posting a picture of a 16 year old girl on social media with an offensive comment about her. And he questioned the judging when he didn't get gold at the British championships - poor loser.

He sounds like an idiot.

lougle Tue 01-Nov-16 20:23:18

He's been banned for two months while taking a career break from gymnastics. It's a non-punishment.

EnthusiasmDisturbed Tue 01-Nov-16 23:43:53

Of course he shouldn't have been banned

All he needed to do was apologise if he had offended anyone

I saw him on the news attending a mosque it was reported that he has had death treats. He apologised to a group attending the mosque but nothing more was mentioned about any threats towards him and these will have not be taken seriously

It's a ridiculous situation that we fear the retaliation and backlash but not surprising but then the press and some in politics point their finger at all Muslims and demand they apologise for anything another Muslim has done

Of course all religion should be open to ridicule and that shouldn't just be for a few that can make it amusing for it not to be is a dangerous slippery slope that we are sliding down

ReallyTired Wed 02-Nov-16 00:06:15

I think that British Gymnastics has got the punishment right. Louis Smith is banned from doing any gym for two months as British gymnastics provides insurance for almost every gym club in the country. There is a difference between a break from competition and gymnastics training itself.

My daughter and many other children look up to these gymnastics stars. For years the parents of recreational gymnasts have subsidised the training costs of elite gymnasts. As a parent I expect an Olympic star to set an example of how to behave. Louis Smith would not be where he is today without the fees of non elite gymnasts subsidising the squad children.

At twenty seven years old Louis Smith should know better than to mock the way someone prays. It boarders on racism. Its not a discourse on ideas that someone had the right to disagree with. He was being a prat.

JenLindleyShitMom Wed 02-Nov-16 00:19:51

I agree with reallytired. He didn't learn his lesson the first two times he misbehaved, a two month ban sounds about right to get the message through to him. I don't think it's harsh. He sounds like he is or is becoming a right arsehole. My sons' gym is covered by British Gymnastics, these children do look at Louis and co as an "I want to be like..." role model. My youngest literally says those words whilst watching them perform. If Louis is representing then I'd rather her was representing with something I'd Be proud of my sons for emulating.

CondyLisa Wed 02-Nov-16 04:07:52

"Ok so the ban was a cumulative punishment as he had been guilty of various misdemeanours including posting a picture of a 16 year old girl on social media with an offensive comment about her."

It wasn't an offensive comment, it was "my sport has its moments" with a rear view of a gymnast at the 2004 Olympics

And the 'girl' is actually a year older than him (though it was an old photo).

MaryTheCanary Wed 02-Nov-16 04:29:31

Cumulative ban still implies that he was doing something worthy of punishment. He was not.

He may be a bit of a prat, but we can't start having rules that say that "Stylishly written mockery is OK but unsophisticated mockery isn't."

And we also can't start having rules that say "You're allowed to mock institutions that are seen as privileged in some way, but you're not allowed to mock institutions associated with groups who are seen as being less privileged."

Because if you do, we will get drawn into a ridiculous game of Oppression Olympics where everyone is trying to claim victimhood status for some reason or other. Christians or Catholics could quite easily claim victimhood status if they wanted to--because they are minority groups, because Christians get made fun of a lot, because Christians are the most persecuted religious minority at the worldwide level....

Either we defend free speech or we don't. Otherwise we are on a slippery slope to a (one-sided) de facto blasphemy law.

It's also not quite clear how much awaited/hope-for/talked-about "reformation of Islam" is going to come about if this particular religion keeps being bubble-wrapped from criticism. The enlightenment of attitudes towards religion in the West largely came about because Christianity was subjected to mockery, argument and criticism--from Charles Darwin to Father Ted.

Pluto30 Wed 02-Nov-16 04:38:20

I can't believe people can't see the difference between mocking a religion and mocking its adherents.

Mocking Islam is not mocking Muslims.

Just as mocking Christianity is not mocking Joe and Jill down the street who have been dedicated church-goers since 1954.

To mock the prayer is to mock the religion, not the adherents. A religion that demands people pray in a specific way five times daily, whilst also demanding that men and women be separate, and that menstruating women do not take part, is worthy of criticism.

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