Footballer Jason Lee accuses David Baddiel of a ‘whole new layer’ of racist abuse with blackface

Footballer Jason Lee accuses David Baddiel of inflicting a ‘whole new layer’ of racist abuse on him by ‘blacking up’ for ‘pineapple on his head’ sketches on BBC’s Fantasy Football League in 90s

Footballer Jason Lee has said that David Baddiel doing blackface while impersonating him on his 1990s show Football Fantasy League added ‘a whole new layer’ of racist abuse to what he already experienced as a black player.

Former Nottingham Forest striker Lee, 51, said he still receives abuse 25 years after Baddiel’s sketches ridiculing him, including one in which the comedian wore blackface and others where he wore a pineapple on his head. 

The BBC show saw Baddiel and co-host Frank Skinner mock footballers and managers, but Skinner has since admitted their repeated targeting of Lee amounted to ‘a bullying campaign’.

Former Nottingham Forest striker Jason Lee said he still receives abuse 25 years after Baddiel's sketches ridiculing him

Former Nottingham Forest striker Jason Lee said he still receives abuse 25 years after Baddiel’s sketches ridiculing him

Lee told the Times today: ‘Before Baddiel, I was receiving abuse for my skin colour or ‘You’re not good enough’. I was desensitised to most abuse.’ 

‘But the situation with Baddiel was a whole new layer of abuse. Baddiel Blacked up.’

Lee said that it was not just Baddiel at fault and that the BBC should have stepped in. 

‘So many people were complicit. BBC2. It’s selling, it’s popular, we are all getting paid. It’s working. He wasn’t held to account,’ he said.

David Baddiel did blackface while impersonating Jason Lee on his 1990s show Football Fantasy League

David Baddiel did blackface while impersonating Jason Lee on his 1990s show Football Fantasy League

As well as wearing blackface, Baddiel would portray Lee as dim-witted and wear a pineapple on top of his head to imitate his hairstyle.

This led to football fans starting a chant ‘He’s got a pineapple on his head’, which Lee said meant he had to stop his family from attending matches.

The player said the abuse ‘traumatised’ his children, adding: ‘To be a parent and witness your son go through that, to go to a stadium and listen to people abuse your child must be difficult.’

It comes after Lee and Baddiel shared a frosty encounter as part of the Jewish comedian’s new Channel 4 documentary, Jews Don’t Count, which explores antisemitism in society.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain last week, Baddiel said: 'I shamefully impersonated Jason Lee in Blackface 25 years ago on Fantasy Football

Speaking on Good Morning Britain last week, Baddiel said: ‘I shamefully impersonated Jason Lee in Blackface 25 years ago on Fantasy Football

Speaking on Good Morning Britain last week, Baddiel said: ‘I shamefully impersonated Jason Lee in Blackface 25 years ago on Fantasy Football, and I felt that it was important, if I’m going to do a documentary about Jewish representation and minorities, that I should go and meet Jason and apologise and talk to him,’ he said.

‘At the end of the conversation, he talked passionately about how he’d like to stand up for Jews and fight antisemitism in football.’

But Lee said that while the meeting was ‘long overdue’, he suspects the timing of it has something to do with Baddiel ‘being back in the public eye’. 

‘I’ve never seen him before until he walked in,’ he said. ‘Timing is everything. He’s back in the public eye again… I understand fully he’s used this situation mostly to benefit the documentary. To move forward he needed to address this situation.

BBC show saw Baddiel and co-host Frank Skinner (centre) mock footballers and managers, but Skinner has since admitted their repeated targeting of Lee amounted to 'a bullying campaign'

BBC show saw Baddiel and co-host Frank Skinner (centre) mock footballers and managers, but Skinner has since admitted their repeated targeting of Lee amounted to ‘a bullying campaign’

‘With Baddiel, I wasn’t happy you’re making me out to be a clown, you’re trying to demean what I’m doing, and I’m not going to let it happen… I’m not a clown. I was violated on so many levels in those sketches. I felt I should be getting royalties I was on that show so often.’

He continued: ‘They were basically saying I was s*** in the programme. Then Baddiel comes in and tries to spin it and say, ‘I knew you were a brilliant player, blah, blah, blah.’

‘He’s highly intelligent but how people process things in their mind is incredibly complex. He may not see the importance or relevance of blacking up but he would fully understand how it felt to be abused as a Jewish person. It’s now happening to him, the realisation: this is how I feel, that’s how Jason feels.’

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