Over the past day, comedian Doug Stanhope has fallen out of favor with some UK media watchers. The reason is simple: he called Telegraph journalist Allison Pearson a “cunt” on his Facebook page. The details surrounding the name calling, however, are a bit more complicated.
In an editorial titled “Do any of us, however ill, have the right to die?” Pearson submits the case of Tony Nicklinson — a 53-year-old former engineer who is now paralyzed from the neck down, unable to perform the simplest of tasks (“I have no privacy or dignity left,” he says.) — in order to drive her thesis: despite what condition we’re in physically and despite our wishes, we should not call upon the government to actively allow us to die. Nicklinson wants just that– to die. And he wants to be dead now, and with the law’s blessing.
Stanhope wholly disagrees with Pearson’s opinion, and said as much on his Facebook page. “To fully understand my rage and upcoming vitriol you’ll first need to read this cunt “allisonpearson’s column,” adding the link to the Telegraph piece. And on Twitter, Stanhope writes (among other things) to Pearson, “I just went Christian just to pray you get a fetid ovarian cyst. Let me know if it works.”
Pearson quickly took to her own Twitter feed explaining that Stanhope had called her a name; she has since been getting tremendous support from her followers. This morning she tweeted,”I am investigating employers of Doug Stanhope and will be asking why they choose to hire vile misogynist [sic].” In another Tweet she asks for help writing her story: “If you know any other woman thus attacked let me know. Pls RT.”
If you’re familiar with Stanhope, you’ll know the comedian has some personally-influenced opinions about the right to die. In May of last year, he told me the story of his mother’s death, after years of struggling with disease. “My mother killed herself, and that was the single bravest thing I’ve ever seen anyone ever do,” Stanhope told me. “And it came from a scared woman. She had emphysema and was dying and drowning in her own fluids so she ate a shitload of morphine and said goodbye.”
The issue with Pearson is not over, especially since Stanhope has promised to tackle the subject onstage. He’s on tour in the UK through April 21.