Which is Worse: Calling Someone Thin-skinned or Wishing Them Dead?

Jo Brand is a British comedian. Her repertoire of jokes includes this gem:

The way to a man’s heart is through his hanky pocket with a breadknife.

This quip of hers is widely repeated on the Internet,  as an example of her (ahem) sharp wit. More recently, when asked in an interview

So, let’s start with this, describe the perfect man.

she responded

A dead one.

What repercussions did these remarks have on her career? As far as I can tell, no negative effect whatsoever. They got laughs, not outrage. There was no media criticism of her man-hating remarks. Her Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention them.

On the other hand…

Tim Hunt is a British biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in 2001. He recently said,

Three things happen when girls are in the lab – you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.

This remark provoked widespread condemnation and a media frenzy that resulted in Hunt having to resign his position. There is an entire section of his Wikipedia page devoted to the controversy.

The double standard couldn’t be clearer.


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