Frank Skinner “deeply ashamed” of ’90s blackface Jason Lee sketch

"I still don’t know why one or both of us... or someone there didn’t say what the fuck is happening?”

Frank Skinner has said he is “deeply ashamed” of the ’90s sketch which saw him impersonate footballer Jason Lee in blackface.

The comedian hosted Fantasy Football League from 1994 to 1996 alongside David Baddiel, and used a pineapple to mock Lee’s hairstyle in one sketch while Baddiel donned blackface in another.

“It was bad, yeah,” Skinned said in a recent interview with The Guardian. “I spoke to Dave about it recently, from a how-the-fuck-did-that-ever-happen point of view. I still don’t know how it happened.

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“I know why we took the piss out of him, because I’d watched him on Match Of The Day missing several goals, so a sketch about him being unable to put a piece of paper into a bin worked. But when Dave walked out from makeup [in blackface] that night, I still don’t know why one or both of us …. or someone there didn’t say what the fuck is happening?”

Skinner continued, reflecting on the response: “I can’t look back on it now without seeing it as bullying. There was a big response to it. People started to send in loads of pictures of pineapples, and so it ran and ran and ran.

“Looking back, it was a bullying campaign. And it’s awful. And yeah, I’m ashamed of it. And we’ve said that to each other without any Guardian journalist to impress. It wouldn’t be too much to say we’re both deeply ashamed.”

Back in 2020, Lee had said he never received an apology from Skinner and Baddiel for the sketch.

In the interview, Frank Skinner added: “We’ve never done the big public apology. Something doesn’t sit well with me. They look a bit like union card apologies: ‘I just need to keep working; I’ll apologise for anything, just let me keep working.’ I didn’t want to be part of that.”

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