Skip to main content

Home News News World

Rosie Jones hits back at ableist abuse following Question Time appearance

The comedian says she isn't surprised by the abuse, but it's not going to stop her.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Attitude

The comedian, Rosie Jones, says she will “keep speaking up” despite receiving a horrendous amount of abuse on social media after she appeared on the BBC’s Question Time.

The episode of the discussion show aired on Thursday (7 September) which also featured alongside Jones, 31, the UK Government’s education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, LBC’s Nick Ferrari, and NFU president Minette Batters.

Jones, who has Ataxic cerebral palsy, which affects speech and mobility, won the Comedy Award at the 2020 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar, and has also appeared on other TV shows such as 8 our of 10 Cats and The Last Leg.

“The sad thing is that I’m not surprised”

Posting on Twitter on Friday (8 September) morning Jones, who identifies as a gay woman, said: “The sad thing is that I’m not surprised at the ableist abuse I’ve received tonight regarding my appearance on Question Time. It’s indicative of the country we live in right now.

“I will keep on speaking up, in my wonderful voice, for what I believe in,” she added.

During her appearance on the show, Rosie was unflinching in her appraisal of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, which took place in Manchester earlier this week (3-6 October)

At one point she said: “I watched Boris’ speech yesterday and he talked a hell of a lot, but I didn’t hear anything.” She added that “it was all visions,” and that right now, that’s not what the country needs.

She says she found his speech “quite scary,” comparing it to one of former President Trump’s speeches.

She continued: “He was able to excite everyone with his slogans, but when you listen to what he said he said nothing, and the fact that he’s saying these supply chain issues and shortages are part of a plan is frankly insulting to millions of people who will be facing a winter of hardship because of these cuts and shortages,” which was met with a huge round of applause from the studio audience. 

In another moment she discussed violence against women and said many minorities -including – women, disabled, LGBTQ or person of colour – don’t feel safe in the UK. into  “The fact is right now in the UK they don’t feel safe at home, at night, and that is a scary place to live in”

Sadly, Rosie was then subjected to abuse online with people joking about her disability. However, many fans were quick to defend Rosie, with some also thanking her for the representation she provided as well as encouraging her to keep going.

Speaking to Attitude as she was given the Comedy Award at last year’s Attitude Awards, Rosie was determined to improve representation for everyone on screen. 

“Growing up, I never saw someone disabled on telly. Although I had a happy childhood, in terms of the media, I never felt valid. I wanted to change that. I wanted somebody to tell my story,” she explains. “As I got older, I thought, no one can tell my story apart from me.”

She added: “I fight for all minorities, and I still think we’ve got a problem of intersectionality. I feel like I’m the only disabled, gay woman going, ‘Hello, we’re here,’” she adds. I want to be present and in the media, so that if a little disabled girl out there is going, ‘Why do I want to kiss girls?’ They can turn on the telly and go, ‘Oh, it’s OK.’”

The Attitude Awards issue is out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.