Families outraged by “vulgar” comedian at first-ever Rhondda Pride

Pride Cymru 2019: Students marching in the Welsh capital to celebrate diversity. Source: Ren Skalka (via Flickr)

by Olly Davies

On Saturday 14 September, the Welsh village of Treorchy hosted their first-ever Rhondda Pride event. However, the event has since been criticised over the content in female comic Deborah Jones’ set. The organisers billed the act, stage name Just Deb, as “Wales’s number one female comedian who is both filthy and gorgeous.”

Just Deb, a regular in clubs across South Wales, failed to impress audiences with “her vulgar verbal pornography and expletives”, as described by Kris Davies. Others in attendance of Rhondda Pride were left feeling uncomfortable by jokes denounced, in Gavin Jones’ complaint to the event organisers, as “a barrage of racist, sexist and most of all paedophilic rants at 10-year-old children”. 

The audience were repeatedly reminded that the acts would cease being child-friendly after 6pm; Just Deb was the first act following this watershed. Despite the warning, children were still in attendance at this time. Event organisers told Just Deb “just do [her] usual act because [the event] was no longer family-friendly.”

Comments on social media have alleged these were some of the jokes made during the act:

Speaking to a security guard in the crowd, she allegedly said, “Oh look. Another Muslim security guard. Hello ‘Abdul’. Made any curry lately?” and she has also been accused of asking a 10-year-old girl her age and then saying, “Oh six years is all I have to wait. Six years and you’re mine. What school do you go to? I’ll wait outside.”

In response to these allegations, Just Deb initially spoke out on Facebook and said, “im not racist and definately not paedophlic [sic]. I did what the organisers asked of me.”

The comedian further elaborated, “Yes i called someone Abdul but also called someone Simon and Debbie does that make me rasicist i think not [sic]. 

“I am far from homophobic ive stood on picket lines and lobbying for Gay rights for 30 years [sic].

Speaking to The Times, Deb said, “I might have said some things that are not politically correct but that’s my show and the organisers were adamant I did that show even though I protested [that there were] some children still left…I am very sorry if I have offended people but on the day no complaints were made and everyone enjoyed it.”

In a public apology issued on Facebook, the Rhondda Pride event organisers said, “unfortunately no one has the power to control what any of their acts do onstage and if anything inappropriate was said or happened then we apologise for any offence” and reiterated that they had made it clear the event was not family-friendly after 6pm.

Jo-ann Banner, on Facebook, commented, “the fact ‘after 6pm’ events were broadcast on loudspeakers into a public space outside the local supermarket and railway station which are open to all [is the issue]…Additionally, thought must be given to the local residents who were subjected to listen to the broadcast of foul language and obscenities

“I walked off the train, went to Coop and then walked home and the language I heard in that 15 mins was disgusting!…Copious F-words and a reference to someonw having “massive t*ts” that the female presenter wanted to “shove loads of f-ing money down [sic].”

The event organisers insisted, “we didn’t have any loudspeakers. We had a small PA system from a kids’ party DJ. Our actual PA system got cancelled the night before.”

Gair Rhydd has contacted Rhondda Pride for any further responses and has not received a response.

This is not the first time Rhondda Pride has faced criticism this summer. In their initial attempts to make the event family-friendly, an event organiser “stipulated that non-family-friendly factions would not be allowed to attend the event.” This decision was met with hostility, especially by Leathermen Cymru. After issuing a public apology, they requested attendees did not wear ‘kinkwear’. 

The Rhondda Pride organisers have apologised “for any offence caused by Just Deb”. In a statement, they said, “We will ensure that steps are taken next year to ensure that these problems do not happen again.”

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