Lee Mack has been slammed by a stuttering charity after he ‘ridiculed’ and mimicked the speech impediment on the TV panel show, Would I Lie To You?
The 54-year-old comedian’s actions were branded ‘thoughtless’ by STAMMA, the British Stammering Association, after he mocked his co-star Rob Brydon when he stumbled on the word, ‘She,’ during Friday’s episode of the BBC programme.
He proceeded to compare the host to Ronnie Barker’s character Arkwright from the 1970s and 80s sitcom, Open All Hours, who was depicted as having a stutter for comedic effect.
‘What is she? What is she, Rob?’ Lee joked before adding, ‘The suspense is killing me.’
By this point, the audience had erupted into laughter and continued to cackle as he repeated, ‘She,’ seven times while squinting his eyes.
EXCLUSIVE: Lee Mack has been slammed by a stuttering charity after he ‘ridiculed’ and mimicked the speech impediment on the TV panel show, Would I Lie To You?
‘Are you auditioning for Open All Hours?’ he continued as Rob attempted to finish his own sentence.
Lee then repeated, ‘She,’ four times more, much to the amusement of the crowd and his fellow panellists.
It is unclear whether Rob has a stutter, himself.
Following the broadcast, STAMMA issued the following statement to MailOnline: ‘It was disheartening to see Lee Mack and the Would I Lie to You crew mock stammering on Friday night’s show.
‘Around 8% of kids and at least 1% of adults stammer. This is our voice, it’s how we talk. The thoughtless ridicule we saw on WILTY offers us a stark choice between being laughed at or being silent.
‘We know it wasn’t meant to hurt or offend, but for many who stammer, it does.
‘To all those adults and teens out there who stammer, and all those parents who have kids who stammer, know that there are many people who accept that stammering is simply the way some of us talk. Who make space and time for us in conversation and value our fabulous, stammered voices.’
Shocking: The 54-year-old comedian’s actions were branded ‘thoughtless’ by STAMMA, the British Stammering Association, after he mocked co-star Rob Brydon in the BBC programme
On-air: Rob had stumbled on the word, ‘She,’ during Friday’s installment
CEO Jane Powell added, ‘Stammering isn’t a joke, and this isn’t the 70s.
‘Thousands of people who love WILTY – and who stammer – will have watched the show on Friday, and felt uncomfortable and embarrassed watching Lee Mack mock how they talk. It’s a shame the BBC didn’t see that this was worth editing out.’
MailOnline has contacted Lee’s representatives and the BBC for comment.
Various theories have emerged about the cause of stuttering, including that it’s a genetic condition or caused by volatile family dynamics.
A 2017 study conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles posited stuttering was linked to limited blood flow to the region of the frontal lobe linked to speech.
The more severe the stutter, the more limited the blood flow in this region is.
In addition, a greater abnormality of cerebral blood flow in the posterior language loop, an area associated with processing words that we hear, relates to more severe stuttering.
More than 70 million people stutter worldwide — including about 3 million in the U.S. alone — and the condition is four times more common in men than women.
Offensive: He compared the host to Ronnie Barker’s character Arkwright from the 1970s and 80s sitcom, Open All Hours, who was depicted as having a stutter for comedic effect
Well-known people who stutter include Emily Blunt, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and King George VI.
In 2021, Emily told The Mail on Sunday she was drawn to acting after realizing ‘one of the ways I could speak normally was if I did a silly voice or an accent.’
During a CNN town hall in 2020, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter himself, called it ‘the only handicap people still laugh about.’
At least prior to his inauguration as president, Biden mentored more than a dozen people with problems speaking.
‘The point I make to these young people that I still work with is that it is critically important for them not to judge themselves by their speech, not let that define them,’ Biden said, adding that stuttering has nothing to do with your ‘intelligent quotient’ or your ‘intellectual makeup.’
Children with stutters score just as well as other kids on tests assessing language, thinking skills, and temperament.
Successful: Well-known people with stutters include Emily Blunt and Tiger Woods. More than 70 million people stutter worldwide and the condition is four times more common among men than women
Frustrating: During a CNN town hall in 2020, Joe Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter himself, called it ‘the only handicap people still laugh about’ (pictured Monday)