Orlando Bloom used a slur against the Roma community to describe himself

Orlando Bloom Leaving 34 Restaurant London

Orlando Bloom has been in London this week to promote his new movie, Unlocked. His promotional tour has been like The Uncool Tour, really, and I’m not saying “uncool” in the Lester Bangs way. I mean that Orlando is literally making me cringe with how hard he’s trying to be a thing. A few days ago, Bloom “joked” about his nude photos – which he is the only one bringing up at this point – saying, “My poor son—he’s got a lot to live up to.” Dude… that’s gross. But then it got so much worse.

Before we talk about this, I’d just like to preface this with the admission that I, as an American, was well into adulthood before I really understood that the Roma community is a marginalized minority which has been historically oppressed. I would say that most Americans don’t understand a lot about the Romanis or Travellers, nor have we dealt with the fact that there are many derogatory terms about Romanis – like “gypsy” – which are offensive and that we should not use. Europeans, I find, have a lot more sensitivity when it comes to treating Romanis as a protected class. So, I’ve never heard of the term “pikey,” but from what I gather, it’s offensive towards Travellers. And Orlando Bloom used the term to describe himself:

Orlando Bloom is facing criticism in the U.K. after he casually dropped the racist term “pikey” during an interview. The actor, 40, used the term, which is considered to be derogatory to Gypsies and Travellers, while explaining why he does his own stunts while talking to BBC Radio 1’s “Breakfast Show” on Wednesday.

“I’m still a pikey from Kent, boy, I’m still a pikey from Kent,” he said to host Nick Grimshaw. “You don’t want to get on the wrong side of me, boy.”

In the wake of the comments, both the BBC Radio 1 and Grimshaw apologized for Bloom’s use of the word, one which The National Gypsy-Traveller-Roma Council called “racially abusive.”

“As with any live broadcast, we take great care to ensure all guests are briefed about their language before going on air,” the network said. “We apologized to listeners afterwards for any [offense] caused.”

“So good to have Orlando Bloom on the show … he’s a bit of a loose cannon,” Grimshaw explained. “Apologies if you were offended by anything that Orlando may have said.”

Bloom told the BBC that he meant nothing by his comments.

“I’ve come from Kent and I grew up with a lot of, like, freewheeling, cool, interesting characters like that,” he said. “I certainly wasn’t taking a slant at that at all. I’m very respectful.”

[From Page Six]

As I said, I’ve never heard the term before so I’m not the best judge of how offensive this is, on a sliding scale of racial pejoratives. Wiki says that the word means someone who is coarse and low-class. Does it make a difference if he was referring to himself? Eh. I would like to see a better apology from Orly on this rather than some non-apology “I’m very respectful.” Except for that offensive-to-Romani term you used?

So, just putting aside the offense to Romanis and Travellers, can we just talk for a second about the crux of what Orlando said? Like, he was trying to front like he’s some bad bitch from the streets, that he’s tough as hell. Yes, he gets in fist-fights in the mean streets of Ibiza. And he throws punches as Justin Bieber. Let’s be real here, Orly.

Orlando Bloom Leaving 34 Restaurant London

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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143 Responses to “Orlando Bloom used a slur against the Roma community to describe himself”

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  1. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    As a Brit I can confirm it’s an offensive term used to belittle those from the travelling communities. Tho there is a wider use for people from poor and rough backgrounds.

    He’s so desperate to be relevant and for work. lol at the fist fighter on the mean streets of the posh part of Ibiza. Attempting to punch the douchbag toddler doesn’t get u any street cred points.

    • original kay says:

      I never knew it was offensive either. I was well into adulthood before someone kindly pointed out what “gypped” actually meant. Thank god they did.

      • LadyT says:

        Never knew the origin of the word. For all I knew it was spelled jipped. Until someone brought it to my attention. I won’t use the word anymore but I’m not going to beat myself up over it either.

      • tmot says:

        Thanks for mentioning this, O Kay. The term always makes me cringe when I hear it and people are often quite surprised to learn what they have been saying all this time. The good ones will switch over to “ripoff” – it’s not that hard.

        The other cringeworthy thing I hear all of the time is “rule of thumb.” This refers to a old law saying that a man was allowed to beat his wife using *a stick no bigger in diameter than the man’s thumb.* So, yeah, I won’t be saying that either.

      • Brittney B says:

        tmot, that’s actually not true. It’s a really common origin story, but the real origin story has to do with testing beer.


      • KB says:

        Didn’t Drea de Matteo name her baby Alabama Gypsy Rose? I’ve come across quite a few boutique/little shop names with the word gypsy too. Obviously, I’m in the US, but I’ve always seen it used as like a cute mystical name, without negative connotation. I think I was probably around 18 when I found out it was actually a slur. I think most Americans have no idea that it is.

      • Bella bella says:

        @KB, Gypsy Rose Lee was a legendary stage entertainer (and who the musical “Gypsy” is based on), which could be who inspired Drea de Matteo’s baby’s name. In the theater and acting world, actors call themselves “gypsies” because they travel from gig to gig. It is not always an offensive term.

      • Merlin'sWife says:

        Re: gypped- I am embarrassed to say I never put that together. Thank you!

    • Sunglasses Aready says:

      I’m from the UK and this term used by this arsehole is very OFFENSIVE and unacceptable. So I’m putting him on blast “YOU OLD, STUPID DUMB BITCH, DO BETTER.”

      • Megan says:

        I knew the word from watching British TV. Next he’ll be calling himself a “bad hombre.”

      • Ravensdaughter says:

        Which makes a point. Will we Americans become numb to the offensive terms and language the Trump and his aides use? I am already becoming numb to “breaking news” every damn day.
        I think the worst of late was Spicey using the term “holocaust centers” for concentration camps. Maybe in his mind he thought he was being politically correct…
        No questions with pc and Orlando. What’s the deal, dude?

      • Amy Tennant says:

        I hate to excuse Spicer, but I honestly think he had a brain fart and lost the words for concentration camps. He’d just said the dumb thing about Hitler (I think he meant that Hitler didn’t use gas on the battlefield), realized what he’d said, tried to backtrack and forgot the word. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.

      • Vagenius says:

        I agree, though I’d also say that ageist, sexist epithets like “old stupid dumb bitch” aren’t much better, haha.

    • niamh darlington says:

      Yep- go watch Guy Ritchie’s ‘Snatch’ and you will see how offensive it is.

      We brits would describe Orly as a Townie or Chav (see Vicky Pollard).

    • thaliasghost says:

      Oh god help Drea Di Matteo when she actually named her child a highly offensive racial slur. Goodness. You could at least google your child’s name. I don’t want to put the responsibility of knowing about Roma in Europe on everyone because some people are too busy just surviving and have no time or energy left for learning. But a highly paid famous actress should be able to research that there is an actual Roma people, goodness.

    • ronaldinhio says:

      Except he also isn’t as he claims.
      He is from a very wealthy Conservative background in Kent.
      So offensive,a liar and a fantasist

  2. nemera34 says:

    The only time I have heard that term is in a movie. SNATCH. And it only came to mind because I was watching it the other day. Orlando hasn’t really been a thing for sometime. His relationship with Katy and his nude pics have given him some attention. He likes it. Nothing new; we see this with a lot of people in Hollywood when they get a taste of bigger recognition/fame. They need to know that unless there is some substantial work next the light will go out again. Regarding the Roma community I don’t know much outside of what I have seen in movies to be honest. And that goes back to very old movies and TV shows. So I know that there is some negativity about the community and it goes back a long time in history

    • sunnydaze says:

      Came here to say the same thing! To this day, I’ve still never heard it outside of that movie, but I’m American. I’m trying to make a more deliberate effort to understand the Romani culture outside of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” (which is where I first heard “Romanichal”…but like most things on television/reality shows I can’t image the culture is too thrilled about their portrayal)

  3. HH says:

    That word is new to me, but now it’s noted. I too, read it as bad rap lyrics. C’mon, bruh. You paddle board. You’re Legolas. You run up on your ex on red carpets just to say “hi, how are you?” Don’t front.

  4. JustJen says:

    Idk about the term, I’ve never heard it before reading this. But he is SOOOOO not tough. He’s a total marshmallow!! Anyone remember those interviews before Troy came out where Eric Bana said Orly was beyond helpless and couldn’t even make coffee?

  5. SBS says:

    Please do correct me if I’m wrong, I thought this particular word was aimed specifically at Irish Travellers rather than Romani people.

    • Leo says:

      Yes, it’s mostly pikey for Irish Travellers and gypsy for Roma people.

    • laur says:

      Yep, as a British person of Irish descent, it’s as Leo says, “gypsy” for Roma people and “pikey” for Irish travellers. This site has confused the two, which happens a lot. Still derogatory obvs.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      That’s what I was thinking too.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Out of curiosity, how bad is “tinker”? I read that word a lot in Maeve Binchy books.

    • TheRickestRick says:

      I grew up in a small town on the east coast of Ireland and we never used the word pikey, but we did use the word tinker. They are interchangeable.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        Yikes, is “tinker” a slur? Someone enlighten me. I always assumed it meant someone who travels around and sharpens knives and repairs pots for a living. A common thing in the old days when people didn’t just throw everything away.

      • brincalhona says:

        @missjupitero – I’ve heard ‘tinker’ used in both instances. It’s odd how that profession has come to mean a slur in both English and Portuguese.

  6. Roci says:

    He now wants to come across as tough, I guess the classically trained actor angle didn’t work out for him so he’s rewriting his history, Guy Ritchie better call him if he ever makes Snatch 2 lol. No need to resort to slurs to get your point across, Orly, we get it, you came from the mean streets of Kent lol

  7. Leo says:

    I hope no one gets offended, but I always had such a weird experience with the term “gypsy” (or any other name/slur for the Roma) when talking to Americans. Both in person and online. There would be people from all around Europe in the conversation and we’d keep repeating how it’s basically the equivalent of the n-word in the Roma community and they would be completely unfazed about it. “Oh, but in America it’s totally different. We don’t mean anything bad by it.”

    • Roci says:

      Yeah, I remember Elizabeth Olsen was on Graham Norton with Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner, she described her character as gypsy, Graham Norton told her it was a racial slur . She seemed embarrassed, but Ruffalo and Renner started chanting “gypsy, gypsy” and laughing, Graham seemed completely taken aback by their lack of respect.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        It’s true. I don’t know why, but it’s like we have a mental barrier with the g-word. The Roma aren’t very well-known to most Americans, just as a kind of character from a fairy tale or something. People think of dressing like a “gypsy” for Halloween just as they would a pirate or a princess, It’s hard for a lot of people to remember that there are real people who are affected by the stereotype. We have to unlearn this word we’ve said innocently or ignorantly all our lives. I think in places with a large Roma population it is different. I’m not defending our use of the word! Just that it’s hard to make people understand why it’s a bad thing. Like trying to get people to say “little person” instead of “midget” (I think we’re doing better on that front). Plus people confuse Roma and Travellers and call them both by the g-word. (I think the p-word Orlando used is more popularly applied to the latter, not that it’s okay).

        It makes me think of how horrified we all are when racist epithets are chanted at football players in some other countries (like in Serbia–where coincidentally Romani are the third-largest ethnic group). Standards of appropriate behavior and attitudes about racism differ from place to place and about which group.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        And of course Orly isn’t American, so I should think he would know even better

      • KB says:

        Yeah, in the US its meaning is more like a mystical hippie

      • Janet R says:

        KB, exactly what I was going to say.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      I’m an European quarter-gypsy and my Romani side of family does not find the term gypsy offensive. But that differs from people to people. Pikey or the like is not used here, but in general my cousins don’t care much for words.

      • Gabriela says:

        I’m also part Romani and some find of my family find it offensive, others don’t. I think it changes family-to-family, group-to-group or place-to-place. The family in S.E. Europe find it offensive, but those who have moved further north in Europe don’t, if that makes any difference. They see it as reclaiming the word, but they do also believe that unless you’re Romani you should not use the word gypsy. You should use Romani instead.

      • Miss S says:

        I’m Portuguese and here the direct translation of “gypsy” (cigano) is how they call themselves. It can be used as an offensive term but it depends on the context. In Portugal many have links with drug trafficking, are known for carrying illegal guns (fixing family disputes through violence) and a certain lack of honesty as salesman. These are associations that are certainly unfair for many, but culturally and factually this is the background. With that being said and maybe because we don’t have that romanticized idea of the Romani as a traveller (like in the US perhaps) we don’t really use the equivalent of gypsy for that. As I understand, calling them gypsy is similar with describing someone buy their nationality, race or looks.

        It seems that often the ones annoyed by these nuances aren’t them tbh. My city had a gypsy mayor who was well respected and quite popular and he never called himself anything different from gypsy (the exact translation from it in Portuguese) and was called “Miguel cigano” almost and a term of endearment.

        So basically this confuses me a lot because there are too many differences abt how to call them and how they feel abt it depending on geography and culture I suppose.

      • idontknowyouyoudontknowme says:

        I cant reply directly to Miss S, however I detect some prejudice and stereotypes towards Eastern european gypsies, which is a bit problematic..same as it would be for any other ethnicity (I can just imagine the outrage if You were to say that because some black men engage in criminal activity, and are “known for it”, people’s perceptions are warranted).. Any race can have people engaging in drug trafficking and carrying illegal guns and “lack of honesty as salesmen”.. its these perceptions that hurt any community they are aimed at. I know You are not alone with such thoughts, i would say 98% of my country feels the same way.. in a survey of thousands of people, every response was that they might tolerate a gypsy colleague if they had to, but NONE would be okay with having a gypsy neighbor.. its really sad and shows how “englightened” europe truly is.

    • Myrto says:

      English isn’t my native tongue but the problem with using the term “Roma” is that it only refers to people from Eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria), not to people from Spain, southern France or Italy. In French, we use the term “gitan” for the latter and “rom” for the former. Both of them are perfectly acceptable terms. So which term should we use in English to refer to people who aren’t Eastern European if we can’t use the word “gypsy”?

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Interesting! It’s like the terms “hispanic” and “latino”– either way you’re technically leaving someone out.

        Didn’t the term “gypsy” come about from the mistaken belief that the Roma came from Egypt?

      • Daisy says:

        We use the g word to describe all Roma, not just those from Eastern Europe.

      • Tata says:

        @myrto – I get very confused by the terms, so thanks for this differentiation.

        It is hard in English in the US to be precise. people barely understand what it would mean to be Romani (sounds like Romanian I have been told) and even fewer people are willing to then go on to distinguish between Irish Travellers, equivalent of ‘gitane’ in English, and Romani, especially because these communities are so far and few between here.

      • Miss S says:

        I have the same experience and I’m Portuguese.

      • Asiyah says:

        In Spanish we use gitano/a.

      • Myrto says:

        @Amy Tennat: yes absolutely the word “gypsy” comes from “egyptian” because a lot of people assumed they came from Egypt. About the distinction between Romani and gitano (in Spanish) or “gitan” (in French), those are two distinct cultures and the word “gypsy” doesn’t acknowledge that. Romani tend to have darker skin while Gitano don’t necessarily or if they do, it’s more like olive skin at most (Mediterranean). There’s a also a big difference in how they are perceived: in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, gitanos are settled, they usually no longer travel from city to city. Romani on the other hand are known for begging in the street with their kids (who should be in school) for stealing (I’m sorry but it’s true), for doing all kinds of criminal activity. There’s a French singer called Kendji who is gitano and he’s very proud of his heritage and he sings about it. He’s very famous in France. See this song, he sings partly in Spanish, partly in French: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63K5VMx2BZM It’s the same with the Gypsy Kings: they’re from Montpellier (France) but they sing in Spanish.

      • Jellybean says:

        I grew up in Kent only 15 miles from where Bloom did and I would certainly consider Pikey to be derogatory. If in doubt I use Traveller, but I have certainly known people who call themselves Gypsies and The National Gypsy-Traveller-Roma Council doesn’t seem to have an issue with it, so who am I to lecture people on the subject. I think Bloom should a ashamed of himself though.

      • Claudia Remm says:

        I think this group is called Sinti.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        I always thought “Hispanic” referred to language and “Latino” to geography? Who is being left out? You can be one and not the other.

      • Littlestar says:

        @ Miss Jupitero, both Latino and Hispanic refer to language. Hispanic means Spanish-speaking, so it only applies to Spanish-speaking countries, thus it includes Spain and most Latin American countries but excludes Brazil (who speak Portuguese). Latino means Latin-based, so this includes Brazil with Spanish-speaking countries as both having Latin roots.
        And on a side note (not aimed at anyone in particular) remember that Latino/Hispanic is not a race, color, nationality or ethnicity; you can be black, brown, white, Asian, Arab, Jewish, Native American or anything between and be from a Latinized/Hispanisized country. Remember, Latin America was populated by Native Americans BEFORE European Spaniards and Portuguese poured in. West African people were brought as slaves and later the area experienced immigration from all over the world. Latin America reflects all of that.

    • Erinn says:

      It’s weird that this sort of thing happens. It’s as if people think they’re far enough away from the origin, or where something was at it’s worst that when they use a certain term, or do something offensive, it’s not the same. This sort of thing comes up a lot when Black Pete gets discussed. You have the “oh, we don’t have the same history as x country, so it’s completely different – don’t ruin our tradition” and also the “it doesn’t matter what country it’s done in, it’s still offensive” arguments and they’ll be argued over and over again.

      I think everyone has a certain amount of egocentric behavior and ethnocentrism – even if they’re not fully aware of it. It’s hard to see things from the viewpoint of someone in a completely different location when you only have your own experience and traditions to go on.

      Personally, I’m on the “it’s still offensive even if you don’t personally understand why” kind of way of thinking. Once someone has alerted you to why something is offensive, I really think you need to take that to heart and learn from it.

      • Tata says:

        True story – when I was in Asia, two kids who thought I couidn’t understand them started screeching “Omg look at how dark she is!!! She is sooo dark!” and all the adults started laughing.

        They continually fatshamed any westerner with even a little fat on them.

        They would make comments about how weird people of mixed race looked and how unnatural it is.

        My attempts to alert them to why these things were offensive were unsuccessful. :(

        my two cents being that I know things are not perfect in the western world but I am grateful to be able to have these convos at all.

    • Gabriela says:

      See also Jason Momoa and his use of the slur as a romantic handle when describing himself and his production company, Pride of Gypsies; worse, on his company’s webpage he’s redefined the word to remove any mention of the Roma,l which i think is a bit “erasing” for want of a better term.

      Quote from the homepage: “gypsy {jip-see}-a nomadic or free spirited person”

    • Luca76 says:

      In America it has positive romantic connotations such as the Fleetwood Mac song. Its sort of a ‘positive’ stereotype and since the Roma population in the US is rather small compared to Europe I really think it’s hard for people to grasp how offensive the term is. That doesn’t excuse it.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        I agree on all counts

      • Tata says:

        Don’t forget The musical Gypsy by stephen sondheim, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest musicals of all time, and I think even put on by some community theaters.

        I believe that is where I first heard the term and had it normalized in my brain.

        Wikipedia says there was a revivial in 2015 in the west end.

        I guess I am asking, should we culturally refrain from putting on that play forevermore? If the g word is really equivalent to the n word, it is hard for me to see that musical keep being celebrated as such.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Cher song Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, and the folk song “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” which I have to admit I love. Isn’t Gypsy (the musical) about Gypsy Rose Lee?

        “Embrace me, you sweet embraceable you . . .You and you alone bring out the gypsy in me. . .”

        Then there are the Gipsy Kings (who are “gitano” I think, so they can use the word I suppose)

        “But I’m like the wind and I just keep blowing free
        Must be the gypsy in me, yeah”–Bonnie Raitt

        The culture is romanticized and thus not really understood. Like you said, there are positive aspects to the stereotype, but a stereotype is still a stereotype, a shorthand way of relating to a culture so you don’t really have to engage with it

      • Elisa the I. says:

        hmmm, recently there was quite some outrage over the Beckham kid who got a tattoo of a native American. In my country, native Americans have a very positive romantic connotation (free spirit, in touch with nature, proud, courageous…). So for me it was quite hard to grasp why people find his tattoo so offensive.
        BTW: In my country their community is usually referred to as Roma and Sinti.

      • sunnydaze says:

        Shakira’s “Gypsy” too

      • tigerlily says:

        Elisa the I: the Beckham kid getting a tatt of a Native American is cultural appropriation and very offensive. He is a privileged Caucasian kid who likely has never met a Native American and obviously has zero concept of what English colonialism did to Native Americans. Same goes for those twats who wear the Indian headdresses to Coachella or costume parties.

        His tatt is as ridiculous as white males getting “tribal” tattoos. It would be nice if rather than getting a tattoo he read up on what life was like for Indians (in my case in Canada-I am mixed race: Metis) when the English arrived and kept pushing west. Ethnic cleansing, forcing Indian children into church run residential schools where they were punished for speaking their language. It is estimated that 4,000 children died in these schools.

    • Somegirl says:

      American here. I was definitely in my 20s before I knew to use Roma. What I will say is that it took going to Europe to find out how very terribly the Roma people are still treated. This was pre-Trump & I move in a very liberal crowd, so I had never heard such casual racism as we encountered on our first visit to Europe. Went to 7 countries and 6 of the 7 we were casually warned by locals about the gypsies and had very nasty things said to us about them. We were horrified & it was after that that it really sunk in for us.

      • Miss S says:

        If the observations are based on facts I’m not sure it it’s really racism. Really poor Roma people (not the ones who are actually Portuguese but the ones who come from eastern Europe) beg on the street but also steal. They have a scheme of making you pay for a car window wash when you stop at the red light and people are warned by the police to be careful and not open the windows for example.

        Even among the ones who are Portuguese there is still a strong patriarch culture that doesn’t allow girls to go to school (greatly reduced in the last decade or so) and strong links to drug trafficking and the use of illegal guns usually to deal with disputes between families.

        Things have changed quite a bit specially by allowing their kids to study. I gave an example above that my city mayor was a gypsy (in my country the word doesn’t have a negative connotation), proud of it and it was very respected. I’m not saying there’s no racism, but it’s important to understand the local context and not judge this at face value.

    • grumpycat says:

      In the U.S. gypsy is used as a positive term a lot. Like if someone has a gypsy soul they are adventurous.
      My goodness, it is getting hard to keep up with everything that is politically incorrect.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I’m American too, and “Gypsy” was not known as a racial term where I’m from — rather, it was a term to describe a travelling lifestyle, regardless of the race of the person. A lot of Americans know the term in that context; for example, the “Gypsy” in stripper Gypsy Rose Lee’s name came from the fact that her family traveled as a vaudeville act. Most people I know don’t realize it’s perceived as a racial term in other countries.

  8. littlemissnaughty says:

    I have never heard that term but English is not my first language. I think the context alone makes it sound terrible. Also, wtf dude? You’re the most vanilla actor I can think of. You date vanilla women. You’re 40. Stop it.

  9. Sixer says:

    It’s a bad word. Very bad. As is “gyppo” and variants.

    I was a little kid during the 1980s – the last time the racist far right felt emboldened to have marches in the open in the UK before we had all this new stuff over the last couple of years. We had a few nasty National Front skinheads around where I lived but even then, they were a tiny minority. The vast majority of people understood that racism was unacceptable and rejected it…

    … unless it was travellers. There was a semi-permanent camp very close to where I lived. The kids were picked on at school. Very few parents would even allow their children to play with traveller kids. Nobody else would drink in the pub the travellers drank in. There were stupid urban myths that it was so dangerous on the camp that the police wouldn’t go there if you rang 999. Those people were thoroughly othered. My mum used to say it was the last acceptable prejudice.

    Note – in the UK, there’s a difference between Roma and Irish Traveller. When twatface here says “pikey”, he means Irish Traveller. And, as Betti says above, because it’s an abusive term for Irish Traveller, it also gets used as a pejorative for anyone rough – like a synonym of chav.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      Thank you. I thought that was the case, that it was applied to Irish Travellers and not Roma. A lot of people tend to confuse them.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      It’s still fairly acceptable here. There’s a sense of “I’m not racist at all but with THEM it’s kinda warranted, right?” I’m talking about Roma, not Irish Travellers of course. But yes, it’s common to hear people talk about them in a way that they wouldn’t dare (publicly at least) otherwise. It’s pretty disgusting and frankly, hard to explain to people why it’s so offensive when they don’t really see that much wrong with it.

      • Sixer says:

        Have you heard of the show Big Fat Gypsy Wedding?


        It’s certainly a mainstream acceptable prejudice, even today.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        The Travellers have a worse reputation here in the US I think than the Roma do (if anyone bothers to differentiate).

        There’s a popular romantic view of the Romani, whereas the Travellers are those people who come to your house and offer to pave your driveway and then rip you off.

      • Sixer says:

        Caoimhe – awful. I’ve been talking on a few threads hereabouts lately about anti-Irish prejudice and its lingering effects in Britain. Mr Sixer’s family is almost entirely Irish and he had the same as a child.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Sixer, it’s on TLC here together with “Gypsy Sisters”. I watched it twice and didn’t know what to make of it, honestly. It seemed offensive as hell if only because it’s so irresponsible and unfair to present this image when you know that most people know nothing about this community or have a terribly racist image in mind. But then … they are participating. I don’t know. For Germany it’s not the right thing to broadcast.

      • Somegirl says:

        That’s totally what we experienced while traveling Europe, the locals acting like their prejudice against the Romani was justified and they were doing us a favor warning us about them. It was bizarre and sad.

      • sunnydaze says:

        @ Sixer, I was happy to read that article – thank you! I wrote above the first time I heard of the Romanichal was from this show…I was flipping through my DVR guide and caught the word “gypsy” and stayed to check it out because hey,
        I’ve never seen something exclusively focusing on this group (should have known better as it’s on TLC, home of Honey Boo Boo and Dance moms…shudder…). I’m happy to see there is push back from the community on how they are portrayed on this show….because it isn’t good. To sum it up, if one was ever wondering why prejudice against this community exists, they need not look any further than that show. It’s sole existence is to exploit what are surely impoverished people with limited access to education and film them making complete fools of themselves. Granted, this is reality show 101, but given the history of marginalization it seems especially cruel to perpetuate these stereotypes.

    • Willow says:

      The thing about the UK, I found, is that people are generally aware of using appropriate language and making the effort to appear to be against racism but if you bring up Britain’s colonial past, my god, how defensive people get despite the UK (along with several other Western European nations) being responsible for so many of the worlds current problems with race. So many people from there take the attitude that Britain gave ‘so much to the world’ and believe that the UK is supposedly one of the least racist places in the developed world when really it actually caused so much of the racism in the world. It’s a hypocrisy I have always found galling.

      • Sixer says:

        Yep. Failure to decolonise culturally. Led to Brexit, if you ask me.

        All superpowers have some kind of exceptionalist myth so that the population is blinded to what that superpower does to maintain its superpower status. Britain’s was the “mission to civilise”.

    • Rey says:

      It still is acceptable racism. Activists will oppose islamophobia, racism, antisemitism ( well, that one is a bit messy for British left but bear me) but they will not even talk about Romani people or Irish travellers. Defending them is like defending the indefensible for most people. When people complained about “gypsies” from Romania, people defended Romanians by saying most of them are not Romani. Racism against travellers is the most acceptable racism. It truly trascends political, racial and religious boundries.

    • Turtle says:

      Sixer — Thanks for sharing. Not that long ago, I spent the better part of a few years living in Eastern Europe and the level of racism against the Roma was almost shocking. Racism and homophobia and misogyny was unacceptable in any other context, but, oh yeah, sure, the Roma? Say whatever you want. It was stunning, really. And this was from people who were professional, educated, liberal.

      Never heard of “pikey” before now, but it’s good to have my mind opened to this stuff. And embarrassed to admit it was only fairly recently that I realized where “gypped” came from, too. I agree with others, upthread, that in America, a gypsy is sort of a romantic, mystical/magical figure of myth. It’s hard to let go of something you consider harmless with no racist intent whatsoever (like people dressing as an Indian chief for Halloween).

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        “misogyny was unacceptable in any other context” — the Roma themselves are very misogynistic. It’s probably the biggest reason why I dislike when people romanticize that lifestyle (sure, not paying taxes is bad, but if a population is poor I don’t think they should pay taxes anyway). But the Roma marry their girls off very young, and then expect them to drop out of school and take on full-time domestic duties. Women in that community are under-educated, which leads to a cycle of poverty and poor health. I think the average life expectancy for women is something horrendous, like 50. We shouldn’t use racist terms to talk about a group, but that doesn’t mean we also cannot criticize that group for its misogyny.

      • Sixer says:

        If you make those who belong to it social pariahs with racist abuse and shunning, you don’t give a community any chance to evolve.

  10. Manjit says:

    He’s a tit (apologies to the Paridae family).

  11. Aoife says:

    He was educated at a very prestigious private school, so doubly cringey that he is using this insulting term to try to come across as cool for having come from the wrong side of the tracks or something.

    • Missed a mr says:

      I really think he is aware he not as ‘hard ass’ as he’s making out here and is joking, Kent ‘The Garden of England’ is not renowned for being a rough place, and he was in an episode of extras where he also satired himself in the same way.

  12. Sullivan says:

    Foolish man-child. He’s hit middle age and become a cliche.

  13. Moop says:

    Gypsy itself isn’t offensive, surely? As per “The National Gypsy-Traveller-Roma Council”?

    • Amy Tennant says:

      We have the NAACP and United Negro College Fund, but we wouldn’t go around saying “colored people” or “Negro” (shouldn’t, anyway)

    • Goldie says:

      I wonder if it’s similar to the term “colored” in the US? Most Americans would find it offensive to refer to black people or other minorities as “colored”, but the NAACP still uses it in their name, as that’s what black people were called when the organization was founded.

  14. Gabriela says:

    I’ve also known a lot of (mostly) Americans to get mixed up with thinking the term Romani means Romanians. Just as Irish Travellers are distinct from Irish people, Romani =/= Romanians.

  15. Martha S says:

    In UK All East Europeans are called pikeys by the slobbering pub community. Brits have always been so full of themselves, how come? There is staggering poverty across the UK yet they think they are better than anyone else in Europe

  16. gobo says:

    Pikey is a mainly UK used pejorative used to refer to Irish Travellers, not Roma. This is nothing to do with Roma.

  17. ell says:

    lol, i love that nick grimshaw threw lando under the bus, as he should have.

  18. t.fanty says:

    Hahaha! The slur is bad, but I am terrifically entertained by the whole “don’t mess with Kent” angle. Sit down, boy.

  19. DazLondon says:

    Being from the UK and part irish, i think the term ‘pikey’ is meant to mean ultra irish (poor peasant/very strong accent). We don’t really have a romani community in the UK. A lot of the traveler community in the UK is of irish origin. So i have heard the term pikey be referred to them as well.

  20. dancingonmyown says:

    Roma community? Surely you mean Irish travellers. And it’s offensive depending on context.

  21. Jessica says:

    Well as American this is the first time I’ve ever heard it.

  22. applepie says:

    What a chump… As far as I am aware, the term gypsy isn’t offensive if used by the travelling community themselves. There is a boxer who is proud of his heritage and calls himself a gypsy. Think its Tyson Fury. I believe ‘member of the travelling community’ is poss a better way to address them. Here in the UK they tend to keep themselves to themselves and do not integrate into non travelling society. They are much maligned here for reasons ranging from not paying any taxes, not educating their children and leaving lots of rubbish at sites they stay in temporarily. A group once threatened my husband with violence because he wouldn’t let them use a water hose at a place he once worked in. They threatened to come back and kill him…not nice. They do not accept our way of life and we do not try to understand theirs. Oil and water. Orly is a twit. That is all.

  23. QQ says:

    Insert this face here https://giphy.com/gifs/jay-z-MG7Ox4h7r2riU

    Heinekens and a Book for this one huh?! 2017 folks!

  24. Scooch says:

    So next I guess we’ll have to make Stevie Nicks or Broadway apologize for using the term “Gypsy”.

  25. Daintyfeets says:

    There is a tv show called “My big fat gypsy wedding.” The cast refer to themselves as gypsies, and they are all low class.. This pc shit goes too far sometimes, especially on this site.

    • Brittney B says:

      I’m sorry it’s too overwhelming for you to start considering voices & perspectives that were unfamiliar to you before social media and the Internet. For the people who are the targets of racist slurs like “gyspy”, this racist s**t goes too far ALL the time, and always has.

      I wouldn’t use TLC as an example of socially conscious terminology… or much of anything, really… if I were you.

      • applepie says:

        This is where people differ from country to country and have different attitudes. Are you a gypsy? Are you in the UK? If you are then you may realise that emotions run high in regards to the travelling community. If you have experienced them in the UK you may have a different perspective. I’m all for not upsetting people but perhaps you should ask if they are offended first. Gypsies in the UK are not offended by being called gypsies.

    • Masina says:

      I am Romani, and I would like to request you 1. Not base your opinions of my people on an exploitative and inaccurate “reality” show on a trash American network and 2. Explain why you are so inconvenienced by being told not to use an insulting and dehumanizing term for other people.
      It’s simple, really; when the racial or ethnic group the word was used to describe tells people not to use that word, don’t argue with them, don’t complain about it, just don’t use that word.

  26. Loula says:

    I’m British. I didn’t realise anyone from the travelling community would find ‘Gypsy’ offensive, ‘gyppo’ and ‘pikey’ on the other hand… definitely rude. I know people who refer to themselves as gypsies, however I will be more careful and just use traveller in future.

    • Brittney B says:

      Excellent example of growing and learning! You didn’t know and still don’t fully understand, but look how easy it is to just omit the word from your vocabulary and move on!

      Honestly, I don’t understand why this is so difficult for so many people.

      • Skylark says:

        @Brittney B – well said and really, that’s at the heart of it.

        Once you become aware that a commonly used term is viewed as offensive by those at whom the term is directed, then the basic, respectful response is to just stop using that term.

        It costs nothing but means everything.

    • applepie says:

      Tyson Fury is an Irish boxer. He prides himself on being a gypsy. He calls himself that. Don’t worry too much about that girl! ☺

  27. Amelie says:

    I’ve never heard of the word pikey before but then I’m not from England. I didn’t know Irish Travellers were even a thing. I know about the Romani since I encountered them occasionally while I was living in Spain, they were pretty marginalized in Spanish society from what I observed as a temporary resident. I vaguely knew gypsy was considered offensive in some circles, but it’s commonly used here in the US. I mean there was even a character called Gypsy on Gilmore Girls.

    Not saying that’s right, it’s just not considered to be offensive. My grandmother used that word all the time when describing herself since she moved around a lot as a kid saying “I’m a gypsy, I’ve lived in so many places!” And as she got dementia and forgot how many times she repeated stories, she used that word quite a lot. Can’t really fault her for it though–her memory was deteriorating due to dementia and reasoning with her about how using the word was considered a slur in some circles wouldn’t have done any good, she would have forgotten about it 5 seconds later since she had virtually no short term memory by the time I was a teenager.

    Isn’t the F slur word used as a derogatory term for the LGBT community commonly used in England as a slang term for cigarettes? You wouldn’t get away with that in the US since we don’t use the word that way.

    • Brittney B says:

      The F-word isn’t really equivalent, though, because it has a completely different definition in the two places. “Gyspy” conjures the same general image in the US and Europe, regardless of whether it’s used to degrade Romani people or not.

      • Amelie says:

        Perhaps but gypsy is used in different contexts than just to describe Romani people. Gypsy jazz is a style of music for example–I don’t think there’s another term for that either and I’m pretty sure that’s a widely accepted form of the word. It was popularized by guitarist Django Reinhardt who is of Romani descent which I guess make sense. I only know all this because my father is a huge fan of this kind of music (especially Django) and will sometimes practice pieces of gypsy jazz music on his guitar. Perhaps someone more familiar with gypsy jazz music could enlighten us on the origins of the expression “gypsy jazz.”

      • Kata says:

        But wouldn’t that be the same as someone from a country with no background with slavery using the n-word because they heard it in a song or something similar?

  28. Harper says:

    Wow. I had no idea that term was offensive. I live in Canada, but my husband is from Scotland and he uses the term “pikey” constantly. When he says it, he means “thief,” bit in an affectionate way (like when our baby “steals” food off his plate, or when I “steal” one of his sweatshirts to wear around the house). I had no idea it was a slur. I shall have to have a word with him about this.

  29. Stormyshay says:

    I live in the Southeastern United States and this is not a term I have ever heard. I am currently a full time grad student in a social work program. I am currently enrolled in a cultural competency class this term, and thus far the Romani demographic is not a minority group that has been discussed. I feel people make mistakes and it is difficult to know everything about every minority population that exists. I thought I was well versed in cultural differences until I took this course. I now realize I didn’t know anything! I have learned so much and this had been my favorite class to date. He knew this was a derogatory term growing up in the region. Yet he used the term anyway. I used to like Orly but this, combined with the naked paddleboarding I just find him try hard and gross.

  30. Mia LeTendre says:

    Piker is not a slur against Romani people. It prefers to white Irish dudes. Slurs against white people do not carry the same weight.

  31. Daintyfeets says:

    He referred to himself as a pikey. He didn’t call someone else a pikey. Isn’t that the same as a black person saying the N word or referring to themselves as a N***er? Or an Irish person referring to themselves as a Mick? Or a German person referring to themselves as a Kraut? Or a Hispanic person Referring to themselves as a Cholo? BTW Brittney B, im not only old enough to remember reading actual books, but i have a very diverse, very large library. I’m not as dumb and uninformed as your reply to my comment above implies.

    • lunchcoma says:

      Orlando isn’t of that background, though. It sounds like this is more like a white guy calling himself the n word, which would be pretty bad.

    • Littlestar says:

      Well he’s not someone who would ever suffer discrimination for being a “pikey” so it’s not his to use, even if he’s referring to himself. Just like I can’t refer to myself as the n-word since I’m not black. Cholo/chola isn’t interchangeable for Hispanic though, it’s specifically a Mexican American subculture that is often intertwined with poverty (hood life), violence (gang life, police brutality, white supremacy) and the resilience around all that (fashion, music, art styles). It can be used as a slur or in a derogatory way (almost anything can) such as when Connor McGregor referred to Diaz as just being a “cholo from the hood”. I wouldn’t call it slur per se though, although I’ve heard some people argue that.

  32. lyla says:

    I’m American, but I spent summers growing up in Europe and Asia and I’m sad to say that it wasn’t until recently that I realized that gypsy had negative connotations because it’s pretty much romanticized here. I used to refer to myself as a wanderlusting gypsy. I still bounce around between California, NYC, London, Paris, and Bangkok (and sometimes even Texas), but now I refer to myself as a wanderlusting nomad. I’ll be honest and say that I do like the word gypsy because I still associate it with romantic connotations of a wanderer, but since it’s offensive to a group of people and because I don’t have any Romani heritage, I won’t use it anymore.

  33. Daintyfeets says:

    He referred to himself as a pikey. He didn’t call someone else a pikey. Isn’t that the same as a black person saying the N word or referring to themselves as a N***er? Or an Irish person referring to themselves as a Mick? Or a German person referring to themselves as a Kraut? Or a Hispanic person Referring to themselves as a Cholo? BTW Brittney B, im not only old enough to remember reading actual books, but i have a very diverse, very large library. I’m not as dumb and uninformed as your reply to my comment above implies.

    • Elisa the I. says:

      I have never ever encountered a German referring to him/herself as Kraut. In German it doesn’t make sense as Kraut is only understood as a slur by English speakers.
      In German Kraut simply means cabbage or herb.

  34. Ss11 says:

    Definition of male BIMBO.

  35. Taya says:

    Quick question, is the word traveller offensive?

    • spidey says:

      Not that I know of, or not yet! I’m not sure what else they would want to be called.

      • Taya says:

        I’m speaking in the sense that someone who isn’t an Irish Traveler but someone who travels would call themselves a traveler. Cause I know some American travel enthusiasts would use gypsy and traveller interchangeably. And a travel mag (i forget which one) would use the hastag, travellerin[insert destination]. So I just wanted to double check if it was offensive to Travellers or not.

    • V says:

      There will always be someone offended by something. The word “traveller” used in its literal sense – as someone who travels – is not offensive, no. You’re using it as per its intended meaning.

      • brincalhona says:

        And I guess whether you capitalise or not: traveller (person who travels) vs Traveller (member of a community)

    • aqdgsbh says:

      In the UK we call them the travelling community, it’s not offensive.

  36. Angelique says:

    I gotta admit, I’m a little sad to find out that Gypsy is considered a slur (Pikey I knew) – I’ve always found it to be a beautiful word, just phonetically. It carries a mystique, and I never thought to use it as an insult. That being said, as an American, I rarely use the word, so I don’t forsee offending anyone, so I’ve got that going for me.

  37. V says:

    I am part Roma (SE Europe) & nobody in my extended family finds “gypsy” offensive. I understand thats just our experience, but there are bigger fish to fry.

    Others don’t need to be offended on our behalf, either. It can be a little patronising when there are calls for apologies for the movie/musical “Gypsy”. Come on.

    • Daintyfeets says:

      V – I am Roma also. No one in my family hesitates to use the word gypsy. We say it with pride.

      • Masina says:

        Interesting because my family (Roma) refuse to use the word. I suppose it has a lot to do with the individual or the experience. For my father, it’s one of the most insulting things a person could say.

  38. Rebecca says:

    I thought a group of travelors from India were also wrongly called these racial slurs? His mom was born in India. Is he then a decendant and using this word to describe himself? Is his mom English? IDK?

  39. Jag says:

    I used to love him so much. Don’t like him now.

  40. Kim says:

    Tbh pikey is more of an anti-irish term than anything about Roma. If anyone knows about the darkness of British colonialism it’s us Irish! Nearly 100 years since we won independence after fighting for 800 years. I know a lot about hidden anti-irish prejudice after living as an Irish person in the UK for a decade. It’s rife and fanned by rags like the daily mail.

  41. brincalhona says:

    @Caoimhe and @Sixer, while this might not teach you anything you don’t already know, I wasn’t sure where else to post this. Anyone who fancies learning more about the lasting legacy of the British Empire might be interested in this free online course: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/empire. The site has many other free courses that might appeal to inquisitive Celebitchers, e.g. logical and critical thinking.