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top diplomat

Here is a list of people, places and things Boris Johnson has insulted or knocked over

Who did Boris refer to as “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies”? And what did he say about the Turkish president?

THE APPOINTMENT OF Boris Johnson, the leading Brexit campaigner and former mayor of London, as the UK’s new foreign secretary, made headlines around the world last night.

German presenters could barely contain their mirth as they announced the news, apparently…

The former prime minister of Sweden said he hoped the appointment was a joke…

And even Cher chipped in, with her reaction…

To describe the ex-mayor as gaffe-prone would be something of an understatement – so the reaction to his appointment as the UK’s top diplomat certainly comes as no surprise.

Johnson has been insulting people, and apologising for those same insults, for years.

In no particular order, here is a list of world figures, countries, cities and random citizens of the world Boris has had a pop at in the last few decades…

Barack Obama 

Johnson took a pop at the US president during the Brexit campaign, after Obama voiced his opposition to the pro-Leave movement.

Writing for the Sun, the Tory recounted a story of a bust of Churchill being removed from the White House after the Obamas moved in.

According to Johnson:

No one was sure whether the President had himself been involved in the decision. Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.

Obama Carolyn Kaster Carolyn Kaster

Donald Trump

Always an equal-opportunities offender, Johnson took aim at the presumptive Republican nominee after the businessman implied that parts of London were no-go areas.

Said Boris:

The only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.

GOP 2016 Trump Darron Cummings Darron Cummings

Black people

Johnson was forced to apologise for referring to black people as “piccaninnies” during the campaign for the London mayoralty in 2008.

In a column published six years previously in the Telegraph, he had mocked Tony Blair’s globetrotting:

What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.

The piece also mentioned “watermelon smiles”.

Johnson said he was ”sad” that people had been offended but insisted the words had been taken out of context.

Theresa May becomes PM Dominic Lipinski Dominic Lipinski

The Chinese

Johnson wrote in 2005 that the importance of the world’s most populous nation was being overplayed.

“We do not need to teach babies Mandarin,” he maintained.

Compared with the old British Empire, and the new American imperium, Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase.

The Week That Was in Asia Photo Gallery Associated Press Associated Press

The President of Turkey

Johnson won £1,000 from the Spectator earlier this year when the magazine ran a contest for offensive poems about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A former editor of the Spectator, Johnson composed the limerick in response to Erdogan’s decision to take legal action over a German comedian’s poem about him.

Here it is:

There was a young fellow from Ankara

Who was a terrific wankerer

Till he sowed his wild oats

With the help of a goat

But he didn’t even stop to thankera.

Somalia Erdogan Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right). Associated Press Associated Press

The people of Liverpool

Back in 2004, the Tory MP was sent to Liverpool by his party leader to apologise in person for a magazine article that criticised the city’s reaction to the death of Ken Bigley, who was abducted and killed in Iraq.

Johnson wrote in an editorial in The Spectator that the city was wallowing in “disproportionate” grief following his death. Liverpudlians, he added, “wallow” in their “victim status”.

Michael Howard, the then-Conservative boss, sent him north to say sorry, noting that the article was “nonsense from beginning to end”.

Hospital Stock PA WIRE PA WIRE

The people of Papua New Guinea

Johnson was forced to apologise again in 2006, after linking Papua New Guinea to “cannibalism and chief-killing” in his newspaper column.

“I meant no insult to the people of Papua New Guinea who I’m sure lead lives of blameless bourgeois domesticity in common with the rest of us,” Johnson said later, after the country’s High Commissioner in London complained.

He said he was happy to “add Papua New Guinea to my global itinerary of apology”.

Theresa May becomes PM Joe Giddens Joe Giddens

His colleagues in the London Assembly

He called them “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies”. Which is pretty creative, in fairness.

Saatli Bamba / YouTube

A 10-year-old Japanese schoolboy

Not so much an insult, more of a full-on attack…

Johnson knocked the Japanese boy to the ground during a rugby match while on an official visit to the country – taking the 10-year-old out with a harsh tackle as he raced down the pitch with the ball.

It wasn’t even a real rugby match, it should be pointed out – it was a press event where participants pretended to play for the cameras.

The then-mayor of London later apologised, and gave the child a rugby ball.


Oh, and before we go… He also once temporarily crippled a German footballer by headbutting him in the groin during a charity soccer match.

Read: Leading Brexit campaigner Michael Gove dropped from British cabinet >

Read: Two high-profile Brexit positions created as part of new British cabinet >

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