Politics

Jimmy Carr Gypsy joke: Councillor Mhairi Hunter says ‘this is hate’

Jimmy Carr has been criticised for a “truly disturbing” joke made about the travelling community and the Holocaust in Netflix special His Dark Material.

The comedian, known for his stand-up and roles on shows like 8 Out Of 10 Cats, issued a “trigger warning” to the audience at the beginning of his one-hour special, admitting his performance contained “terrible things”.

In a widely-shared clip from the show, Carr joked about the horror of the Holocaust and “six million Jewish lives being lost”.

Carr said: “When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of 6 million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine. But they never mention the thousands of Gypsies that were killed by the Nazis.

“No one ever wants to talk about that, because no one ever wants to talk about the positives.”

The statement prompted laughter and clapping from the audience.

Glasgow SNP Councillor Mhairi Hunter was among those to condemn the gag, saying ‘this is what hate is like’. 

She Tweeted: “It’s not an abstract debating concept. It hurts. Imagine hearing people laughing at a joke about the Nazis trying to exterminate your community as being a positive thing. Shame on those who laughed & shame on [Netflix UK] for broadcasting it.”

 

In a tweet referencing the joke, The Traveller Movement – a charity supporting the traveller community in the UK, said: “This is truly disturbing and goes way beyond humour.

“We need all your support in calling this out #StopTravellerHate @StopFundingHate.”

The charity have now launched a petition to Netflix calling for the “removal of the segments of His Dark Material which celebrates the Romani genocide”.

In a tweet, Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, has also urged Netflix to remove Carr’s “vile anti-GRT and antisemitic material”.

In a synopsis of the programme, which aired on Christmas Day, it says the special features jokes which are “career enders”.

Similarly, not-for-profit organisation the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust shared a statement on Twitter from their CEO Olivia Marks-Woldman who was “horrified” to hear “gales of laughter” following Carr’s remarks.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added on Twitter: “These comments from Jimmy Carr are beyond tasteless.

“The targeting of Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust is no laughing matter. Deeply offensive. I also don’t understand how this was aired @netflix.”

Hope Not Hate, the anti-fascism and anti-racism campaigning group, also condemned the comedian’s joke on Friday.

In a tweet, they said: “Comedy is an amazing tool for progressive change and it’s such a shame that @jimmycarr decided to use his platform to celebrate the murder of one of the most marginalised groups in society.”

The Auschwitz Memorial called for Carr to “learn about the fate of some 23 thousand Roma & Sinti deported to Auschwitz” in a tweet to their 1.2 million followers.

They added: “It’s sad to hear words that can fuel prejudice, hurt people & defile memory of their tragedy.”

Sharing a statement on Twitter, the charity Friends, Families, Travellers has said it is “disgusted and outraged” by the comedian’s comments, adding that murder is “no laughing matter”.

A representative for Carr has been contacted for comment.

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