Oh dear. It seems that the most illiberal party in Great Britain is at it again. In the nationwide haste to condemn the comedian Jimmy Carr for his remarks about the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community in his Netflix special, an elected councillor from (who else?) the SNP has called for prosecutions. Not just for Carr himself, mind you; Julie McKenzie, who sits on Argyll and Bute council, wants the many members of Carr’s audience prosecuted too for ‘applauding’ the remarks.
The show, called His Dark Material, was released on Christmas Day but received widespread attention last Friday after a clip was posted and shared online. 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.
Such comments have, unsurprisingly, been roundly condemned across the spectrum, with anti-hate groups including the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Auschwitz Memorial and Hope Not Hate all weighing in. As distasteful as they were, is a self-proclaimed ‘edgy’ comedian delivering a set enough to warrant prosecution under hate crime laws?
Steerpike will leave that to others to decide. Certainly though, there seems to be little clamour to prosecute the audience of those who heard Carr’s comments – some of whom will no doubt have clapped or laughed out of pained awkwardness. McKenzie though argues:
Jimmy Carr and his Netflix hate speech and his applauding audience should be prosecuted.
But what else can you expect from the representatives of the same party which introduced the Hate Crime Act and criminalised the questionably-named act of ‘stirring up’ hatred? Still, if we’re going to start prosecuting comedians for offensive things said on stage, let’s hope the SNP start with their foul-mouthed supporter Jane Godley.