Downing Street has said Jimmy Carr’s joke about the Holocaust was “deeply disturbing” but it is a matter for Netflix whether the comedian’s show should remain on its streaming service.
Carr, known for his stand-up and hosting roles on shows like 8 Out Of 10 Cats, prompted criticism after a clip from his recent one-hour Netflix special, His Dark Material, was shared widely on social media.
In it, the comedian jokes about the horror of the Holocaust and “six million Jewish lives being lost” before making a disparaging remark about the deaths of thousands of Gypsies at the hands of the Nazis as part of the punchline.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Those comments are deeply disturbing and it’s unacceptable to make light of genocide.”
The Government is “toughening measures for social media and streaming platforms who don’t tackle harmful content”.
Asked whether Netflix should pull the show, the spokesman said: “That will be a matter for them. We are clear that mocking the atrocities of the Holocaust is unacceptable.”
The Government was focused on “making sure that streaming services are more accountable”, he added.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries previously suggested new laws via the Media Bill could hold to account streaming sites for airing jokes such as those made by Carr.
Anti-hate groups such as the not-for-profit organisation Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and The Auschwitz Memorial have condemned the comedian for the joke.
The Traveller Movement, a charity supporting the traveller community in the UK, has also launched a petition calling for Netflix to remove the segment of the programme “which celebrates the Romani genocide”.
It said the joke in question was “truly disturbing and goes way beyond humour”.
On Monday morning, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Times Radio the joke was “horrid”.
He added: “I think we all have a right to react to that, and one of the best ways anyone can react to that is show these platforms what they think about Jimmy Carr by not watching or listening to him, and that will send him a very strong message.”
Carr issued a “trigger warning” to the audience at the beginning of his Netflix special and told viewers it contained “terrible things”.
According to The Mirror, he appeared to address the controversy during a performance at the Whitley Bay Playhouse on Saturday night.
Discussing so-called cancel culture, he told the audience: “The joke that ends my career is already out there.”
Netflix declined to comment.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.