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February 8, 2022 3:09 pm
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Jimmy Carr Says ‘I’m Going Down Swinging,’ Blasts ‘Cancel Culture’ Amid Holocaust Joke Controversy

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Jimmy Carr in his Netflix special “Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material.” Photo: Screenshot.

British-Irish comedian Jimmy Carr criticized “cancel culture” on Sunday after thousands signed a petition to have Netflix remove his new stand-up comedy special because of offensive comments he made about the Holocaust.

In “Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material,” released in late December, the comedian, 49, tells the audience there was a “positive” outcome to the Holocaust: that so many Roma and Sinti people — sometimes referred to as gypsies, a term that can have derogatory connotations — were murdered by the Nazis.

“When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of six million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine,” Carr said in the comedy special. “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.”

Carr described the joke, which drew laughter and a large round of applause from the audience, as “educational” because “a lot of people don’t know … that the Nazis also killed, in their thousands, gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

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His comments sparked a petition, already signed by more than 17,000 people, that calls on Netflix to take down “His Dark Material” from the platform. Others on social media are urging Netflix subscribers to boycott the streaming platform, or to boycott the comedian himself. Even British Health Secretary Sajid Javid called the joke “horrid” on Times Radio and urged people not to watch Carr’s special.

On Sunday, Carr addressed the controversy at a stop on his stand-up tour in the United Kingdom. When a fan asked, “Are we going to talk about the Holocaust?” Carr replied, “We are going to talk about cancel culture, the whole thing,” according to Mirror.

“We are speaking, my friends, in the last chance saloon. What I am saying on stage this evening is barely acceptable now. In 10 years, f**king forget about it,” he said. “I am going to get cancelled, that’s the bad news. The good news is I am going down swinging.”

He called his crack about the Holocaust “the joke that ends my career” and said, “It’s on YouTube, Netflix, or whatever, and it’s fine until one day it f**king isn’t.” He also told the audience, “You are going to be able to tell your grandchildren about seeing this show tonight. You will say I saw a man and he stood on a stage and he made light of serious issues. We used to call them jokes and people would laugh.”

He then quipped that he has a “rare psychological disorder that causes people to tell inappropriate jokes.”

On Friday, British parliamentarian Nadia Whittome sent a letter to Netflix leadership requesting the immediate removal of Carr’s comedy special from the platform. “In funding, streaming and profiting from this material, Netflix is legitimizing and perpetuating racism,” Whittome argued.

That same day, the UK’s Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said it was “absolutely appalled” at Carr’s comments “and horrified that gales of laughter followed his remarks.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti people suffered prejudice, slave labour, sterilization and mass murder simply because of their identity — these are not experiences for mockery,” it added.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also weighed in on Monday, saying in a statement, “These comments are deeply disturbing and it is unacceptable to make light of genocide. Broadly we are looking at toughening measures for social media and streaming platforms who don’t tackle harmful content on their platforms and … we are looking at regulatory changes for those streaming companies.”

When asked if Netflix should remove Carr’s comedy show, the spokesperson said, “That will be a matter for them, we are clear that mocking the atrocities of the Holocaust is unacceptable. What we are focused on is making sure that the streaming services are more accountable and moving forward with our legislation.”

Others have risen to Carr’s defense, including peers like Konstantin Kisin, a Jewish comedian born in the Soviet Union.

“If you look historically at places that censor comedy, they’re not good places to live,” Kisin said Tuesday on “Good Morning Britain.” “They’re not the good guys, the people who are trying to restrict what you can and can’t say.”

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