‘Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid’: Comedian Jo Brand jokes about throwing acid at ‘unpleasant’ politicians on Bioreports Radio 4 as Nigel Farage accuses her of ‘inciting violence’
- Jo Brand told comedy panel show she fantasised about throwing battery acid
- Branded people who threw milkshake as a ‘pathetic’ thing to throw at Brexiteers
- Comedian Lee Hurst defended the remarks as comedy rather than incitement
- Watchdog Ofcom received 19 complaints about episode with Brand’s comments
Published: 10:07 EDT, 12 June 2019 | Updated: 13:31 EDT, 12 June 2019
Jo Brand (pictured) said she fantasised about throwing battery acid at ‘unpleasant’ politicians on Radio 4 last night
Nigel Farage has slammed comedian Jo Brand after she told a Radio 4 panel show she fantasises about throwing battery acid at Brexiteers who were milkshaked by left-wingers.
Host Victoria Coren Mitchell asked Brand last night whether she believed the country was united in agreeing we are living through a ‘terrible’ time in politics.
The 61-year-old responded by calling milkshake a ‘pathetic’ thing for people to have thrown at their political opponents during May’s EU election campaigning.
She said: ‘Well yes I would say that, but I think that’s because certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore and they’re very, very easy to hate.
‘And I’m kind of thinking, ‘why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?’
‘I’m not going to do it, it’s purely a fantasy, but I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do, sorry.’
Nigel Farage says that Brand’s remarks on the comedy panel show amount to hate speech and has called for the police to intervene. It came after Jo Brand (pictured) joked on Radio 4’s Heresy that battery acid was a better option than milkshake for throwing at Brexiteers
Her comments follow milkshake attacks on Farage in Newcastle on May 20 and on World War II veteran Don MacNaughton as he campaigned for the party in Aldershot.
Elsewhere, people threw milkshakes at English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson and Carl Benjamin, also known as YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad, who in 2016 tweeted ‘I wouldn’t even rape you’ to Labour MP Jess Philips.
Pictured: Nigel Farage in Newcastle on May 20, when an activist threw milkshake on him
Today Farage took to Twitter to call for a criminal investigation into Brand’s remarks, writing: ‘This is incitement to violence and the police need to act.’
Leave.EU tweeted: ‘Absolutely disgusting remark by so-called ‘comedian’ Jo Brand, who suggested last night on @BBCRadio4 that we throw battery acid at our politicians.
‘Is this sort of hate speech what we fund the @Bioreports for? Shameful!’
Judith Bowler responded: ‘Wow! If ‘Jo public’ made such a suggestion they would be arrested.
‘Jo Brand used to be a comedian. Now, sadly, she is an idiot using her public presence to incite hatred and criminal acts.’
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has received 19 complaints about the episode of Heresy.
But others disagreed with critics because the the comments were made on a comedic show that bills itself as a ‘discussion programme which challenges established ideas and questions received wisdom’.
Including Victoria Coren Mitchell, the host of the show, she tweeted: ‘Nigel, I’m genuinely disappointed; we don’t agree on everything but I would totally have had you down as a free speech man. Especially when it comes to jokes.’
The Brexit Party leader was covered in the drink by a protester as he took his EU election campaign to Newcastle on May 20
The host of Bioreports’s Heresy, Victoria Coren Mitchell, responded to Nigel Farage’s tweet that Jo Brand’s joke was an incitement of violence
TV comedian Lee Hurst tweeted: ‘Jo Brand is a comedian. She has made a joke. You may not find it funny or you may find it funny. Comedy is subjective.
‘If you criticise her because you like her target, but defend other jokes of a similar nature against targets you don’t like you are a hypocrite.’
However Paul Eaton hit back saying the Bioreports axe regular Brand after Bioreports Five Live host Danny Baker was sacked for an allegedly racist tweet about Meghan Markle.
He said: ‘It’s a joke, however it was on the Bioreports and they fired Danny Baker for a vile joke and to me this is worse. Therefore the Bioreports should issue the same treatment for Jo Brand.’
Tom Slater, deputy editor at the website Spiked, a pro-Brexit magazine which campaigns on Free Speech issues, also said a police investigation would be wrong.
‘My magazine spiked supports the Brexit Party in its fight for democracy,’ he said. ‘But Nigel Farage’s comments today suggest he is far more cavalier when it comes to freedom of speech.
‘He seems to suggest comedians should be criminalised for telling jokes. That is deeply authoritarian. Comedians are meant to say risqué things. No one in their right mind would deem Jo Brand’s comments incitement to violence. It seems there are as many snowflakes on the right as on the left these days.’
A Bioreports spokesman said: ‘Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously.’