Friday, February 23, 2024

Comedian ‘screamed at Israeli man to leave show for not cheering Palestine flag’

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A comedian has been accused of antisemitism after reportedly “kicking out” an Israeli audience member who refused to take part in a standing ovation for a Palestine flag. Paul Currie was performing at the Soho Theatre on Dean Street on Saturday, February 10 when the alleged incident took place.

In an anonymous letter shared on social media, an audience member detailed the alleged incident that left them feeling “uneasy”. According to the letter, Mr Currie had pulled “props” from a box containing “one Ukrainian flag” and “one Palestinian flag”.

The letter claims: “The comedian had encouraged the audience to stand at the end of the show, a kind of standing ovation, and when we all sat down again, he looked towards a young man sat in the second row and said ‘you didn’t stand, why?’

“The young man, who soon after we discovered was Israeli, replied: ‘I enjoyed your show until you brought out the Palestinian flag’.”

After this, the alleged incident escalated as the comedian reportedly “screamed” at the young man.

The letter continues: “Paul Currie retorted ‘get out of my show’, which instantaneously escalated in to screaming at this young man, repeatedly shouting ‘leave my f***ing show now’.”

The audience member in question was said to have risen to leave, while the person who wrote the letter, along with his wife and two friends, also chose to exit as they “didn’t want to be part of an antisemitic rant”. They also added the incident left them feeling “unsafe”.

The letter continues: “By the time we exited, what felt like the entire audience were up on their feet shouting ‘free Palestine’ and ‘get out’! Shaken and feeling threatened by the growing antagonism, we exited and tried to complain and get some support from the front-of-house team at the theatre, who were not very sympathetic but did give us an email address to make a complaint. By this time, the show had ended and the audience started exiting, a number of whom were glaring at us aggressively and in a very threatening way. We all left the scene.”

The audience member behind the letter concluded: “What had been intended to be an evening of comedy turned out to be what felt like an antisemitic rally.”

It was the third night of Paul Currie’s show ‘Shtoom’ which was described as a “completely non-verbal comedy show”.

According to the audience member, there were around 200 people in attendance on Saturday.

Express.co.uk has contacted Paul Currie and the Soho Theatre for comment. A spokesperson for Soho Theatre told Express.co.uk: “We are sorry and saddened by an incident that took place at our venue at the end of a performance of Paul Currie: Shtoom on Saturday 10 February which has caused upset and hurt to members of audience attending and others. We take this very seriously and are looking into the detail of what happened as thoroughly, as sensitively, and as quickly as we can. It is important to us that Soho Theatre is a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “What the Jewish audience-members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account.

“These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theatres is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.”

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