A terrified Jewish theatregoer who was hounded out of London’s Soho Theatre when a comedian unfurled a Palestinian flag and led chants telling him to leave has told MailOnline how he feared the comic was going to ‘punch’ him.
‘Absurdist’ comedian Paul Currie is alleged to have encouraged the 200-strong crowd to chant ‘get the f*** out’ and ‘free Palestine’ at Liahav Eitan at the central London theatre – which used to be a synagogue – on Saturday night.
Mr Eitan, who was out celebrating his 33rd birthday with a friend, has revealed how he was left terrified of the ‘mob mentality’ and has called for Currie to be banned from theatres.
Audience members were left feeling ‘uneasy’ when Currie, who performed hours after attending a pro-Palestine rally in London, pulled out a Ukraine flag followed by a Palestine flag at the end of his one-hour show and demanded a standing ovation.
He then confronted Mr Eitan and his friend because they stayed sat down and told him they had enjoyed the show until the Palestine flag came out. Currie has not responded to requests for comment.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Mr Eitan, who moved from Israel to London five years ago, said: ‘I don’t think theatres should book this person. He seemed violent and dangerous.’
The software engineer, whose seats were behind the stage, added: ‘We had to actually get on the stage quite close to him – and I was quite afraid that he’d throw a punch because he was still cursing and shouting.
‘He got out his Palestine flag again and shouted “motherf***er you’ll have to watch it again on your way out”.’
Liahav Eitan (pictured) was hounded out of London’s Soho Theatre after comedian Paul Currie encouraged his audience to chant ‘get the f*** out’ and ‘free Palestine’
Paul Currie is an ‘absurdist’ comedian who is from Belfast. He is alleged to have told an Israeli man and his friends to leave his show
Mr Eitan and his friend fled from the Soho Theatre to Bloomsbury in a bid to move away from the venue, where the crowd were spilling out soon after they left.
He continued: ‘From the audience, we were mostly scared. We wanted to get out of the of the situation. It seemed like a bit of a mob mentality that could go sour any second.
‘So we were just afraid of violence. That’s why we didn’t linger right? We just wanted to get out of there.’
Mr Eitan added: ‘[We were] mostly scared about how that room might turn against us. From the comedian, I didn’t feel any sort of way like I thought it really reflected on him rather than on us.’
Recalling how the night unfolded, Mr Eitan explained how he and his friend had booked last-minute tickets to see Currie because they had time to kill before a birthday dinner at 9.30pm.
Mr Eitan said that while the show was ‘bizarre’, everything was fine until Currie unfurled the flags and asked the audience to stand up. He said he didn’t believe it was fair to compare the Palestine and Ukraine conflicts but he just stayed sat and didn’t do anything.
He explained: ‘If I was closer to the door, maybe I would have left at that stage. But as it was, I just waited five minutes for the for the show to end.
‘When it ended, a lot of the people got up and clapped. There was a bit of a standing ovation there and me and my friends just stayed sat down quietly and not clapping.
‘I didn’t mean to make any point of it right? I just didn’t really enjoy that bit.’
Currie, who often shares pro-Palestine content, is then said to have shown his appreciation to the crowd for coming before sarcastically thanking Mr Eitan and his friend for not standing up and clapping.
The Soho Theatre was where the shocking incident occurred. It also used to be a synagogue
The Soho Theatre issued a full apology for the incident and said that they would be investigating
Mr Eitan said that Currie ‘lingered’ on them for around five to ten seconds until he responded: ‘Thank you for that Palestine flag’.
Currie then seemed ‘quite taken aback’ and asked Mr Eitan if he was being sarcastic.
‘Then he said something like, “Okay, well, you’re welcome. You’re welcome for the Palestine flag. It was part of the show.”
‘And then he came back to me again and said, “Did you enjoy the show?” I said, “Yes, up until that point”. And he said, “Ah up until that point”.
‘Then he just turns back to me and starts screaming, “I’m from Belfast. I know everything about ceasefires. Ceasefire now, get the f*** out of my of my theatre. Get out, get the f*** out of my show, motherf***ers.”
Mr Eitan said he then asked his friend if they should grab their things and go before they calmly attempted to leave.
‘Unfortunately, when the entire crowd was still inside, the only way out was through the stage,’ he added.
Coming close with the comedian on stage, Mr Eitan said Currie started a ‘public chant of “Ceasefire now, and free Palestine” as he ‘tried to incite the crowd’.
He added: ‘I didn’t look at him on the way out. We just left.’
The Soho Theatre has apologised for the ‘upset and hurt’ caused by the incident to some of their customers and will be investigating what happened.
They wrote: ‘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 of 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 welcoming and inclusive place for all.’
Paul Currie at a pro-Palestine march
Campaign Against Antisemitism said they are assisting Jewish guests who were allegedly hounded out of the Soho Theatre in London.
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.’
MailOnline has contacted Paul Currie for comment.