Comedian Jimmy Carr has been condemned by anti-hate groups for an “abhorrent” and “truly disturbing” Holocaust joke in his latest Netflix special.
A clip from Carr’s show, His Dark Material, which surfaced to widespread criticism at the weekend, shows him making light of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from Europe’s traveller communities during World War II.
Carr’s stand-up routine was released on Netflix on Christmas Day but it wasn’t until clips were shared widely online that the backlash emerged.
It follows Carr quipping during recent gigs in Britain that “the joke that ends my career is already out there.”
“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. But they never mention the thousands of gypsies that were killed by the Nazis,” Carr says in the clip.
“No one ever wants to talk about that, because no one ever wants to talk about the positives.”
Between 200,000 and 500,000 Roma and Sinti people were murdered by the Nazis, according to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
The charity’s chief executive Olivia Marks-Woldman said it was “absolutely appalled” by Carr’s comments on the persecution suffered by Roma and Sinti people under Nazi oppression.
Ms Marks-Woldman added the charity was “horrified that gales of laughter followed his remarks”, as the crowd greeted the joke with applause during the special.
“Hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti people suffered prejudice, slave labour, sterilisation and mass murder simply because of their identity – these are not experiences for mockery,” she said.
The Traveller Movement, a charity that supports the traveller community in the UK, called the segment “truly disturbing” and said that it went “way beyond humour.”
“Joking about the genocide of an ethnic minority is not funny,” it said.
UK’s leading anti-fascism and anti-racism campaign group, Hope Not Hate, said that Carr was celebrating the suffering of the Roma and Sinti people.
It called on Netflix to “take action”. The streaming service is yet to comment on the matter.
The Auschwitz Memorial asked Carr to “learn about the fate of some 23 thousand Roma & Sinti deported to Auschwitz.”
It’s sad to hear words that can fuel prejudice, hurt people & defile memory of their tragedy,” it tweeted.
Britain’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the jokes were “abhorrent and they just shouldn’t be on television”.
Carr is yet to respond publicly to the uproar. But later in the Netflix special, he defended the joke as having educational value – and said it was “f—ing funny”.
“It’s a joke about the worst thing that’s ever happened in human history, and people say ‘never forget’. Well, this is how I remember,” he said.
“There is an educational quality. Like everyone in the room knows six million Jewish people lost their lives to the Nazis during the Second World War. But a lot of people don’t know, because it’s not really taught in our schools, that the Nazis also killed, in their thousands, gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and Jehovah’s Witnesses.”