COMEDIAN Jimmy Carr has been widely criticised after a joke from one of his shows referencing the killing of Gypsies during the Holocaust was shared online.
MP David Lammy said the comments were a "sickening celebration of genocide", while the Traveller Movement charity has launched a petition calling on Netflix to remove the offending material.
In the clip, Carr says people don't mention "the thousands of Gypsies killed by the Nazis… because no one ever wants to talk about the positives".
According to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, between 200,000 and 500,000 Roma and Sinti people were murdered by the Nazis.
The clip is from Carr's Netlfix special His Dark Material, which was released at Christmas, but the furore only began on Friday after the comments were highlighted on social media.
Politicians, Traveller organisations and Holocaust charities are among those to have condemned the comments.
A petition from the Traveller Movement, which supports the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities, urged Carr to apologise and called on Netflix to remove the material.
Jimmy Carr's "joke" – that a "positive" of the Holocaust was the slaughter of 500,000 Gypsy, Roma and Siniti people – is disgusting beyond words. Mocking racist genocide has no place in comedy or a decent society.
I call on @netflix to remove this grotesque material.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) February 4, 2022
"We appreciate that comedy is subjective but in our view when punchlines are indistinguishable from the genuinely-held views of fascists and Neo-Nazis, a line has very clearly been crossed," reads the petition.
"Ethnic Gypsies, Roma, and Travellers experience sustained and widespread discrimination in contemporary society — with recent polling indicating as many as 50 per cent people hold negative opinions of them, and material like this normalises further discrimination, and even violence, against already marginalised communities."
MPs speak out
In a letter to Netflix, Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, accused the streaming service of 'perpetuating racism'.
"In funding, streaming and profiting from this material, Netflix is legitimising and perpetuating racism," she wrote.
She added: "I urge you not to wait for tougher regulations to do the right thing and immediately remove this programme from Netflix."
Jimmy Carr’s attack on the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community is utterly despicable. It was only last week we commemorated the Holocaust. @Netflix should remove his sickening celebration of genocide immediately. https://t.co/uoHGWkWXZV
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 4, 2022
On twitter, party colleagues Mr Lammy and Zarah Sultana also called for the show to be removed.
Lammy, MP for Tottenham, described the comments as "utterly despicable", while Coventry South MP Sultana said they were "disgusting beyond words".
Mary Kelly Foy, Labour MP for Durham, also wrote to Netflix asking for the show to be removed, saying the comments risk fuelling hostility to a GRT community "already subject to appalling racism and discrimination".
'Gales of laughter'
Olivia Marks-Woldman, CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said she was 'appalled' by the comments.
"We are absolutely appalled at Jimmy Carr's comment about persecution suffered by Roma and Sinti people under Nazi oppression, and horrified that gales of laughter followed his remarks," she said.
"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."
Meanwhile, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said there were no positives to be taken from the Holocaust, while the Auschwitz Museum urged Carr to educate himself on the fate of the Roma and Sinti.
Jimmy Carr’s ‘joke’ suggesting the systematic genocide of gypsies during the Holocaust was a ‘good thing’ is breathtakingly racist. The truly disturbing thing isn’t just the gag, it’s that on hearing it, instead of leaving, the audience clapped, whooped and cheered in approval👇🏻 https://t.co/tlsbVYIpa9
— Robert Rinder MBE (@RobbieRinder) February 4, 2022
Other high-profile figures have condemned Carr's comments.
Author Philip Pullman, who wrote the similarly-titled but unrelated book series His Dark Materials, said the comments were "abominable [and] sickening".
Meanwhile, TV star and barrister Judge Rinder described the comments as "breathtakingly racist".
The Irish Post has attempted to contact Netflix and Mr Carr’s management agency for comment.