Police to investigate Brand over acid joke
Jo Brand, the comedian, is being investigated over allegations of incitement to violence after she joked about throwing acid over politicians. The Metropolitan Police said it had received a complaint about Heresy, the BBC Radio 4 comedy programme in which Brand made her comments. She had been referring to recent milkshake attacks on political candidates, including Nigel Farage. Mr Farage said her comments were an “incitement of violence”.
JO BRAND, the comedian, is being investigated by police over allegations of incitement to violence after she joked about throwing acid over politicians.
The Metropolitan Police said they had received a complaint about a BBC Radio 4 comedy programme in which Brand made her comments. She had been referring to recent milkshake attacks on political candidates, including Nigel Farage, on Heresy, an irreverent comedy chat show.
Brand said: “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? She added: “That’s just me. I’m not going to do it. It’s purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.”
Mr Farage said her comments were an “incitement of violence” and said the police must act, although he claimed he did not make the complaint.
He said: “I’m going to ask Jo Brand and the BBC whether they would like to contribute to the costs of keeping me safe,” a reference to the thousands of pounds he pays for security. “This is way above any norms of free speech.”
He added: “Can you imagine if I was to tell a story like that, about somebody on the other side of me, Anna Soubry or someone like that? The police would knock on my door within 10 minutes.”
Appearing at the Henley Literary Festival yesterday, Brand apologised “for any offence caused” and said her comments had been edited and taken out of context.
Earlier, speaking outside her home in Dulwich, south-east London, she was asked if she would continue working with the BBC and responded: “I’m not employed by the BBC, so how can they sack me?”
A spokesman for Theresa May referred to Brendan Cox, whose wife, the MP Jo Cox, was murdered in 2016. “The Prime Minister has been repeatedly clear that politicians should be able to go about their work and campaign without harassment, intimidation or abuse. I note that Brendan Cox has said violence and intimidation should not be normalised and we should consistently stand against it. The Prime Minister shares this view. It is for the BBC to explain why it considers this to have been appropriate for broadcast.”
The BBC initially defended Brand’s joke but after the police announced their investigation, appeared more contrite and edited out the offending lines for its Sounds app.
A BBC spokesman said: “Panellists often say things that are deliberately provocative … but are not intended to be taken seriously. Comedy will always push boundaries and will continue to do so.” He added: “We regret any offence we have caused.”
Victoria Coren Mitchell, the show’s host, said that Brand’s comment was “an edgy, naughty joke from a kind and funny woman”. The police said that inquiries were ongoing.
Jo Brand, the comedian, was unrepentant as she left her home yesterday but later apologised