Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

Nigel Farage loses it at BBC ruling over ‘appalling’ Jo Brand joke – ‘Outrageous!’ | UK | News

During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Heresy show in June, comedian Jo Brand – referring to political figures who had been hit by milkshakes – said: “I’m thinking: why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid.” After making the remark, Brand added: “I’m not going to do it, it’s purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic.” The BBC today ruled that the joke “went beyond what was appropriate” for a Radio 4 comedy show, but did not incite violence.

But Nigel Farage was enraged by the ruling, fuming on his LBC radio show: “Unbelievable.

“That was said a couple of weeks after a milkshake was thrown over me.

“There is no other senior political figure who had a milkshake thrown over them so there is nobody else it could possibly be about.

“I thought the whole thing was pretty appalling.

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“By the way, every one of you listening has to pay over £150-a-year to the BBC if you even have a TV in your house.”

Reacting to the BBC’s ruling, he said: “They have their own Executive Complaints Unit who said that they thought the joke went beyond what was appropriate, but they have concluded that the ECU does not uphold the aspects of complaints on incitement of violence.

“So it’s fine, just carry on. Why not Jo Brand go a bit further? Urge stabbings or shootings? Why not? The BBC won’t sanction you, indeed they’ll go on paying you lots and lots of money.

“This really does get to an issue I think many of us are concerned about, the BBC: overfunded, not politically straight forward, self-regulating and never take action against anybody whatsoever.”

In a summary of the BBC’s ECU decision, findings said: “Whilst the ECU recognised that the wider message from this episode is an argument for more civility in political discourse, not less, and Ms Brand’s contribution is not intended to be taken as face value, the ECU felt that it went beyond what was appropriate for the show.”

“So it was partially upheld against generally accepted standards of BBC output. The ECU also noted that in the right context and with the right treatment, there is no subject matter which should be beyond the scope of comedy.”

A BBC spokesman explained in the immediate aftermath of the joke’s telling: “Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously.”


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Mr Farage has himself been forced to deny encouraging violence after he told an audience in 2017 he would “don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front lines” if Theresa May failed to deliver Brexit.

A spokesman for the then-Ukip leader later said his comments were taken out of context and that the part was “opposed to any type of violence”.

Mr Farage’s complaint also contrasts to a claim he made in his 2010 autobiography, Fighting Bull.

He wrote: “Freedom of speech and belief is not subject to approval by a transitory authority. It is absolute or it is nothing. Such was and remains my conviction. And oh, it has got me into some delicious trouble.”

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