Jewish ‘verbal abuse’ Belfast comic banned by theatre

Paul CurriePaul Currie
Paul Currie
​A London theatre has banned a Belfast comedian after Jewish audience members claimed they were "subjected to verbal abuse" and made to feel "unsafe".

The Soho Theatre said Paul Currie would not be invited back to perform at the West End theatre following an incident on Saturday evening which allegedly saw the comedian "aggressively demand" Jewish members of the audience leave the venue.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said it had been told by a Jewish audience member that Currie led his audience in "discriminatory chanting" and demanded to know why one Israeli attendee did not stand and applaud when a Ukrainian and Palestinian flag were unveiled.

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In a statement, Soho Theatre said: "Such appalling actions are unacceptable and have no place on our stages, now or ever.

"We will not be inviting Paul Currie back to perform at our venue."

The incident occurred at the end of Currie's hour-long show Shtoom, a performance described on the theatre's website as a "unique, surrealist, Dada punk-clown, non-verbal experience" in which the Belfast comedian does not speak.

Jewish audience members were then reportedly "hounded out" of the gig, which had an audience of about 200, according to the CAA - with others in the audience allegedly shouting "get out" and "free Palestine".

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"Whilst we robustly support the rights of artists to express a wide range of views in their shows, intimidation of audience members, acts of antisemitism or any other forms of racism will not be tolerated," the theatre said.

The theatre, which is a registered charity and used to be a synagogue, added that it was consulting with the Metropolitan Police and working with the CAA to "safeguard the much-valued inclusivity" of the venue.

A Met Police spokesperson said on Monday: "We are aware of the incident that took place at the Soho Theatre on Saturday evening."

"A report was submitted to the police on Monday and enquiries are ongoing," they added.

The Charity Commission has said it is assessing information "to determine if there is a role" for the regulator.

Currie has been contacted for comment.