Jimmy Carr has been criticised over a joke about the Holocaust and the travelling community in Netflix special His Dark Material.
In the stand-up special, released on December 25 last year, the comedian refers to the death of thousands of travellers killed by the Nazis as a “positive”.
“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,” Carr said. “But they never mention the thousands of Gypsies that were killed by the Nazis. No one ever wants to talk about that, because no one ever wants to talk about the positives.”
Carr goes onto explain why he believes it’s a good joke, describing it as “fucking funny”, “edgy as hell” with some educational value.
“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. I keep bringing it up,” Carr said.
“There is an educational quality. Like everyone in the room knows 6 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.”
Since the joke has circulated online, The Traveller Movement – a charity supporting the traveller community in the UK – has launched a petition calling for Netflix to remove segments from the special which “celebrate the Romani genocide”.
We’ve launched a petition to Netflix calling for the removal of the segments of His Dark Material which celebrates the Romani genocide.
— The Traveller Movement (@GypsyTravellerM) February 4, 2022
Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, also urged Netflix to remove Carr’s “vile anti-GRT and antisemitic material”. Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, called Carr’s comments “disgusting beyond words”.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, released a statement condemning Carr’s 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 laughters followed his remarks.
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
I have written urging Netflix to remove Jimmy Carr’s vile anti-GRT and antisemitic material.
I have also requested an update from @DCMS on progress to bring streaming platforms under Ofcom regulation.
My full solidarity with GRT communities, today and always. pic.twitter.com/We6MRJVyjb
— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) February 4, 2022
Here is a statement from our CEO @OliviaRMW on the abhorrent jokes made by Jimmy Carr about the Roma genocide.
— Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (@HMD_UK) February 4, 2022
“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.”
NME has reached out to Netflix and Jimmy Carr’s representatives for comment.
At the beginning of the special, Carr warns the audience about the show’s contents, saying: “Trigger warning. Tonight’s show contains jokes about terrible things. Terrible things that may have affected you and the people that you love. But these are just jokes. They’re not terrible things.”