February 01, 2009

Now we know who to send the *** to; police probe Jo Brand's anti-BNP joke

Comedienne Jo Brand is at the centre of a police investigation over quips she made on the comedy programme that temporarily replaced Jonathan Ross’s TV chat show. A senior producer on the Friday night Live At The Apollo show has been questioned by the Metropolitan Police about the incident.

Ironically, the six-show series only hit the airwaves as a ‘fill-in’ while Ross served his suspension after the fallout over the lewd messages he and Russell Brand left on the answering machine of Andrew Sachs.

The remarks by Jo Brand concerned the leaking of the British National Party’s membership list. Brand, 51 – who is a staunch Labour Party supporter – joked that as a result of the list becoming public knowledge on the internet, she now knew the addresses where to send the ‘poo’ through the post.

The details of almost 13,000 BNP members were leaked last November – including those of teachers, solicitors, church ministers and even a doctor and a serving policeman. Their names, addresses and phone numbers were published, exposing many to the risk of vilification, disciplinary action and dismissal from their jobs.

Brand’s routine was a hit with the live audience, who laughed and cheered at her remarks. However, the joke, which was broadcast on the late-night BBC1 show from Hammersmith Apollo on January 16, offended members of the BNP. The following day, Simon Darby, the BNP’s deputy leader, made an official complaint to Hammersmith police alleging that Brand’s comment had been an act of incitement to cause racial harassment.

A police spokesman last night confirmed: ‘We have received a complaint and officers will be reviewing the programme to see if any offences have occurred.’

But a senior police source said: ‘It is an absurd case and very unlikely to get to court. A lot of police time and money appears to have been wasted investigating what for all intents and purposes is just a TV show joke.’

The offending remarks by Brand have been posted online on YouTube. She is seen telling the audience: ‘Let’s start with some important political news. Did you hear this, right, that BNP members and supporters have had their names and addresses published on the internet, hurrah! Now we know who to send the poo to!’

Further complaints from the BNP followed, to the BBC and the police, and a formal review was launched two weeks ago – at an estimated cost of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer.

Officers spoke with the show’s producer about the programme’s content but did not arrest or formally caution him. Miss Brand is believed to have told officers, through her producer: ‘It was just a joke!’

A file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) last week to determine if there is enough evidence for a successful prosecution to be made against Miss Brand or the BBC. A decision will be made by the CPS in the next few days. But a police source said: ‘The chances of this going further are very remote. The idea that the BNP are claiming they are the victim of a race offence is mildly amusing, to say the least.’

Jo Brand’s agent, Vivienne Clore, said: ‘I have spoken to Jo and she thought all this had gone away. She is co-operating with any investigation.’

The Live At The Apollo series was brought in by the BBC as one of the programmes to replace Ross’s Friday night chat show.

Last night the BNP’s Simon Darby said: ‘The BNP is technically an ethnic group and, under Section 26 of the Race Relations Act, we would suggest there are grounds that an offence of incitement to commit racial harassment has been committed.’

A BBC spokesman said last night: ‘We do not comment on police matters. However, we believe the audience would have understood the satirical nature of the remarks.’

Mail Online

18 comments:

DT said...

"Simon Darby said: ‘The BNP is technically an ethnic group...'"

Is it? I don't believe that at all.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! I'd say it was an own goal, however the obvious bias from the reporting may lead to some sympathyfor the evil scumbags.

Anonymous said...

But a senior police source said: ‘It is an absurd case and very unlikely to get to court. A lot of police time and money appears to have been wasted investigating what for all intents and purposes is just a TV show joke.’

Here here.

Jo (not Brand, another one) said...

This is more likely to backfire on the BNP than be useful to them. Jo Brand is a much-loved and respected comedian and people will resent an attack on her for a remark that was simply a joke and that has had no consequences. People will also see the irony in the BNP making a complaint on racial grounds. The problem is that the BNP thinks the British public is completely stupid and it isn't.

Anonymous said...

Racial harassment? The BNP a racial group? I thought they claimed to have Jews and Sikhs in the party as well as white Brits and South African spooks? What the fuck kind of racial group is that?

Anonymous said...

BNP can't take a joke

Far-right party complain about Jo Brand

Members of the far-right BNP have complained to police about a joke Jo Brand cracked on Live At The Apollo.

The comic was questioned by officers after the group’s deputy leader, Simon Darby, claimed that the gag amounted to incitement to cause racial harassment.
Bizarrely, he claimed: ‘The BNP is technically an ethnic group.’

Darby lodged his complained after hearing Brand’s routine about the BNP’s membership list being leaked on to the internet.

In a stand-up routine broadcast on BBC One January 16, Brand said: ‘Let’s start with some important political news. Did you hear this right that BNP members and supporters have had their names and addresses published on the internet? Hurrah! Now we know who to send the poo to.’

Hammersmith police confirmed they had recieved the complaint and interviewed one of the show’s producers. A file has reportedly been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will determine whether there is any evidence to proceed.

But a police source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The BNP aren’t even clear themselves as to what offence she is meant to have committed. The chances of this going any further are very remote.

'It is an absurd case. A lot of police time and money appears to have been wasted investigating what for all intents and purposes is just a joke.’

‘The idea that the BNP are claiming they are the victim of a race offence is mildly amusing, to say the least.’

The BNP’s Richard Barnbrook added: ‘I would like to see Jo Brand charged with something like aggravated assault because as far as we are concerned it is harassment.’

http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2009/01/31/8211/bnp_cant_take_a_joke

Love that line - "Bizarrely, he claimed: ‘The BNP is technically an ethnic group.’ " Fucking idiots.

Heimer said...

Ethnic group, my arse. They're a racist group, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Gee, ive never known the police to act so swiftly, investigation concluded and file already gone to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Must be a record for the Met.

tulip

Anonymous said...

Good joke tho.

Nark Collett said...

"Simon Darby said: ‘The BNP is technically an ethnic group...'"

I didn't get that either - and I'm Nick Griffin (nearly).

Sammy Davis Junior Jr said...

The BNP DOES have a sense of humour and it's reflected in an article today in the Llanelli Star about Peter Hain leading a demo against the party in Neath
http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/news/Hain-protest-BNP-sparks-row-activists/article-661067-detail/article.html

A BNP supporter says "Peter Hain is a foreigner and does not represent the genuine people of Neath."

Peter Hain is a South African - just like Arthur Kemp, Lambertus Newhoff and that Lance Whatsisname, all of whome are involved in high positions in the BNP. In fact, isn't Arthur Kemp regarded as some sort of South African demigod in the party? Strange that a supporter is happy to tolerate a SA friend of Dorothy - I mean, Nick Griffin - dictate how his party is run but isn't happy when the SA opposition to it starts crticising. Hypocrits the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

Lance Stewart. Doesn't sound very South African, does he.

Anonymous said...

Actually Peter Hain was born in Kenya.

Jim Davidson said...

I can't stand Jo Brand but in this case I'll forgive her being a rotten comedian because she had a go at the BNP. Can't think why she supports the Labour Party though.

Sammy Davis Junior Jr said...

"Actually Peter Hain was born in Kenya."

Bugger. I just read that. It doesn't take away from what I said though. The BNP is a party of humourless bastards.

Anonymous said...

Peter Hain was born in Kenya, Arthur Kemp in Rhodesia, and Lance Stewart in London.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh ! Any chance of Kemp being deported back to Southern Rhodesiam as I think he might prefere to call it ?

Old Sailor

Anonymous said...

I suspect this coup d'etat was masterminded by none other than Barnes, the Legal Beagle extraordinaire, himself.