Right-wing extremists have threatened to demonstrate outside the Lancashire show of comedian Russell Howard after the comic poked fun at the organisation on TV.
The funnyman screened news coverage of a recent English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Blackburn on his show, Russell Howard’s Good News, and criticised those involved.
A Facebook group posted by people claiming to represent the EDL Chorley Division appeared, promising to demonstrate outside when the comic performs a sold out tour warm up date at Chorley Little Theatre on May 17, and urging others to join them. Set up by someone calling himself Steve-o NoSurrender Young, the info page says: “Without mention of what we actually stand against, he went into a three minute rant on how ‘thick’ we all are.
“For every action, there is a reaction. We’re going to be loud and he’s going to know we’re there. Hopefully next time he’ll think twice before opening his middle class mouth about things he knows nothing about.”
But he stressed: “Russell is not our enemy, he is our adversary. We are not going there with the intention to cause him, any of his fans or property damage. It will be a peaceful demonstration.”
Other supporters used racist terms for Muslims and made threats. However, the page was overrun by locals opposing the demo. One Chorley resident, Louie Knowles, said: “Look at you wanting to shout and rant out side the theatre while he’s performing. You’re just going to make Chorley (the town I live in) look ‘trampy’ and ‘scummy’. If you all want to go and make your home town look like it’s run by a load of thugs and fighters, go straight ahead.”
And another, Mathilde M. Reinbold, said: “You guys do realise that you’ve basically gone and proved Russell right with this page, don’t you?”
Ian Robinson, president of Chorley Little Theatre, said: “This is a big night for Chorley Little Theatre and the town itself with a show we could have sold out 100 times over. It would be a shame if a fun comedy show was ruined by a few people taking offence at one joke. It would spoil it for the audience, the hard-working theatre volunteers, and may mean Chorley never gets a show like this again. I hope the EDL stay away.”
Lancashire Evening Post
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up