Jacob Rees-Mogg: Jo Brand's 'tasteless' acid joke 'misfired'

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg has declared “tasteless” Jo Brand's joke about throwing battery acid at politicians like Nigel Farage.

Speaking to talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, the Conservative MP said the comedian’s comment was a joke that misfired.

“I think that people ought to be able to make tasteless jokes. There is a borderline when it becomes incitement to violence,” he said.

“If somebody walking along the street said let’s throw battery acid over politicians that would be incitement to violence; when a comedian says it in a show it’s not so clear cut.

“On balance I would not do anything about it.”

Referring to a trend for political campaigners to have milkshake thrown over them, Ms Brand said on the BBC Radio 4 show Heresy: "Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?”.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said her comments were an incitement of violence and that the police should take action.

But Mr Rees-Mogg said he favoured freedom of speech and the BBC should not consider its contract with Ms Brand.

A BBC spokesperson said panellists often say things that are “deliberately provocative” and “not intended to be taken seriously”.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said that, as of Wednesday afternoon, it had received 19 complaints about the radio show, Heresy, on which Ms Brand appeared.

At the end of show, Coren Mitchell said she hoped Ms Brand's remarks had not caused offence but added that the radio series had been set up to "test the boundaries of what it's OK to say and not say".

The quiz host and television personality, 46, later responded to Mr Farage on Twitter, accusing him of double standards.

She wrote: "Nigel! I'm genuinely disappointed; we don't agree on everything, but I would totally have had you down as a free speech man. Especially when it comes to jokes."

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