Campaign Against Antisemitism is assisting Jewish guests who were reportedly hounded out of the Soho Theatre in London.
We are reviewing legal options after comedian Paul Currie allegedly led his audience in discriminatory chanting.
According to a statement provided to Campaign Against Antisemitism by one Jewish attendee, who wished to remain anonymous, the incident occurred on Saturday during the one-hour “Shtoom” show, attended by approximately 200 people.
Towards the end of the performance, Mr Currie introduced two props – a Ukrainian flag and a Palestinian Authority flag – and urged everyone to stand and applaud, apparently in support of the causes with which those flags have become associated, creating discomfort among some attendees in relation to the Palestinian Authority flag.
The Palestinian Authority pays salaries to terrorists and the families of terrorists who succeed in killing Jews, distributes antisemitic teaching materials, and was widely involved in celebration of the 7th October atrocity, which was the worst antisemitic massacre since the Holocaust.
“When we all sat down again, [Mr Currie] looked towards a young man sitting in the second row and said ‘You didn’t stand, why? Didn’t you enjoy my show?’,” recounted the attendee.
“The young man, who we discovered soon after was Israeli, replied ‘I enjoyed your show until you brought out the Palestinian Authority flag’’,” they continued.
According to the attendee, the comedian then yelled at the young man: “Get out of my show. Get the f*** out of here. F*** off, get the f*** out of here.”
This instantaneously escalated into the audience shouting “Get out” and “Free Palestine” until the young man left.
The attendee described feeling a sense of considerable discomfort as the situation unfolded, particularly as Mr Currie’s interactions with the Israeli audience member became increasingly confrontational. The attendee decided to leave the theatre too, along with their friends.
Shaken, they approached a front-of-house manager to report what had happened. However, the staff member was said to be unhelpful and distracted with her other tasks. She allegedly told them to “back off and stand further away from her” and that they “support free speech at Soho Theatre” and urged them to send the theatre an e-mail.
As they exited the theatre, they encountered a tense atmosphere among some audience members, further reinforcing their sense of marginalisation and ostracisation.
“Our friends later received a message from someone they knew who had also been at the show, saying that after we left, the situation became even more inflamed,” they reported. “The chanting carried on for quite some time. Currie turned to the audience and said: ‘I may get into trouble for this. Can you ensure you write some positive stuff about me on social media?’”
The attendee told us: “Leaving the theatre, I felt threatened. I didn’t know if I was going to get physically assaulted. We were all shaken. We were extremely upset and anxious.”
He also said that his initial reaction after the alleged incident was: “I don’t want to go into central London anymore.
“It felt like we were welcome in the theatre as long as our identities of Jews weren’t known, and the minute our identities were known, we felt threatened.”
The Soho Theatre released a statement today on Twitter in which they said: “We are sorry and saddened by an incident that took place at our venue at the end of a performance of Paul Currie: Shtoom on Saturday 10 February which has caused upset and hurt to members of audience attending and others.
“We take this very seriously and are looking into the detail of what happened as thoroughly, as sensitively, and as quickly as we can. It is important to us that Soho Theatre is a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”
We have contacted Paul Currie for comment.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “What the Jewish audience-members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account. These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theatres is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any further information is asked to contact us in confidence on +44 (0)330 822 0321 (option 2) or at [email protected].