Theatre bans Belfast comedian for 'verbal abuse' of Jewish audience members

Theatre bans Belfast comedian for 'verbal abuse' of Jewish audience members

A Jewish man has claimed a Belfast comedian swore and told him to leave a theatre while inciting a crowd to chant against him after a Palestinian flag was unveiled.

Paul Currie has been banned by the Soho Theatre in London after he allegedly verbally abused Jewish members of the audience and told them to leave the comedy gig on Saturday evening.

Liahav Eitan, who had been celebrating his 33rd birthday, said it occurred at the end of Currie’s hour-long show Shtoom, after Ukrainian and Palestinian flags were unveiled.

Mr Eitan told the BBC he found the comparison between the two flags “pretty upsetting”, saying he did not “sign up for this political protest”.



He claimed Currie swore at him and his friend after the comedian had asked whether the pair had enjoyed the performance, as they did not stand to applaud.

Mr Eitan said he told Currie he had enjoyed his show until he had displayed the Palestinian flag.

He told the broadcaster: “He kind of turned on us, he started raising his voice, calling us names and using swear words.


“Unfortunately to get to the exit we had to actually go on the stage – we had to pass right in front of him as he was waving again his Palestine flag at us, calling us names and trying to get the entire crowd to chant with him ‘ceasefire now’, with people shouting ‘shame’ and booing us.”

Pretty dangerous

Mr Eitan said the situation felt like it could get “pretty dangerous, pretty quickly”.

He added: “The rest of the crowd was led out through a different door so actually we met all of these people who obviously recognised me for being on the stage.

“[We] saw some pretty unfriendly stares there.”

Jewish audience members were reportedly “hounded out” of the gig, according to the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA)– with others in the audience allegedly shouting “get out” and “free Palestine”.

In a statement, Soho Theatre said: “Such appalling actions are unacceptable and have no place on our stages, now or ever.

“We will not be inviting Paul Currie back to perform at our venue.”

The comedian that does not speak

Currie’s performance is described on the theatre’s website as a “unique, surrealist, Dada punk-clown, non-verbal experience” in which the Belfast comedian does not speak.

The theatre, which is a registered charity and used to be a synagogue, added that it was consulting with the police and working with the CAA to “safeguard the much-valued inclusivity” of the venue.

A police spokesperson said on Monday: “We are aware of the incident that took place at the Soho Theatre on Saturday evening.

“A report was submitted to the police on Monday and enquiries are ongoing.”

The UK Charity Commission has said it is assessing information “to determine if there is a role” for the regulator.

Currie has been contacted for comment.

By Ted Hennessey, Piers Mucklejohn, PA & Beat News

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