The BBC has defended Jo Brand against claims she incited violence by talking about throwing battery acid at “unpleasant characters”.
When asked by presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell if she thought that the country is living through a “terrible time, from a parliamentary point of view”, she responded: “Well, yes, I would say that, but I think that’s because certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they’re very very easy to hate. And I’m kind of thinking ‘why bother with a milkshake, when you could get some battery acid?'”
She then followed-up with: “I’m not going to do it, it’s purely a fantasy, but I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.”, however these words were cut out of widely-shared audio clips posted on social media.
Her comments in the show – Series 11, Episode 1, broadcast on Tuesday at 6:30pm – has lead to complaints.
Nigel Farage, who was doused in milkshake whilst on the campaign trail – added to his social media account, “This is incitement of violence and the police need to act.”
The BBC says the jokes made on Heresy are “deliberately provocative, as the title implies”, adding the panellists’ statements were “not intended to be taken seriously.”
At the end of the episode, Coren Mitchell commented: “I think it might be a slightly risky time to make this series, which was originally set up to test the boundaries of what it is OK to say and not say. Good luck us in 2019. We’ll be back next week… or will we?”
Later, responding to Farage on Twitter, she said: “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.”
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. https://t.co/9Ya7THiAmU— Victoria Coren Mitchell (@VictoriaCoren) June 12, 2019
She also encouraged her followers to listen to the full episode, for the full context:
Beware the clip going round that deliberately cuts off the part where Jo openly spells out that she’s joking and doesn’t mean it. Here is the whole programme:https://t.co/1fzIN2yEmL(with the jokes, the context, and our moral which is all about being kind to each other.)– Victoria Coren Mitchell (@VictoriaCoren) June 12, 2019