The Cambridge Labour Leader of Cambridge City Council and the Traveller Movement have issued a joint statement on the upcoming appearance by Jimmy Carr at Cambridge Corn Exchange, owned by Cambridge City Council, on 16th February.
Labour leader Councillor Anna Smith and Chief Executive of the Traveller Movement, Yvonne McNamara have condemned the deeply offensive comments made by Carr in relation to the Porrajmos (the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Roma and Sinti population during World War 2) and the subsequent impact of these comments on GRT communities in the UK, still living with racism and discrimination.
Labour Leader Cllr Anna Smith, said:
“Like so many in Cambridge and beyond, I have been utterly horrified by these comments. Genocide is not a subject for mockery. Whilst the Council is contractually obliged to go ahead with this venue booking, it will be using the event to demonstrate Cambridge’s solidarity with GRT communities. At Wednesday’s show, the Corn Exchange will be lit up both as a mark of solidarity with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and in remembrance of the victims of the Porrajmos. Information leaflets about historic and current racism towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will also be distributed at the venue. We believe it is important to take this stand in support of GRT communities in recognising that mocking genocide has no place in our society.”
She further added:
“The Council has also put in place safeguards to ensure this content will not be repeated in Cambridge. Comedian Jimmy Carr’s management team have assured the City Council that none of the content from the Netflix showing of ‘His Dark Material’ will be used in the Corn Exchange show when he appears there this week.”
Chief Executive of the Traveller Movement, Yvonne McNamara commented:
“It’s hard to over-stress the hurt and distress these comments have caused. We welcome the stand taken by Cambridge City Council and hope others will now follow suit. There are many still living who witnessed the brutality of what happened, and many more who lost their families. Making a joke of it is unacceptable. The Traveller Movement has called on Netflix, which aired the His Dark Material special containing the joke in December, to remove the gag and apologise and we have set up a petition which has gained thousands of signatories.
“The GRT community are consistently seen as low-hanging fruit or a legitimate target and many people do not understand that they are a defined ethnic minority whose rights are protected by law. These comments are not only deeply offensive but are likely to lead to a steep rise in racism experienced by these communities.”
Lead councillor for Equalities, Cllr Mairead Healy also commented:
“We utterly condemn these comments made by Jimmy Carr. We are absolutely committed to working with, and supporting marginalized communities, including our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, who are amongst some of the most discriminated against in this country. We have demonstrated our commitment to GRT communities through our motion passed at full council in 2021, in relation to the Policing Bill and will continue to ensure we stand up for GRT communities who experience discrimination and some of the worst outcomes across all areas of policy. Comments like those made by Carr, only exacerbate the discrimination already experienced by these communities.”