Veteran BBC presenter Andrew Neil was forced to tell former Labour Party Leader Harriet Harman to “be quiet” after she repeated a disgusting Holocaust ‘joke’ live on air.
Mr Neil was discussing offensive jokes with his guests on the BBC’s This Week, and the troubles of Michael Gove who apologised for joking about sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein. Ms Harman took the opportunity to tell Mr Neil about two offensive jokes she had previously protested about. She said: “I have long been accused of being a humourless feminist but I will give you two examples that I protested about because they were offensive and hurtful…People like Andrew [Neil] say that these things are perfectly alright. Two jokes. One was: ‘How do you get 100 Jews into a Mini? One in the drivering seat, and 99 in the ashtray.’ That is not funny.”
Ms Harman was about to tell the second ‘joke’ when Mr Neil interrupted: “Well we’ll stop with that one example and we won’t bother with the minute’s silence that you would dare to think what I would think about that because you have no knowledge of that at all.” Mr Neil then turned to another guest but Ms Harman tried to comment further, to which Mr Neil fumed: “Be quiet”.
Last month Mr Neil gave a speech at a fundraising dinner for the Holocaust Education Trust at which he spoke of the dangers of rising left-wing antisemitism.
We do not consider Ms Harman’s recounting of the Holocaust ‘joke’ to be antisemitic because she was trying to use it in order to illustrate a point about offensive jokes, but it does demonstrate shockingly poor judgement for a former Leader of the Labour Party that she chose to repeat the ‘joke’ on air and we applaud Mr Neil for his firm rebuke.