Christian O’Connell has issued an apology for his distasteful Holocaust joke about “The Diarrhoea of Anne Frank”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism received complaints from listeners who heard Mr O’Connell’s show on Absolute Radio on 8th February. During the show, Mr O’Connell introduced a segment called “Update a classic” in which Mr O’Connell and his guests changed a word in the title of a classic book to comedically bring it up to date. Mr O’Connell’s suggestion was to rename the Diary of Anne Frank: “The Diarrhoea of Anne Frank”, to tittering from his guests, Richie Firth, Emma Jones and Glenn Moore. Mr O’Connell explained: “Diarrhea! She daren’t let go in case the Germans heard her.”
Whilst in hiding, Anne Frank and her family did indeed have to avoid flushing the toilet to avoid the noise giving away their hiding place. They were eventually discovered and all but Anne Frank’s father died of disease in concentration camps or were murdered.
Anne Frank died during a typhus outbreak in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp not long before it was liberated by British soldiers. She had been described as bald and shivering, and caring for her sister Margot who was in an even worse condition. Her sister fell from a bunk and died. Anne Frank died days later.
It is unsurprising that many people were upset by Mr O’Connell’s distasteful Holocaust joke.
Campaign Against Antisemitism approached Mr O’Connell through his agent and Mr O’Connell issued the following apology to us: “I do a live show for four hours a day and sometimes, one says something and one instantly regrets it. This was that. As soon as I’d said it I knew it wasn’t acceptable. I genuinely apologise to everyone who was upset by my comments. I was wrong. My show is national across the UK and I go out of my way to make it an inclusive show for all, which is why this is so regrettable. I hope this apology can be taken in the manner it is truly meant.”
Whilst we are pleased that Mr O’Connell has apologised unreservedly, we are disappointed that when we asked when the apology would be broadcast, we received no reply.