Victoria Coren Mitchell brands Leo Kearse joke ‘racist’ : News 2022 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide

Twitter clash over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe comments on GB News

Victoria Coren Mitchell has called out Leo Kearse, claiming jokes he made about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe were ‘racist’

After the jailed charity worker was freed from Iran – once Britain settle a £400million debt – the comic joked on GB News that Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘was Iranian for “ungrateful”‘ and suggested she had been ‘radicalised’.

After the clip was shared by the channel, Coren Mitchell tweeted: ‘If this stumbly, cackling, racist incompetence is what GB News puts out as a TRAILER… what on earth is the rest of it like?!’

Kearse fired back: ‘According to @VictoriaCoren, my comments about Nazanin Zaghari-Markle are “racist”. Could anyone explain this? Even putting myself in the mindset of an overthinking self-loathing white savior wokeist I can’t stretch to find the racism.’

The Only Connect host responded: ‘Zaghari-Markle? I don’t know whether the irony is greater if you meant that deliberately or if you typed it by mistake! Look, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I’m very pro-comedy and I respect your freedom to say whatever you want. I just thought the program looked shit’.

In a long series of tweets, Coren Mitchell explained exactly why she thought the remarks were racist, defending a comedian’s right to joke about what they wish – but also to be criticized for it.

But Kearse said he was criticizing a person not a race and suggested HE was the victim of a hate crime.

‘It should be considered a hate crime to accuse someone of being racist without any evidence or justification. Smearing someone as racist is certainly an easy way to stir up hatred and violence against them’, he argued online.

‘@VictoriaCoren instigating a witch-hunt against me, then failing to substantiate the accusations of witchery, and making me read a 5,000 word essay, shows the heights of her privilege and the depths of her character.’

Last month, Coren Mitchell voiced support for Jimmy Carr amid the furore over his joke about the gypsy Holocaust, and she accepted people might call her hypocrite for calling out Kearse.

She told him via Twitter: ‘I have publicly defended Jeremy Clarkson’s joke about shooting strikers, I’ve written in support of Jim Davidson, I’ve surrounded this whole thing with a constant celebration of your freedom….

‘Comedy is the greatest art form, freedom is vital to it like oxygen to plants, and more power to your elbow in future.’

Coren Mitchell has long been a supporter of the Zaghari-Ratcliffe, highlighting the efforts of the charity worker’s husband to get his wife home.

Earlier this week we reported how GB News was piloting a panel show with Kearse and fellow comic Diane Spencer – who also featured in the Zaghari-Ratcliffe clip – as team captains and Steve N Allen as host.

Published: 25 Mar 2022

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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