Steven Cohen and Justice for the 96

By Marcus Dysch
September 7, 2009

In his Times column today, Gabriele Marcotti has picked up on the bitter row in America over “shock jock” Steven Cohen, a former football radio show presenter in the US.

Earlier this year Cohen sparked outrage when, days before the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, he aired his view that Liverpool fans were, essentially, to blame for the deaths of 96 fellow supporters at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between their side and Nottingham Forest.

A few months ago The JC was approached by Cohen and his supporters and urged to run a piece on the vile antisemitic abuse he had received from Liverpool fans following his comments.

Among the nastiest stuff he received were emails which included the lines “you f***ing Jew rodent”, “Hitler killed six million of you, ha ha ha” and “I would be quite happy if he [Cohen] dies in screaming agony quite soon”.

All vile, all shocking, all wrong.

Now is neither the time nor the place to recap the numerous false claims of where blame lies in the Hillsborough tragedy, other than to point out that the official inquiry, the Taylor Report, made clear that the idea ticketless Liverpool fans had caused the crush was categorically untrue.

You would think it impossible to sink lower than to go on national radio and make such sickening remarks about the dead fans, let alone accuse the city of Liverpool of then “milking” the tragedy.

But it seems you would be wrong. To subsequently whore yourself around media outlets claiming to be the injured party is pretty bad, and to then play the antisemitism card is worse still.

Anyone would think that the wave of publicity after his claims in April would have taught Cohen to shut his mouth and crawl back under his stone. Obviously not.

Big mouth with a microphone he may once have been. But this was a gag too far. Now he is just another gobby Londoner with too much to say for himself.

Antisemitism is never acceptable, never. I have myself been a victim of antisemitic abuse (ironically at a football match) and know, as so many of our readers do, just how upsetting and hurtful it is.

But Cohen is, frankly, an idiot. He is beyond contempt. It is he who should hang his head in shame, and, having now quit his radio show - supposedly because of the level of abuse directed at his family - should withdraw from public life and spend the spare time he has on his hands reflecting on what it takes to be a decent human being.

Of course Liverpool fans are wrong to threaten to kill him. They should instead spend their time shaming him, a cause in which they have so far succeeded.


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