Stand-up told Israeli to ‘get the f*** out’ as crowd sang ‘free Palestine’

Shaken Jewish witnesses said the incident felt like an ‘antisemitic rally’


The Soho Theatre (Photo: Ewan-M via wikimedia)

 A comedian reportedly shouted at an Israeli audience member to “get the f*** out” of his show and incited the crowd to chant “Free Palestine” in what another Jewish witness described as an “antisemitic rally”.

Towards the end of Paul Currie’s one-hour show, Shtoom, at London’s Soho Theatre, he showed the audience a Ukrainian flag followed by a Palestinian one and invited them to stand and applaud.

An Israeli in the audience, Liahav Eitan, a software engineer who moved to London five years ago, remained seated next to his friend amid the applause. The show ended a few minutes later and the pair continued to remain seated while the audience gave Currie a standing ovation.

Currie then picked the pair out and sarcastically thanked them for not standing and clapping.

Eitan said: “Thank you for that Palestine flag,” causing Currie to be taken aback and ask if he was being sarcastic.

The Israeli told MailOnline: “Then he said something like, ‘OK, well, you’re welcome. You’re welcome for the Palestine flag. It was part of the show.’

“And then he came back to me again and said, ‘Did you enjoy the show?’ I said, ‘Yes, up until that point.’ And he said, ‘Ah up until that point.’

“Then he just turns back to me and starts screaming, ‘I’m from Belfast. I know everything about ceasefires. Ceasefire now, get the f*** out of my theatre. Get out, get the f*** out of my show, motherf***ers.’”

Several audience members left the show. One person said they walked out “as we did not want to be part of an antisemitic rant" and because they felt “unsafe”.

“By the time we exited, what felt like the entire audience were up on their feet shouting ‘free Palestine’ and ‘get out’.

“Shaken and feeling threatened by the growing antagonism, we exited and tried to complain and get some support from the front-of-house team at the theatre who did give us an email address to make a complaint.” They said someone they knew messaged them saying that after they left the situation became even more inflamed.

“What had been intended to be an evening of comedy turned out to be what felt like an antisemitic rally,” they said.

Audience member Kathleen told the JC: “[The flags] had absolutely no gag context. They were just there to signal something.”

Kathleen said that when the young man had replied to Currie, “You could see Paul Currie start to bristle. And then he started saying something about ‘well, I’m from Northern Ireland…’ and then he just lost it and started with the microphones screaming at them.”

A spokesman for Soho Theatre, which is on the site of a former synagogue, said: “Soho Theatre will not tolerate intimidation of audience members due to their nationality, race, religion or beliefs.

"On Saturday evening, following the end of Paul Currie’s show Shtoom, Jewish members of the audience were subjected to verbal abuse and the performer aggressively demanding they leave the theatre.

"Such appalling actions are unacceptable and have no place on our stages, now or ever. we will not be inviting Paul Currie back to perform at our venue. 

"Whilst we robustly support the right of artists to express a wide range of views in their shows, intimidation of audience members, acts of antisemitism or any other forms of racisim will not be tolerated at Soho Theatre. 

"We are continuing our investigation, discussing the incident with that evening’s audience and consulting with the police. We are working with the Campaign Against Antisemitism to meet with members of the audience who were affected. We are taking professional advice to safeguard the much-valued inclusivity of Soho Theatre.”

Paul Currie was contacted for a comment.

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