Ken Loach calls Panorama Labour antisemitism programme 'disgusting'

The director, who has a long history of inflammatory comments, also said the whistleblowers' claims were 'propaganda from people intent on destroying Corbyn'


Filmmaker Ken Loach has called the Panorama documentary on Labour antisemitism “probably the most disgusting programme I’ve ever seen on the BBC”, and dismissed the revelations from former Labour staffers as "propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn".

In an interview with the Guardian, the director, whose latest film, Sorry We Missed You, is released later this month, said he found the BBC’s investigative documentary disgusting “because it raised the horror of racism against Jews in the most atrocious propagandistic way, with crude journalism… and it bought the propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn.”

The documentary, which aired in July and featured the testimonies from former members of the party's compliance team, revealed senior party figures had intervened in antisemitism cases, as well as describing the toll the job had taken on the mental health of officials responsible.

It also revealed that, despite hundreds of complaints about antisemitism from Labour members, in just three years the party had expelled 15 people over the issue.

It also showed that, contrary to the claims by supporters of Mr Corbyn within Labour, many of those featured on the programme had previously been supporters of the Labour leader, voting for him in the party's leadership election.

Later that month, Mr Loach was said to be behind a motion proposed and passed by Bath Labour Party which branded the documentary a “dishonest hatchet job with potentially undemocratic consequences” and claimed it had “disgraced the name of Panorama and exposed the bias endemic within the BBC.”

At the time, John Ware, the programme’s reporter, was understood to be speaking to lawyers about the possibility of legal action against the filmmaker over his comments.

Mr Loach has previously said that Labour MPs who joined the Enough is Enough protest outside Parliament against antisemitism in Labour were “the ones we need to kick out.”

Mr Loach was reportedly dropped from producing Labour’s party election broadcasts after this comment.

In an interview at the end of Labour conference in September 2017, Mr Loach was asked whether it was acceptable for an activist to ask at a fringe event at the conference: “Holocaust: yes or no?”

He answered: “History is for all of us to discuss. All history is our common heritage to discuss and analyse. The founding of the State of Israel, for example, based on ethnic cleansing, is there for us to discuss... So don’t try to subvert that by false stories of antisemitism.”

Mr Loach later claimed that his words “had been twisted to give a meaning contrary to that intended. The Holocaust is as real a historical event as World War II itself and not to be challenged.”

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