THE Cork Traveller Visibility Group (TVG) has called on comedian Jimmy Carr to meet with them when he performs at Cork Opera House, following his remarks about Gypsies and Roma murdered in the Holocaust.
Mr Carr, who is due to play Cork Opera House on May 28 and 29, made the comments in his Netflix comedy special His Dark Material, which was released on Christmas Day. They caused widespread controversy this month when a clip was posted online.
In the clip, Carr jokes about the horror of the Holocaust and “six million Jewish lives being lost” before making a disparaging remark about the deaths of thousands of Gypsies at the hands of the Nazis as part of the punchline.
Breda O’Donoghue, director of advocacy at the Cork TVG, said Mr Carr would not have made such remarks about any other minority group, and called on him to visit its offices in Shandon when he is in Cork.
“Jimmy Carr attacked a community that has come under attack for many years, and he and his audience were very comfortable with that, and frankly we are used to that sort of casual bigotry,” Ms O’Donoghue said.
Ms O’Donoghue said Cork TVG was not calling on Cork Opera House to cancel Mr Carr’s performances, as she felt more good might come through engagement and education.
“We are calling on Mr Carr to come and talk to us when he is in Cork, to meet with Travellers and Roma people, and to realise the hurt and pain he has caused.”
At least 130,000 members of the Roma and Sinti people were killed in the Holocaust, a genocide which is remembered as the Porajmos (The Devouring”. Some historians estimate as many as 1.5m Roma and Sinti were murdered in the camps.
Martin Collins, co-director of the Traveller and Roma advocacy organisation Pavee Point, last week described Mr Carr’s remarks as “dangerous and concerning” and called on Irish venues to cancel Mr Carr’s upcoming shows.
Mr Carr, whose parents are Irish and who has Irish citizenship, has in the past said he and his family had experienced “anti-Irish prejudice” when he was growing up in England during the Provisional IRA’s bombing campaign.
Mr Carr has not commented on the reaction to his remarks, and his management company, Chambers Management, did not respond to a request for comment.
Cork City Council, which funds Cork Opera House and which has several councillors on its board, said the council cannot comment on behalf of the board of directors of Cork Opera House and does not have a role in programming at the venue.
“Cork City Council strongly condemns racism in all its forms and supports the Roma and Traveller communities in their objection to Jimmy Carr’s comments on the Holocaust,” said a spokesperson.
MCD Promotions, which is managing Jimmy Carr’s Irish tour, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Cork Opera House was unavailable.