BBC defends Have I Got News For You over joke about bombing Glastonbury to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn supporters

Lizzie Edmonds
·2-min read
<p>Have I Got News For You</p> (PA)

Have I Got News For You

(PA)

The BBC has defended an episode of Have I Got News For You after it featured a joke about bombing Glastonbury to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

Comedian Fin Taylor said on the BBC One panel show that his “relationship with Corbyn is like Bob Dylan, in that I only hate him so much because of his fans”, who he called “fanatics”.

And he added: “So all you’ve got to do is, next year, bomb Glastonbury, hopefully Dylan’s headlining. Two birds, one stone.”

On Twitter a disgruntled viewer wrote: “Usually let the Corbyn bashing slide but this weeks #HIGNFY was too far. First time I’ve ever been offended enough to actually report.”

The BBC said in a statement: “After more than 30 years on air, Have I Got News For You is a well-established comedy series that has built a reputation for irreverent humour and satire.

“Regular viewers expect the panellists to make jokes and understand that contributions are intended to be funny and amusing, and this edition was no exception.

“It was clear that comedian Fin Taylor was talking about an utterly absurd scenario, in which he compared Jeremy Corbyn to Bob Dylan, and was in no way whatsoever to be taken seriously.”

<p>Jeremy Corbyn</p>PA

Jeremy Corbyn

PA

The BBC previously ruled that a joke by Jo Brand, on BBC Radio 4 programme Heresy and about throwing battery acid at politicians, “went beyond what was appropriate” for a Radio 4 comedy show.

The comedian, 62, sparked outrage when she made comments in 2019 about milkshakes being thrown at politicians, suggesting battery acid could be used instead.

She told the Heresy show: “I’m thinking why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid.”

Ofcom said the comments, which aired in June 2019, “had clear potential to offend listeners”.

It said the comments “were unlikely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime”.

It cited audience expectations of Brand and the satirical programme, and the comic making it clear her comments should not be taken seriously or acted on.

She had said on-air: “I’m not going to do it, it’s pure fantasy, but I think milkshakes are pathetic, I really do.”

The programme was recorded amid political debate about Brexit and around three weeks after Nigel Farage had a milkshake thrown over him by a member of the public.