Comedian Paul Currie breaks silence over 'antisemitism' claims after gig as he pleads for witnesses to come forward

16 February 2024, 11:17

Jewish theatregoer Liahav Eitan recounts how he was 'hounded out' of London's Soho Theatre by Paul Currie

By Asher McShane

Under-fire comedian Paul Currie has asked fans to come forward with witness accounts after he was barred from a London venue over accusations of anti-Semitism.

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The performer broke his silence and appealed for ‘eye witness’ accounts of what happened in the Soho Theatre last Saturday when he was accused of ‘hounding’ Jewish audience members out of the show after they refused to stand for the Palestinian flag.

He posted on Instagram: “Hello, this is a message from me Paul Currie. I am pleading for any of the 140 audience members who attended my show SHTOOM on Sat 10th Feb at Soho Theatre to send me their statement of what they saw.

Paul Currie wants audience members to come forward with their version of events
Paul Currie wants audience members to come forward with their version of events. Picture: Instagram

“I’m trying to get as many eye witness accounts. Or if you know anyone who was there ask them to send me their eye witness accounts. DM me for details as to where to send these.”

Liahev Eitan was allegedly told to “get the f*** out” as Currie encouraged the crowd to chant “free Palestine”.

The IT worker claimed he feared Currie was going to “punch” him and criticised the audience’s “mob mentality”.

In a statement earlier this week, the theatre said: “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 racism will not be tolerated at Soho Theatre.”

An upcoming Paul Currie gig has also been placed 'under review'.

The comedian was set to perform at The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow on March 15, but the venue has now confirmed to LBC that the show has been placed “under review”.

This means that Mr Currie's appearance could be cancelled.

He has no other upcoming dates for his one-man show 'Shtoom' listed on the comedy industry website Chortle.

Police Scotland said there was no investigation following the incident in London ahead of Paul’s upcoming gig and did not comment further.

Liahav Eitan
Liahav Eitan. Picture: LBC

Mr Currie has been banned from appearing at London's Soho Theatre after some audience members complained it ended up more "like an antisemitic rally."

He displayed a Palestinian flag and Ukrainian flag during the show and then at the end of the night orchestrated his own standing ovation.

Mr Currie then asked one man who remained in his seat why he didn’t stand, saying: "Didn’t you enjoy my show?"

Liahav Eitan, an Israeli man, told LBC: "I hadn't heard about him until that day, it was a pretty spontaneous thing.

"Having experienced London in the last four months, I already know that before heading out I should probably do a background check...because I have been to club nights where a DJ will start hounding Israeli occupation."

Some audience members left Mr Currie's show as they 'felt threatened'.
Some audience members left Mr Currie's show as they 'felt threatened'. Picture: Instagram

Read More: Comedian Paul Currie banned by Soho Theatre after Jewish audience member 'hounded out’ of his show

Read More: 'Disgusting... hold the comedian to account': Theatre-goers' anger as Jewish man 'hounded out' of comedy gig

Mr Eitan, who has lived in the UK for the last five years, told LBC's Nick Ferrari said: "We didn't really say anything, we stayed silent for the rest of the show. Our mind was already elsewhere," he recalled.

"At the end of the show, Paul got the crowd on their feet to clap for him. My friend and I didn't get up and clap for him, and that must of bothered him.

"So, he turned around to us and said to the entire crowd, 'thank you to these two people for not standing up and clapping'."

The comic "lingered" on Mr Eitan and his friend, "hoping" for them to "stand up and clap".

"So I said, 'thank you for the Palestine flag', hoping I would explain to him why I didn't choose to get up and clap, and hoping he would just move on."

"He turned on me, screaming that he was from Belfast and knows about ceasefires...he told me to get the f*** out of the show.

"A lot of the [audience] was shocked...some booed at us. One from the front row shouted 'shame' at us. We had to gather our things and go."

Paul Currie who has been banned by the Soho Theatre
Paul Currie who has been banned by the Soho Theatre. Picture: Alamy

In a statement, the Soho theatre said:"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."

On Monday, Mr Currie On Instagram on Sunday, Currie posted a quote from Mexican poet Cesar A. Cruz saying: ’Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable’ and added: ‘If you were at my show last night… you’ll know’.

On Monday, Mr Currie doubled down on the row, posting a quote from Mexican poet Cesar A. Cruz on his Instagram account saying : ’Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable’ and added: ‘If you were at my show last night… you’ll know’.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “What the Jewish audience members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account.

“These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theatres is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.”

A Met police spokesman said they were aware of the incident and "enquires were ongoing."

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