Labour’s Harriet Harman has been accused of “appalling” behaviour after recounting a Holocaust joke on the This Week show and claiming “people like [host] Andrew [Neil] think things like that are perfectly alright”.
The bizarre outburst came in a section on the show discussing if people are too easily offended with comedian Shazia Mirza arguing that in today’s culture “some people are offended and they don’t know why”.
She added: “Sometimes you ask some why they’re offended and they can’t explain why – if you don’t know why you’re offended then you’re not offended.”
Harman took issue with the comments, arguing: “Some people are offended because some things are offensive.
“I’ve long been accused of being a humourless feminist and I’ll give you two examples that I’ve protested about because they were offensive and hurtful.”
She then recounted one of two jokes she had read in “a Guy’s Hospital rag magazine back in the day and people like Andrew say things like that are perfectly alright”.
She said: “One was: how do you get 100 Jews into a Mini? One in the driving seat and 99 in the ashtray.
“And that is not funny….”
At this point Neil abruptly cut her off, saying: “We’ll stop with that one example and we won’t bother with the minute’s silence that you would dare to think what I would think about that, because you have no knowledge of that at all.”
Harman tried to explain her point but Neil shut her down by telling her to “be quiet”.
The row spilled over onto social media following the end of the show.
To which Harman responded:
Neil is a passionate advocate for Holocaust remembrance causes and spoke at the Holocaust Educational Trust Annual Appeal Dinner just last month.
Response to the episode has been heated and mixed.