What did Jimmy Carr say about the Holocaust? Comedian condemned over Romani genocide remarks

Comedian Jimmy Carr has been assailed by critics after a joke he made about the mass murder of Roma and Sinti people in the Holocaust.

Traveler community groups, anti-racist groups and people from across the political spectrum have attacked Carr, who made the remarks during a performance filmed for His Dark Materials, a stand-up special for Netflix.

So what exactly did Jimmy Carr say about the genocide of Gypsy and Roma people in the Holocaust – and what have other people said in response?

READ MORE: Channel 4 refuses to sack Jimmy Carr over Holocaust joke backlash

What did Jimmy Carr say about the Holocaust?

In His Dark Material, his special for Netflix, Jimmy Carr discusses the “tragedy and horror” of the killing of six million Jewish people in the Nazi Holocaust.

He then goes on to observe that the Romani genocide is less commonly known, adding that this was “because no one ever wants to talk about the positives”.

At least 130,565 Roma and Sinti people were murdered in the Holocaust, but some estimates put the death toll much higher – at 800,000 or possibly as many as 1.5 million.

The Romani genocide is also referred to as the Porajmos, which means “the devouring” in the Romani language.

Roma and Sinti people who were rounded up and sent to Nazi concentration camps were made to wear a black triangle, signifying their classification as “asocial”, or a brown triangle. Many Romani women were forcibly sterilized by the Nazis.

Carr’s Netflix special is deliberately billed as dark and controversial, and he does warn his audience at the outset that it contains “terrible things”.

However, his joke about the genocide of Roma and Sinti people prompted an angry backlash from numerous quarters.

What have others said about Jimmy Carr’s comments?

The Traveler Movement, a Traveler advocacy group, said Jimmy Carr’s remark was “truly disturbing and goes way beyond humour”.

Anti-racist organization Hope Not Hate concurred, condemning the joke, as did the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said she had been “horrified” to hear “gales of laughter” from Carr’s audience after the joke.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has also intervened, suggesting that the government could legislate to stop streaming sites from hosting offensive comedy.

Dorries – who herself previously tweeted that “left-wing snowflakes” were “killing comedy” – said Carr’s remarks were “abhorrent and they just shouldn’t be on television”.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Carr’s joke was “deeply disturbing” but stopped short of saying that the material should be removed from Netflix.

Jimmy Carr himself has refused to apologise for his comments, suggesting that they served an educational purpose by drawing attention to the Romani genocide.

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