ISIS Has Feelings, Too: BBC

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(Photo: Tim Loudon/Flickr/CC 2.0)
(Photo: Tim Loudon/Flickr/CC 2.0)

Apparently afraid of offending ISIS, the BBC once asked a British comedian to change a joke he had made in a pre-recorded show, reported Yahoo’s news site.

UK comedian Russell Howard revealed the bizarre set of events that transpired after he made a joke that disparaged the faith of ISIS terrorists on an episode of Russell Howard’s Good News.

“I did a piece about the Paris attacks where I said ISIS weren’t Muslims, they were terrorists, and the crowd cheered,” said Howard. “Then, at the end of the show, the BBC lost their mind – ‘You need to re-record it! You need to say ISIS aren’t devout Muslims! I was like, ‘Are you worried we’re going to offend ISIS? Are they going to write in?’”

Howard shared the story on his new show The Russell Howard Hour which airs on Sky One. After telling the story, he jokingly pretended to be an ISIS terrorist writing in a complaint to the BBC:

“Dear Points of View, imagine my horror when I was misrepresented on a late-night satire show. Farouk and I will be cancelling our TV license. Please excuse my handwriting, I have a hook for a hand.”

Howard said the BBC episode aired with a different joke he had been made to re-record over his original.

Defending his original joke, Howard said, “If (ISIS) are killing people, the least I can do as a comedian is call them names. And if ISIS gets upset, then f*** them.”

In January of 2015, after the Islamist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the head of the BBC Arabic service refused to use the term terrorist to describe the Al-Qaeda affiliated gunmen responsible for the attack that left 12 dead.

Tarik Kalafa told The Independent at the time, “We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist, or an act as being terrorist. Terrorism is such a loaded word. The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can’t. It is very difficult to.”

He claims that his refusal to use the term is due to fears the people will think the BBC is placing a value-judgment on the incident and on the perpetrators. The BBC’s official guidelines read, “The value judgments frequently implicit in the use of the words ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist group’ can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality.  It may be better to talk about an apparent act of terror or terrorism than label individuals or a group.”



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