On Tuesday, appearing on BBC’s Radio 4 show “Heresy,” comedienne Jo Brand decided to joke about the recent “milkshaking” of politicians, suggesting milkshaking them was insufficient and a better substitute would be dousing them with battery acid.
Victoria Coren Mitchell asked Brand, “Would you not say, Jo, we are absolutely united in feeling we are living through a terrible time from a parliamentary point of view?"
Brand answered, “Well, yes, I would say that, but I think that’s because certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they’re very, very easy to hate, and I’m kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?” After the audience laughed, Brand continued, “That’s just me, sorry. I’m not gonna do it; it’s purely a fantasy, but I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.”
Stung by criticism of Brand’s remarks, the BBC explained, "Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously."
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who was hit by a milkshake last month, reacted to Brand’s remarks, snapping, "This is incitement of violence and the police need to act."
Retired Met Police detective chief inspector Mick Neville stated:
The police should deal with this by giving Jo Brand a warning about the potential impact of her words. She should also spend some time with acid attack victims and see the physical and psychological injuries they have suffered. These people are truly scarred for life, so it takes a very strange and sick mind to make jokes about corrosive liquid being thrown over people.The BBC were quick to sack Danny Baker for making an unacceptable joke following the birth of Harry and Meghan's baby. But will the BBC act in the same manner with Brand? She has arguably done far worse by suggesting politicians should be doused with acid.
Mitchell later attacked Farage for calling Brand’s remarks an incitement of violence, tweeting, "Nigel! I'm genuinely disappointed; we don't agree on everything, but I would totally have had you down as a free speech man. Especially when it comes to jokes."
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan slammed Brand, tweeting, “Disgusting. This is an incitement for people to throw acid at politicians. Shame on you, Jo Brand.”
Kevin Maguire, an associate of The Daily Mirror, echoed, “Dangerous and unfunny. Love Jo Brand but this quip is a mistake in the current climate.”
After Farage was hit by a milkshake in May, The Washington Post noted:
“Milkshaking” has become a recent symbol of protest on British soil. But while there are some who find videos of politicians being doused in sweet liquid entertaining, others have expressed concern. Across the country in recent weeks, divisive candidates for European Parliament elections have been targeted in attacks. Milkshakes appear to have become the protesters’ tool of choice, as attackers sipping shakes are far less conspicuous than bystanders clutching eggs.