BBC defends Jo Brand over ‘battery acid’ joke

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The BBC said Brand’s comments were “not intended to be taken seriously”

The BBC has defended Jo Brand against claims she incited violence through comments made during a radio show.

The comedian, a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Heresy on Tuesday, joked about throwing battery acid at “unpleasant characters” rather than milkshakes.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who was hit by a milkshake last month, said “the police need to act”.

The BBC said the jokes made on Heresy are “deliberately provocative as the title implies”.

It added they were are “not intended to be taken seriously.”

Brand, speaking after Mr Farage and a number of far-right European election candidates were covered in milkshakes during campaign walkabouts last month, said “Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?”

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Media captionNigel Farage: ‘I could have spotted that a mile off’

The comic then went on to immediately make clear she was joking and criticised the milkshake stunts.

“That’s just me. I’m not going to do it,” she said. “It’s purely a fantasy, but I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do, sorry.”

Her follow-up comments were edited out of widely-shared clips on social media.

Mr Farage said the comments amounted to “an incitement to violence”.

At the end of show, host Victoria Coren Mitchell said she hoped Brand’s remarks had not caused offence, but reiterated that the long-running series had been set up to “test the boundaries of what it’s OK to say and not say”.

She later responded to Mr Farage on Twitter, accusing him of double standards, as an outspoken advocate of free speech and critic of political correctness.

She wrote: “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.”

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