Social media users erupted in outrage after a comedian joked about "killing whiteness" following the new Director-General of the BBC vowing to root out "left-wing comedy bias" in the corporation.
Comic Sophie Duker made some controversial statements regarding racism and "white power" while on an episode of Frankie Boyle's new BBC2 panel show New World Order, which can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.
In one segment where the panelists debate if the Black Lives Matter movement "glosses over the complexities of a world where we all need to come together and kill whitey", Boyle played a clip of novelist James Baldwin from the 1970's talking about 'black power' during an interview on the Dick Cavett Show.
Duker, in response to the clip, outlines that she sees "white power" and "black power" as "capitalist myths" and described "whiteness" as a "capitalist structure".
In reference to the claimed connection between the accumulation of wealth under the capitalist system with using race as a method of division, she said: "white power is Trump Tower".
"When we say we want to kill whitey, we don't really mean we want to kill whitey", she said before adding jokingly "we do" to a laughing audience.
While the line was made in humor, many online figures were angered by the comment. With some Conservative commentators asking why the British public is paying for "hateful wordsoup".
This is from @bbccomedy’s New World Order.— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) September 16, 2020
I’m not sure how this is ‘comedy’.
I’m not sure why our cash is paying for it.
I’m not sure why the BBC isn’t challenging those determined to do all that they can to divide us with this hateful wordsoup of divisive dross. pic.twitter.com/Hrlnxn14f1
Talk Radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer described it as "Marxist gobbledegook".
This is horrible. It's not just unfunny, it's incoherent nonsensical Marxist gobbledegook. The white contributors nodding along supportively as this woman jokes about killing people who look like them is just plain sick. https://t.co/t05YbEvbdS— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) September 16, 2020
Youtuber Paul Joseph Watson, who often rails against the shutting down of speech due to 'political correctness', questioned if the joke was "acceptable".
This deserves 100 times the amount of complaints that 'Britain's Got Talent' show received, https://t.co/1jdGDD6416— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) September 15, 2020
Other netizens asked what would have happened if the target of the joke had been a different group.
Seems she is a 'comedian' called Sophie Duker/— Euphrosene Labon aka Wise El (@euphrosene) September 16, 2020
Imagine if whites 'joked' about killing blacks? https://t.co/uNrvZOjTUQ
Some called for complaints to be issued to the BBC.
If that racist Sophie Duker doesn't want to acknowledge or discuss why she's wrong on Twitter, then perhaps her employers might.— Peter Dowling (@FreeMarket4Life) September 16, 2020
"Kill whitey" is unacceptable.
Flood the BBC inbox with complaints.https://t.co/DwuASnbQxy@LozzaFox pic.twitter.com/lFZu4PQdMV
There were users who explained that Duker was a comedian and just telling a joke and urged those outraged not to take it seriously.
Alistair, she is telling a joke.— ★Andy McHaffie (@AndyMcH) September 16, 2020
Sophie Duker is a comedian and an excellent one at that. She tells jokes.
Remember when you told jokes? Good times! It wasn't that long ago. Surely you must remember how they work.
A BBC spokesman spoke to the Mail Online saying that Frankie Boyle's New World Order was shown after 10 pm and therefore "its content is within audience expectations for a post-watershed, topical, satirical programme from a comedian whose style and tone are well-established".
It follows Tim Davie, the BBC's new Director-General, pledging to tackle the alleged problem of bias towards the political left in the broadcaster.
Earlier in September, Mr Davie vowed to oversee a radical change of the broadcaster's comedy output in the coming months.