JK Rowling wades into Jerry Sadowitz row after comedian’s Edinburgh Fringe show was canceled

JK Rowling has joined authors and comedians making a decision to cancel a comedian Edinburgh Fringe shows as ‘beyond shame’ after it said he made ‘indefensible jokes’ – despite the venue claiming to be ‘champion for free speech’.

Jerry Sadowitz, 60, was set to play at The Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Center on Friday and Saturday.

But the American-born Scot took to social media to reveal his second night would be canceled before the crowd confirmed it had been pulled because his material “isn’t in line with our values.”

It came despite warnings prior to his show that it contained “strong language” and “themes that some may find disturbing.”

A female audience member claimed he pulled his penis out for a woman in the front row and used a racist slur to describe Rishi Sunak, the Scottish sun reported. It was not clear whether the allegedly exposed genitals were a prop.

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling was among the authors and comedians who criticized the decision – which was made just a day after Salman Rushdie was stabbed onstage.

She ‘found’ a tweet from attorney Adam Tomkins that read: ‘The day after the attack on Rushdie, *this* is the action from a leading venue in the Edin Fringe?!?

Cancel an event because some people might find it offensive?!? It’s beyond shameful.’

Broadcaster Jeremy Vine added: “I’ve seen Jerry Sadowitz perform four times. Each performance was more offensive than the last.

“Nobody complained, because that’s what Jerry does. Listen.’

Jerry Sadowitz (pictured), 60, who also performs magic, was set to perform at The Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Center on Friday and Saturday

The Pleasance has so far declined to confirm which part of the act was deemed offensive, but it said in a statement that

The Pleasance has so far declined to confirm which part of the act was deemed offensive, but it said in a statement that “opinions like Sadowitz’s are not acceptable”

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling (pictured) was among the authors and comedians who disapproved of the decision

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling (pictured) was among the authors and comedians who disapproved of the decision

Piers Morgan said, ‘Imagine a comedian getting canceled the day Salman Rushdie was stabbed? Miserable. Freedom of expression is being destroyed.’

Comedian Bennett Arron added: “I once supported Jerry Sadowitz in a theater. All I was told was not to talk to him and to warn the public before he came that some of them might find his material offensive.

“When I said it, I got a round of applause. The public knew what they were getting.’

A woman who was in the crowd for the comedy performance told the Scottish Sun: ‘I was at the show. He called Rishi Sunak a ‘p***’; said the economy was terrible because it’s run by “blacks and women.”

“He gave his penis to a woman in the front row. The problem wasn’t the audience – I knew he was an acquired taste. It was his indefensible content.”

The Pleasance has so far declined to confirm what part of the act was deemed offensive, but it said in a statement that “opinions like Sadowitz’s are not acceptable.”

In an updated statement today, the theater said, “As previously mentioned, The Pleasance chose to make Jerry Sadowitz’s second and final show. Numerous complaints made us immediately aware of content considered extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny among other things.

“We will not associate with content that violates people’s dignity and the language used on stage was in our opinion. completely unacceptable.

“A large number of people left Jerry Sadowitz’s show because they felt uncomfortable and unsafe staying in the room. We have received an unprecedented number of complaints that could not be ignored and we had a duty to respond.

“The subsequent abuse directed at our teams is equally unacceptable. At the Pleasance, our values ​​are inclusive, diverse and welcoming.

“We are proud of the progress we have made in our programming, including significant investment and support for Black Asian and Global Majority artists, LGBTQ+ voices, working class voices and strong representation of women. We do not believe that racism, homophobia, sexism or misogynistic language has a place in our halls.

‘In a changing world, stories and language that were once accepted on stage, whether or not expressed in character, must be challenged. There is a line that we will not cross at the Pleasance, and it was our opinion that this line was crossed on this occasion.

“We don’t gauge the full content of the acts in advance and although Jerry Sadowitz is a controversial comedian, we couldn’t have known the details of his performance.

“The Pleasance has performed its work many times over the years, but as soon as we received complaints from the people in the building who were of great concern to us, we knew we couldn’t let the final performance go ahead.

Art and comedy in particular have always pushed the boundaries of social norms, but this boundary is always in flux. Our industry has to move with it. However, this does not mean that we can allow such content on our stages.

MailOnline has reached out to Sadowitz for comment.

It comes after some outraged fans said bosses already knew he was controversial, as the original listing contained a warning that read, “This show contains strong language and themes that some may find disturbing.”

Some took to Twitter to call The Pleasance “pathetic,” while others said the cancellation amounted to “censorship.”

One fan said she was having a great time on set, but about ’20 lefties’ had run away halfway through.

Sadowitz announced the decision, saying on Twitter: “Did a show last night, 75 minutes, thought it was going well. No strikes seen.

“Today I was told that my show has been cancelled. Good stuff. I’m really sorry for everyone who traveled to the show tonight.”

Jerry Sadowitz announces his show's cancellation on Twitter, in a move his fans have labeled

Jerry Sadowitz announces his show’s cancellation on Twitter, in a move his fans have labeled “pathetic” and “depressing”

In a recent promo video, Sadowitz held up a bird doll while telling potential customers what to expect.

Referring to himself, Sadowitz said, “He’ll be funny. He will be rude. He’s going to do magic tricks.

‘He’s going to make impressions. He’s going to get his dick out.

“He’s going to do anything, so make sure you go see him.”

A further show description promised he would return with his “crazy impressions of Greta Thunberg, Frankie Boyle and deep vein thrombosis.”

It said it also “promises to do less hateful swearing and focus more on fake liberal pish to appeal to the middle class and their disposable income and personalities.”

He added: “Keep in mind that I might just do card tricks and say nothing for a whole hour, or I might just do the usual ‘screaming fascist’ schtick. Or both.

“Beneficiaries may want to drink alcohol before the show to avoid boredom, embarrassment and guilt.”

The Pleasance director Anthony Alderson announced the show’s cancellation: “The Pleasance is a venue that champions freedom of expression and we don’t censor comedian material.

“While we recognize that Jerry Sadowitz has often been controversial, the material presented on his first show is not acceptable and inconsistent with our values.

“This kind of material has no place at the festival and The Pleasance is not coming with its second and final show.”

Refunds will be issued to those who purchased tickets for the Saturday show, the venue said.

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