Theatre explains why comedian Jerry Sadowitz's 'unacceptable' show was pulled
The Pleasance Theatre has responded after comedian Jerry Sadowitz’s show was pulled from Edinburgh Fringe.
Initial reports stated that his set was banned due to racist and homophobic content, with organisers receiving a wealth of complaints about his jokes.
The venue has since confirmed that the comic did include ‘unacceptable’ language and ‘a large number’ of audience members ‘walked out’ of the show.
In a statement issued to Metro.co.uk, the Pleasance Theatre said: ‘As previously stated, the Pleasance chose to pull Jerry Sadowitz’s second and final show. Due to numerous complaints, we became immediately aware of content that was considered, among other things, extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny.
‘We will not associate with content which attacks people’s dignity and the language used on stage was, in our view, completely unacceptable.’
They continued: ‘A large number of people walked out of Jerry Sadowitz’s show as they felt uncomfortable and unsafe to remain in the venue’, sharing that they have received ‘an unprecedented number of complaints that could not be ignored’
The venue felt ‘a duty to respond’ to the feedback from attendees, however there was ‘subsequent abuse’ directed to staff members as a result.
‘At the Pleasance, our values are to be inclusive, diverse and welcoming. We are proud of the progress we have made across our programming, which includes significant investment and support for Black, Asian and Global Majority artists, LGBTQ+ voices, those from working class backgrounds, and the strong representation of women,’ they continued.
‘We do not believe that racism, homophobia, sexism or misogynistic language have a place in our venues.’
Pleasance explained how the comic ‘crossed a line’ with his comments, but clarified that they don’t ‘vet’ full content of performers in advance.
They noted that Sadowitz is a ‘controversial comedian’ but the venue ‘could not have known the specifics of his performance’ prior to him taking to the stage.
Sadowitz has performed at The Pleasance ‘numerous times over the years’ but they knew his final set ‘could not go ahead’ after complaints caused ‘great concern’.
‘The arts and comedy in particular have always pushed the boundaries of social norms but this boundary is always moving. Our industry has to move with it. However, this does not mean that we can allow such content to be on our stages.’
Scottish performer Sadowitz is famous for his dark style humour, with a warning for ‘strong language and themes some may find distressing’ issued before he began his routine at the Fringe.
Ticket holders are able to claim refunds for those purchased for Saturday’s show.
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