An Australian comedian whose special was reportedly dropped by online streaming giant Netflix over a Holocaust joke is taking aim at media coverage of the controversy, accusing news outlets of pushing “fake news” and misrepresenting him as anti-Semitic.
The story began last month following a stand-up performance by Isaac Butterfield, an Australian comic and social media start with about 900,000 followers on YouTube, at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
During the show, Butterfield, who is known for his off-color “shock humor” and politically incorrect jokes, launched into a segment mocking vegans – a frequent target of his videos on YouTube.
In the segment, Butterfield joked about gassing a vegan, while commenting on intolerance.
“I’ve had vegans come to my show before. I had one sit right in the front row,” Butterfield said at the April 11th show. “And he said ‘I’m a vegan mate, and proud of it!’”
“And I was like, ‘Do you really believe in all that kind of stuff?’”
“And he said ‘I do! And I thought if you got to know me, maybe you’d change your mind on vegans forever.’”
“That is so ridiculous that I would change my mind just because I got to know him. I mean, that’s like a Jew in 1942 turning up at Auschwitz.”
“Anyway, we gassed the…[vegan].”
The show drew criticism after one audience member complained to the Australian Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), claiming that Butterfield had said “imagine the joy of people when they heart the Jews were sent to the gas chambers.”
When the ADC criticized Butterfield in an email for his alleged comments, the comedian responded with a one-sentence reply “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the oven.”
After a firestorm of criticism, Butterfield apologized for the email. “That wasn’t the right move to say this,” Butterfield admitted regarding his “if you can’t stand the heat” email. “I did apologize to that lady…I don’t want to insult people.”
But Butterfield denied the audience member’s claim that he had said the line “imagine the joy of people when they heart the Jews were sent to the gas chambers,” posting footage of the segment in question to back up his claim.
“I have never and would never and do not judge people based on their skin color, their religious beliefs, their ideologies, any genders, and sexual preference.”
Earlier this month, the UK’s Daily Mail reported that the controversy and allegations of anti-Semitism had cost Butterfield “a lucrative comedy special deal” with Netflix.
This claim had Butterfield crying foul Tuesday, accusing the Daily Mail of pushing “fake news”.
“Here’s the funny part…I never had a Netflix deal. You printed a lie,” said Butterfield, calling reporting on the cancelled comedy special “nothing short than a fabrication.”
“I made a video about this [comedy special] talking about a streaming site, but I never mentioned the name, I never mentioned the deal, and I never mentioned Netflix.”