A show offering an audience the chance to vote on whether to destroy art by Adolf Hitler has been called “deeply inappropriate” and accused of “trivialising the horrors of Nazism”.
The Channel 4 entertainment show, Jimmy Carr Destroys Art, features “problematic art” and offers a live studio audience the chance to decide if it is kept, or destroyed by various means.
If the audience vote to destroy Hitler’s painting, it will be shredded.
Previously publicised under its working title Art Trouble, the show has been described by Channel 4 as “a unique television experiment” which will explore cancel culture and whether we can ethically separate art from the artist.
Responding to publicity around the show, Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, told Sky News: “There is nothing entertaining or laughable about Hitler or the murder of six million Jews, and the persecution of millions more.
“This episode of the television series, Art Trouble [the working title of Jimmy Carr Destroys Art], is making Hitler a topic of light entertainment – this is deeply inappropriate, and at a time of increasing Holocaust distortion, dangerously trivialising.
“The question of how far art can be linked to its creators is an important one, but this programme is simply a stunt for shock value, and cannot excuse the trivialisation of the horrors of Nazism.”
The charity also highlighted the choice of Carr as a host, after the comedian caused controversy earlier this year after using the death of Gypsy people during the Holocaust as a punchline for one of the jokes in his Netflix special, His Dark Material.
Ms Marks-Woldman said: “Choosing Jimmy Carr to front this episode is deliberately provocative and inflammatory given his history of using the murder of Roma and Sinti people by the Nazis and their collaborators for comedic gain.”
Away from accusations of trivialising Nazism, others have highlighted the folly of destroying valuable work at a time when the cost of living crisis is hitting families across Britain.
Channel 4, known for its disruptive and provocative programming, said the show is “a television first” asking members of the public “where people draw the line today between artistic expression, controversy and harm”.
It will air as part of the channel’s Truth and Dare season.
In response to criticism around the show, Channel 4 said in a statement: “Jimmy Carr Destroys Art is a thoughtful and nuanced exploration of the limits of free expression in art, and whether work by morally despicable artists still deserves to be seen.
“It speaks directly to the current debate around cancel culture and is in a long tradition of Channel 4 programming that seeks to engage a broad audience with the biggest and thorniest ethical and cultural questions.”
Other artists featured on the show include Pablo Picasso, convicted paedophile Rolf Harris and sexual abuser Eric Gill.
According to a Channel 4 description, it will also feature surprises, stunts and public experiments conducted by well-known artists across the country.
Sky News has contacted Jimmy Carr for comment.