Questions have been raised following Kambri’s decision to host controversial comedian Isaac Butterfield’s performance, ‘Why So Serious?’.
To be hosted at the Cultural Centre on August 24th, the performance is self-described as an “hour of unfiltered and raw social observations of the society we live in today.”The performance describes itself as an exploration of “the political correct culture of our ever so changing world”.
The Kambri booking process outlines that the university space aims to “ensure maximum use and the best possible financially sustainable outcome for the Precinct.” However, it is being asked, at what cost is Kambri willing to pursue a “financially sustainable outcome”?
The ANU also asserts that “we act towards the inclusion and respect of all people in our community.” However, the booking of the controversial comedian appears to come in contrast to this position directly.
Netflix recently dropped Isaac Butterfield after the comedian performed inappropriate jokes, which referenced the Holocaust during a performance at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. During the infamous routine, Butterfield asked the audience to “imagine the joy of people when they heard the Jews were sent to the gas chambers”. Further remarking “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the oven.”
Responding to backlash about his comments, Butterfield described the situation as “an all-out assault on me”. Butterfield failed to apologise unequivocally, instead, defending his right to free speech.
ANUSA Social Officer Matthew Mottola described Kambri’s decision to allow Butterfield to perform at ANU as “grossly inappropriate,” asserting that Butterfield’s presence “would hurt so many already marginalised communities and would only validate other peoples’ sexist and antisemitic behaviour.” Mottola lastly outlined that “when it (Kambri) invites and celebrates someone hateful […] it intentionally excludes and harms a significant part of that community.”
Australasian Union of Jewish Students Political Affairs Director, Joshua Kirsh, outlined that through Butterfield’s comments “he effectively laughed in our faces”. Kirsh further outlined that “Kambri should certainly consider the message that inviting someone like Butterfield sends to the communities, including the Jewish community, that he has hurt in service of his agenda.”
Butterfield performed at the Pop-Up in 2018.