UK Channel 4 bought a painting of Hitler. A studio audience will vote for destruction

Written by the author Christian Edwards, CNNLondon

British broadcaster Channel 4 has come under fire for plans for a new show that will allow him to decide whether to destroy a painting of Adolf Hitler.
The channel bought works by a number of “problematic” artists, including, according to UK media, Pablo Picasso, convicted pederast Rolf Harris and sex offender Eric Gill.

Jimmy Carr, the show’s host, will lead a discussion on whether a work of art can ever be separated from its creator. At the end, the audience will vote on whether Carr should destroy the work.

If viewers decide to destroy the Hitler painting, it will be shredded, a Channel 4 spokesperson told CNN.

“Jimmy Carr Destroys Art” will be shown on October 24th. Credit: Rob Parfitt/Channel 4

Other works of art in the exhibition, however, “may be burnt by a flamethrower”, the spokesman said.

But the announced plans for the film “Jimmy Carr Destroys Art” — due to air on October 24 — have drawn fierce criticism.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust accused the show of “making Hitler the subject of light entertainment”.

“There is nothing funny or funny about Hitler or the murder of 6 million Jews, and the persecution of millions more,” the trust’s chief executive, Olivia Marks-Woldman, said in a statement to CNN.

“This is deeply inappropriate, and at a time of increasing distortion of the Holocaust, it is dangerously trivialized,” he said.

In a statement to CNN, Channel 4 defended the show as a “thoughtful and nuanced exploration of the limits of free artistic expression and whether the work of morally reprehensible artists is still worth seeing.”

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said the show “speaks directly to the current debate around cancellation culture and is in the long tradition of Channel 4 programming”.

The state-owned but commercially funded channel was created 40 years ago to give UK viewers an honest alternative to the two main channels, the BBC and ITV.

In a vision statement on his website, he says his aim is to “test boundaries and challenge conventions”, but Marks-Woldman said this “cannot excuse the trivialisation of the horrors of Nazism”.

“It’s important to ask how far art can be connected to its creators, but this program is just a mistake for shock value,” he said.

The choice of Carr as host has also been controversial. Earlier this year, he was convicted of making a joke about gypsies who died in the Holocaust.

“The choice of Jimmy Carr to tackle this episode is deliberately provocative and fiery, given the history of the Nazis and their collaborators using the killing of Gypsies and Sinti to comic advantage,” Marks-Woldman said.

CNN has reached out to Jimmy Carr’s representatives for comment.