Backlash as UK comedian jokes on beheading Queen

The comedian had been invited to talk on the Scottish referendum and made the joke which was described as ‘tasteless’

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British humor has a reputation for being dark but one comedian may have taken it a step too far, garnering backlash after he joked live on air that there should be a referendum to decide whether Queen Elizabeth II should be beheaded after ISIS militants in the Middle East decapitated Western nationals.

Andy Zaltzman, a British comedian and author, made the comment live on BBC radio, British Tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

Zaltzam was invited, together with two other guests, on BCC’s Radio 5 Live to discuss Scotland’s referendum to secede from the United Kingdom which resulted in a “No” vote on Sept. 18.

The comment has been described as “tasteless” and “outrageous” and the Daily Mail reported that the excerpt was later removed from the repeat of the show on BBC iPlayer, the online catchup service.

On social media, one Twitter user wrote: “if you call Andy Zaltzman’s joke about the beheading of the Queen funny, then you have issues,” while another said “Andy made an (arguably) tasteless joke, and the show’s entire audience complained.”

London-based Becky Robbins told The Daily Mail that Zaltzman’s joke was a “completely outrageous thing to say, it really is shocking.”

She added: “It not only shows a complete lack of respect for the Queen but jokes about beheadings are also insensitive and totally inappropriate. The timing could not be worse.

“This was a live broadcast on a Saturday morning. The BBC really needs to look at itself and take much more care.”

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