The BBC has defended Jo Brand against claims she incited violence with a joke about throwing battery acid during a radio show, saying panellists are often “deliberately provocative” but “not intended to be taken seriously”.

Brand, 61, made the comment on Victoria Coren Mitchell’s Radio 4 show Heresy, referring to recent protests in which milkshakes have been thrown at right-wing politicians.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who was covered in milkshake during a campaign walkabout in Newcastle last month, has accused the comedian of inciting violence, while several social media users have compared the BBC’s response with Danny Baker‘s sacking over an alleged racist tweet about royal baby Archie.

Nigel Farage is escorted to a car after having milkshake thrown over him
Image: Nigel Farage had a milkshake thrown at him in Newcastle

During her appearance on Heresy, in reply to a question about the state of UK politics, Brand said: “Well, yes I would say that but that’s because certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore and they’re very, very easy to hate and I’m kind of thinking: ‘Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?’

“That’s just me. I’m not going to do it, it’s purely a fantasy, but I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do, sorry.”

Defending the show, a BBC spokeswoman said: “Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously.”

In a tweet, Mr Farage said Brand’s comment was “incitement of violence and the police need to act”.

TV presenter Piers Morgan is among those making the comparison with Baker’s sacking, saying: “Why did the BBC instantly sack Danny Baker for an offensive royal baby tweet but won’t sack Jo Brand for saying she’d like acid to be thrown at politicians?”

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said that, as of Wednesday afternoon, it had received 19 complaints about the Heresy episode in question.

David Mitchell, Victoria Coren Mitchell.Evening Standard Christmas party, London, UK - 07 Dec 2018.Evening Standard Christmas party, hosted by owner Evgeny Lebedev at his London home.
Image: Brand made the comments to presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell on Radio 4 show Heresy

At the end of show, Coren Mitchell said she hoped Brand’s remarks had not caused offence but added that the aim of the radio series was to “test the boundaries of what it’s okay to say and not say”.

The quiz host and television personality, 46, later responded to Mr Farage on Twitter, accusing him of double standards.

She wrote: “Nigel! I’m genuinely disappointed; we don’t agree on everything, but I would totally have had you down as a free speech man. Especially when it comes to jokes.”

Police are investigating an incident where Tommy Robinson had a milkshake thrown over him for the second time in two days.
Tommy Robinson hit with milkshake

The trend of throwing milkshakes at right-wing politicians and activists began when viral footage showed Tommy Robinson being covered in Warrington.

Since then, several other members of the public have attempted to repeat the protest.

courtesy of Sky News