Christian charity disowns comedy fundraiser

...because acts might swear

A charity has rejected the proceeds from an all-day comedy fundraiser set to be held for its benefit, because it fears the comedians might not hold true to its Christian principles.

Operation WellFound told organisers that they were unhappy that the show might contain swearing – and that it was being held in a place where alcohol was served.

Its last-minute decision has upset promoters who spent four months planning the all-day gig at The Half Moon pub in Putney, South West London, this Sunday.

Promoter Simon Lukcas said: ‘To let one's faith interfere with a fundraising effort, and over something that I personally find trivial seems a very self-destructive thing to do.’

The charity, set up in 2005 by Middlesex motor dealer Howard Measham, aims to provide clean drinking water and hygienic sanitation to the Third World, and says that central to its work is the need to ‘follow Christian teachings, which ask us to respond to the needs of all people’.

But it disowned the fundraiser – which features the likes of Adam Bloom (pictured), Andy Zalzman, The Beta Males and Frank Sanazi, – with just a few days’ notice.

Lukacs said the charity’s chief was ‘uncomfortable for the event to potentially contain bad language, and for it to take place in a venue that served alcohol.

‘He therefore has decided to pull any official support for the event. He does not want any of the organisation’s members to attend, or for it to be advertised through their website.

‘However, he has stated that the charity would be willing to take any money raised as an "anonymous donation". I find this unacceptable behaviour.’

The money raised will now go to similar projects run by Water Aid instead.

Operation WellFound spokesman Ed Maher said: ‘We are very sorry that WellFound had to withdraw its support for the comedy festival.

‘As a Christian charity it was felt that the content may not meet our expectations and those of the Christian faith. Also we did not feel it was in our remit to place censors on their material.

‘Therefore regrettably we decided in our best interests it would be best not to back the event.

‘However we are delighted that all the good work put in by Simon and our staff will benefit another wonderful charity, Water Aid, and that apart from the change in benefactor everything is going ahead as before.

‘We wish Mr Lukas and the acts who have done a great deal of hard work the very best of success for the both this event and those in the future.’

The show, which also features Loretta Maine, Comedy Club 4 Kids, Aisling Bea and more, runs from 12pm to 11pm this Sunday. Tickets, priced £8, will be available on the door.

Published: 2 Jan 2013

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