Alexandra Haddow

Alexandra Haddow

Comedians boycott Latitude over Barclays links

Pappy’s and Alexandra Haddow join musicians' festival protest over Gaza

Sketch group Pappy’s and stand-up Alexandra Haddow have pulled out of this year’s Latitude Festival because of its sponsorship deal with Barclaycard.

They are first comedy acts to withdraw from the event over the bank’s ties to Israel, after a number of musicians said they would not perform there.

Activists are protesting Barclays for financing arms companies who make weapons used on Gaza – prompting musicians CMAT,  Pillow Queens, Mui Zyu, Thumper and Georgia Ruth to pull out of the festival.

Now Haddow  and Pappy’s – who were due to host a recording of the panel game podcast Flatshare Slamdown – have joined the fray.

In a statement posted on social media this morning, Pappy’s member Matthew Crosby said: ‘I have decided not to perform at this year's Latitude while the festival continues to have Barclays as a sponsor. 

‘Barclays is bankrolling Israel's genocidal assault on the Palestinian people through its financial ties with arms companies that sell weapons to Israel.

‘I love the festival dearly, and this decision has not been made lightly, but I cannot ignore the sponsor's ties to this horrific violence.

‘Instead, there will be another Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown at some point this summer, the proceeds of which will go to a connected charity.’

And colleague Ben Clark added: ‘Sadly I won't be performing at this year's Latitude festival. I cannot in good conscience participate in a festival that has Barclays as a sponsor. Barclays continues to supply financial support to companies that supply arms used in the ongoing genocide in Palestine.’ 

Barclays are on the list of companies the BDS Movement [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] is targeting to put economic pressure on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. 

In her message on Instagram, Haddow said: ‘I was booked to host the comedy stage on the Sunday at Latitude Festival this year but have decided to pull out due to Barclays being the official sponsor. 

‘They are on the BDS official boycott list and I can't in good conscience take the fee.

‘Barclays have increased their funding to several companies who are facilitating weapons & technology used in the genocide in Palestine since the war started and this is one of the only things I can actively do. 

‘I was so looking forward to playing the festival and hope to do so in the future - it always looks like so much fun! Thank you to other artists such as @cmatbaby and @pillowqueensband whose posts alerted me to this issue. 

‘Solidarity with every artist taking a stand despite losing the much needed fee and audiences. Hopefully see you at Latitude in the future.

‘On another note, if you have any gigs for me on the 27th July, consider me available!’

Latitude, which will run in Henham Park, Suffolk, from July 25 to 28, has so far not commented on the boycotts. Chortle has approached them for their reaction to Pappy’s withdrawal.

On its website, Barclays addresses the issue of Gaza saying: ‘We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do. 

‘We trade in shares of listed companies in response to client instruction or demand and that may result in us holding shares. We are not making investments for Barclays and Barclays is not a "shareholder" or "investor" in that sense in relation to these companies.’

The Latitude protests follows a mass walkout at last month’s Great Escape music festival in Brighton, which was part-sponsored by Barclaycard. More than 100 acts boycotted the event – about about a quarter of the full programme.

Similar protests over the climate emergency has led to book festivals in Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Hay and the Borders severing their ties with asset management company Baillie Gifford, which has been a major sponsor of the events. 

The company says just two per cent of its investments are in companies linked to fossil fuels and that it backs the arts as part of its role to put back into society.

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Published: 6 Jun 2024

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