Brand's gag causes a stink

Albanian fury over fart joke

The BBC has apologised to the Albanian ambassador after Jo Brand offered to fart their national anthem.

Brand's comments on BBC1's EastEnders Christmas Party sparked a storm of protest from Albanians living in Britain, who said she was being disrespectful to their country.

Albanian Blerim Shala was one of many who left comments about Brand's joke through Chortle.

She said: "I couldn't understand the fun of it. I hope you are going to make a public apology for the incident ­ being aware that they anthem is a symbol of the country and has to remain untouchable."

Another, who remained anonymous, said: "You think it's a game, don't you? If you knew more on the Albanian feelings on their flag and anthem, you wouldn't have made that 'funny' comment

"Couldn't you make a better Christmas party without offending people?"

Now the BBC has sent a letter of apology to the Albanian embassy, The Sun reports.

And a spokesman for Brand said: "She did not mean to cause offence."

Published: 21 Jan 2004

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