Go to hell!

Stewart Lee heckled by Christian protesters

Stewart Lee has been publically barracked by Christian protesters over his role in Jerry Springer The Opera.

A press conference to promote the show in Aberdeen had to be abandoned when half a dozen activists – who had been invited to the Q&A session – disrupted the event.

The incident came after Woolworths and Sainsbury’s banned the DVD of the show from their shelves, because of alleged customer concerns. However, Sainsbury admitted to The Independent on Sunday that it received just ten complaints.

Lee, right. has been targeted by fundamentalists at Christian Voice organisation, a group which believes Hurricane Katrina was ‘a warning from God’ against ‘cursed’ New Orleans which is full of ‘abortionists… voodoo priests and homosexual tourists’.

The group’s leader, Stephen Green, said of Jerry Springer – The Opera: ‘This tour can only bring the judgment of Almighty God on the United Kingdom.’

Protesters at this week’s press conference grilled Lee on what they saw as the blasphemous content of the show, but, according to one observer, he ‘was unable to answer without being constantly interrupted’.

However Lee, director and co-writer of the musical, remained resolute.

He told the Aberdeen Press and News: ‘You can't not do things for fear of having a degree of aggression from confused, incoherent, bigoted people.

‘I had imagined that going around the country and engaging in discussion might be a way to defuse the situation.

‘It is very difficult to talk about it with people who hate it and haven't even seen it." Only one of the protesters said they had seen the show on television.’

Protester Rita Cunningham, from Aberdeen, who had only read ‘some’ of the script said: “It's absolutely vile and is an insult. The script is filth and shouldn't be shown in Aberdeen. It should be sent back to hell where it belongs.’

Earlier this year, local Minister Rev Bruce Gardner protested about the opera visiting Aberdeen – by comparing its to the evils of Nazi Germany.

He said: ‘While not wishing to exaggerate unduly, this is how the Jews were singled out in Nazi Germany, first for ridicule, then contempt, then persecution.’

Lee has been subject to a barrage of hate mail over the opera, and the affect the protesters had on his life – and his livelihood – forms a key part of his new stand-up show, which is currently touring Scotland.

However, tonight’s show in Ullapool has been cancelled after not a single ticket was sold.

Click here to buy tickets to the Jerry Springer Opera tour

Click here to buy the DVD

Published: 7 Dec 2005

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