Guz Khan laughs off Have I Got News For You complaints | Comic criticised for posts about Israeli 'war crimes' and 'genocide'

Guz Khan laughs off Have I Got News For You complaints

Comic criticised for posts about Israeli 'war crimes' and 'genocide'

Guz Khan has laughed off complaints that his tweets about ‘genocidal’ Israel make him an unfit host of Have I Got News For You.

The Man Like Mobeen creator is hosting the topical BBC comedy on Friday – but his comments on social media accusing the Israelis state of ‘'ethnic cleansing'  have outraged some.

Following newspaper reports on the controversy this morning, 37-year-old Khan reposted a screen shot from MailOnline’s story headlined: ‘BBC staff "lost for words" after comedian Guz Khan  is announced as host of Have I Got News For You after weeks of calling Israel "genocidal" on social media.’

Writing on X, the 37-year-old joked he was glad that was the only controversy engulfing him, joking: ‘Man, I thought they had the CCTV footage of me eating haraam McDonalds chicken nuggets in a car park in Coventry. That would have been career ending…because I was ENJOYING them. God forgive me.’

Khan has accused Israel of war crimes and of occupying Palestinian territory for years.

His posts include saying: ‘The system is set up in the West so that Israel have total, utter impunity to commit these war crimes.’

He has also shared a post from Greece's former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis saying: ‘The path to ending the tragic loss of innocent lives - both Palestinian and Israeli - begins with one crucial first step: the end of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.’

But he has also spoken about having empathy for Jewish people caught up in a heightened  climate of antisemitism. 

On Monday, he posted:  ‘I spoke to my friend. She’s more than a friend. She’s mandem to me. She’s Jewish, and she said something that made me sad. She said she’s scared. She’s scared to even show she’s Jewish. This isn’t right. We know how that feels as Muslims. How our mothers and sisters feel daily.’

Mail Online reported that an unnamed senior Tory called the decision to allow Khan to host HIGNFY 'appalling', adding: 'It is quite clear that the BBC has lost all sense of impartiality and public service standards. No one at the BBC is ever held to account over such decisions.'

The BBC has defended the choice of Khan as the guest host, saying they trust producers Hat Trick to deliver a programme within their impartiality guidelines.

A spokesman said: 'Hat Trick are a very experienced production company who have been making Have I Got News For You for 30 years. 

'They know how to make the programme and it has always had people with a broad range of political views. Their job is to deliver a programme that fully complies with the BBC's editorial standards.' 

When Gary Lineker landed in hot water over similar tweets, the BBC’s editorial complaints unit ruled: Our social media guidance outlines that within certain parameters, presenters of flagship programmes on the BBC are free to express opinions about the issues that matter to them. This includes issues that may be the subject of public and political debate.'

Published: 29 Nov 2023

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