Jimmy Carr controversies – racist joke, 9/11 Zayn Malik remark and tax evasion

British comedian Jimmy Carr has entertained fans across the nation with his hilarious anecdotes and remarkable comic timing since the early 2000s.

Known as the face of several popular TV shows like Your Face or Mine and 8 Out of 10 Cats, the star has shown his willingness to captivate an audience and provide viewers with a smile.

But despite his popularity and talent, Jimmy has been the centre of controversy as he has been known to confidently share some rather insensitive jokes.

READ MORE: Jimmy Carr backed by Channel 4 despite comic fearing travellers joke could end career

And although he has faced backlash, Jimmy has often appeared unremorseful.

As he celebrates his 50th birthday today, Daily Star has taken a look the TV star's biggest controversies.

'Disturbing' traveller joke

In February 2022, Jimmy was heavily criticised for a joke he made in his Netflix comedy special about the traveller's community.

In a short clip taken from his stand-up special Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material, the comedian caused uproar for his insensitive remarks about travellers during the Holocaust.

He said: "When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of six million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine.

"But they never mention the thousands of gypsies that were killed by the Nazis.

"No one ever talks about that because no one wants to talk… about the positives."

Once the clip from his show emerged online, The Traveller Moment, a group of people who uphold 'the rights of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people', commented on the clip.

They wrote: "This is truly disturbing and goes way beyond humour. We need all your support in calling this out."

Despite the backlash, Jimmy was willing to go down fighting and addressed his comments in a separate stand up show.

Talking to his audience, he said: "We are speaking, my friends, in the last chance saloon.

"What I am saying on stage this evening is barely acceptable now. In 10 years f***ing forget about it."

He added: "You will say I saw a man and he stood on a stage and he made light of serious issues.

"We used to call them jokes and people would laugh."

9/11 Zayn Malik comparison

Jimmy also received complaints when he made a joke in regards to Zayn Malik and 9/11.

During his appearance on Netflix is a Joke: The Festival in May 2022, the star spoke frankly about how he felt about the singer leaving his band One Direction.

He told the audience: "Now, you might think this is silly, but I assure you, it’s absolutely true. When Zayn left One Direction, for me, it was like 9/11. I didn’t care about that either."

Due to the fact that almost 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001, when planes were hijacked and flown directly into the World Trade Centre, fans called out his insensitive remarks.

Tax evasion

In 2012, Jimmy was involved in the K2 Tax Avoidance Scheme.

After the news became public, the star admitted to feeling "guilt" and "shame" with his involvement and the public exposure that could have ended his career.

Speaking openly on the The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett, he said: "I didn't sleep for maybe three days. You always get an hour here and there, but I was having panic attacks.

"That sensation, if you haven't had one, is that you can't get comfortable in your own skin.

"You can't sit, stand, eat or drink. Nothing feels right, you're just off.

"I took a beta-blocker on the first day. Then I got valium. I got prescribed enough to send me down a black hole. But I didn't take anything."

He added: "I felt guilt and shame and learnt hard lessons."

Family feud

After the tragic death of his mother in 2001, Jimmy's relationship with his father Patrick became strained.

In 2004 Jimmy's father was arrested, accused of harassing the comedian and his brother Colin, but was acquitted and awarded costs.

News reports later revealed Jimmy won an apology from the Metropolitan Police after having accused them of false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution following charges against him of harassment.

In 2021 the TV host said he had not spoken to his father since 2000 and had not seen him in person, with the exception of an autograph signing after a gig in 2015.


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