The comedian who demanded that a Jewish audience member leave his show over the weekend has a track record of verbally abusing people, it emerged today.
Paul Currie is accused of encouraging the crowd to chant ̵6;get the f*** out’ and ‘free Palestine‘ at Israeli ticketholder Liahav Eitan at the Soho Theatre in London on Saturday night because he refused to stand up and applaud a Palestine flag.
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it could investigate, while Soho Theatre bosses have apologised and said they were looking into the incident. It was also revealed that Currie performed hours after attending a pro-Palestine rally in London.
And it has emerged that audience members at a previous show in Australia claimed he verbally abused and evicted them after they refused to drink an unknown liquid.
Currie is claimed to have tried to force people attending the Adelaide Fringe in 2016 to drink from a glass – which he said contained soy milk – before they declined.
Paul Currie is an absurdist comedian from Belfast who has been performing since 2004
Paul Currie at a pro-Palestine march hours before performing at the Soho Theatre on Saturday
Audience member Daniel Purvis claimed at the time that Currie ‘tried to force the glass into my mouth, trying to get it through my hands’ and ‘poured what was left over my head because I refused’.
Mr Purvis said Currie allegedly also tried to get his female friend to drink the liquid, but it left her distressed because she nearly died after contracting meningococcal disease just five months earlier.
Mr Purvis told the Adelaide Advertiser at the time: ‘That disease is easily communicable by sneezing, by coughing. There are certain strains of hepatitis that can be transmitted directly by saliva.
‘Some people are allergic to soy milk. It shows no respect or forethought in how to treat the audience.’
But following the incident at the Tuxedo Cat venue, its operator Cassandra Tombs said she has been given a different version of events – that Mr Purvis and his friend were disrupting the show.
She said they ‘turned their chairs upside-down and they were just killing the whole show, and Paul asked them to leave’, adding that Currie was a ‘pretty gentle giant really’ and ‘it would take a lot for him to behave like that’.
Currie did not comment on the incident at the time, but MailOnline has contacted him again about it today.
As for what happened at the Soho Theatre, Mr Eitan, who was out celebrating his 33rd birthday with a friend, has told MailOnline he feared that Currie was going to ‘punch’ him and that he was left terrified by the ‘mob mentality’ of the crowd.
The shocking incident took place in front of around 200 people at the end of Currie’s one-hour show when he pulled out a Ukraine flag and then a Palestine flag before demanding the crowd give a standing ovation and applaud.
Audience members were left feeling ‘uneasy’ when he then confronted Mr Eitan and his friend because they stayed sat down. He then told them to leave his show and led pro-Palestine chants as they fled the venue across the stage.
Liahav Eitan (pictured) was hounded out of London’s Soho Theatre after comedian Paul Currie encouraged his audience to chant ‘get the f*** out’ and ‘free Palestine’
Currie has doubled down on his act by sharing praise for his incendiary routine.
He reposted an Instagram story from another comic last night which said: ‘Thanks @paulcurriecomedian for an amazing show on Saturday and for unapologetically calling for a ceasefire now.’
Following the shocking scenes at the Soho Theatre, which is a former synagogue, a Met Police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We are aware of the incident that took place at the Soho Theatre on Saturday evening.
‘We understand why it was upsetting for those involved and we note the venue has issued a statement confirming they are looking into what took place. A report was submitted to police on Monday and enquiries are ongoing.’
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on Monday, Mr Eitan, who moved from Israel to London five years ago, said: ‘I don’t think theatres should book this person [Currie]. He seemed violent and dangerous.’
The software engineer, whose seats were behind Currie, added: ‘The only way out was through the stage. We had to actually get on the stage quite close to him – and I was quite afraid that he’d throw a punch because he was still cursing and shouting.
Currie has doubled down on his act by sharing praise for his incendiary routine
‘He got out his Palestine flag again and shouted ‘motherf***er you’ll have to watch it again on your way out’.’
Mr Eitan and his friend fled from the Soho Theatre to Bloomsbury in a bid to move away from the venue, where the crowd were spilling out and some of them were giving them ‘unfriendly glances’.
He continued: ‘From the audience, we were mostly scared. We wanted to get out of the situation. It seemed like a bit of a mob mentality that could go sour any second.
‘So we were just afraid of violence. That’s why we didn’t linger right? We just wanted to get out of there.’
Mr Eitan added: ‘[We were] mostly scared about how that room might turn against us. From the comedian, I didn’t feel any sort of way like I thought it really reflected on him rather than on us.’
Recalling how the night unfolded, Mr Eitan explained how he and his friend had booked last-minute tickets to see Currie because they had time to kill before a birthday dinner at 9.30pm.
Mr Eitan said that while the show was ‘bizarre’, everything was fine until Currie unfurled the flags and asked the audience to stand up.
He said he didn’t believe it was fair to compare the Palestine and Ukraine conflicts but he just stayed in his seat and didn’t do anything.
The Soho Theatre was where the shocking incident occurred. It also used to be a synagogue
The incident comes amid heightened tensions as the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on.
Mr Eitan continued: ‘If I was closer to the door, maybe I would have left at that stage. But as it was, I just waited five minutes for the for the show to end.
‘When it ended, a lot of the people got up and clapped. There was a bit of a standing ovation there and me and my friends just stayed sat down quietly and not clapping.
‘I didn’t mean to make any point of it right? I just didn’t really enjoy that bit.’
Currie, who often shares pro-Palestine content on social media, is then said to have shown his appreciation to the crowd for coming before sarcastically thanking Mr Eitan and his friend for not standing up and clapping.
Mr Eitan said that Currie ‘lingered’ on them for around five to ten seconds until he responded: ‘Thank you for that Palestine flag’.
Currie then seemed ‘quite taken aback’ and asked Mr Eitan if he was being sarcastic.
‘Then he said something like, ‘Okay, well, you’re welcome. You’re welcome for the Palestine flag. It was part of the show.’
The Soho Theatre issued an apology for the incident and said that it would be investigating
‘And then he came back to me again and said, ‘Did you enjoy the show?’ I said, ‘Yes, up until that point’. And he said, ‘Ah up until that point’.
‘Then he just turns back to me and starts screaming, ‘I’m from Belfast. I know everything about ceasefires. Ceasefire now, get the f*** out of my theatre. Get out, get the f*** out of my show, motherf***ers.’
Mr Eitan said he then asked his friend if they should grab their things and go before they calmly attempted to leave.
‘Unfortunately, when the entire crowd was still inside, the only way out was through the stage,’ he added.
Coming close with the comedian on stage, Mr Eitan said Currie started a ‘public chant of ‘ceasefire now, and free Palestine’ as he ‘tried to incite the crowd’.
He added: ‘I didn’t look at him on the way out. We just left.’
Mr Eitan said Currie should ‘certainly’ be reprimanded for his ‘unreasonable and unprofessional behaviour’.
The Soho Theatre has apologised for the ‘upset and hurt’ caused by the incident to some of their customers and will be investigating what happened.
They wrote: ‘We are sorry and saddened by an incident that took place at our venue at the end of a performance of Paul Currie: Shtoom on Saturday 10 of February which has caused upset and hurt to members of (the) audience attending and others.
‘We take this very seriously and are looking into the detail of what happened as thoroughly, as sensitively, and as quickly as we can.
‘It is important to us that Soho Theatre is welcoming and inclusive place for all.’
The Campaign Against Antisemitism said they were assisting Jewish guests who were allegedly hounded out of the Soho Theatre.
A spokesperson for the group said: ‘What the Jewish audience-members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account.
‘These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theatres is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.’
The Israel-Hamas conflict was sparked by the Palestinian terror group’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians.
The Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry says Israel’s offensive has killed at least 28,340 people in Gaza, mostly women and children.
MailOnline has contacted Currie for comment.