News: Comedy Benefit Faces Criticism For All-White Line-Up*

Yesterday an all-star benefit gig organised by Harry Hill was announced featuring John Bishop, Jo Brand, Alex Brooker, Rob Brydon, Alan Carr, Jimmy Carr, Roisin Conaty, Nina Conti, Tom Davis, Jack Dee, Nick Helm, Harry Hill, Stewart Lee, Sean Lock, Matt Lucas, Joe Lycett, Jason Manford, Al Murray, Sara Pascoe, Vic Reeves, Liza Tarbuck, Paul Whitehouse & Josh Widdicombe. 

Following the announcement of the gig, in aid of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and taking place at the Bloomsbury Theatre on December 4, comedian Lolly Adefope drew attention to the fact that there were over twenty acts on the bill and there was a lack of diversity with a light-hearted tweet saying: "Someone's dreaming of a white Christmas."

The tweet seemed to touch a nerve. It was retweeted over 500 times. Adefope later clarified her position: "I think a gig can be diverse and can support a charity and have a great line-up, it's called multitasking. And if diversity isn't important to you that's fine, that's your prerogative. But I'm still going to call it out when I see it. Good intentions shouldn't close you off to a conversation. I would never want a charity's support to be affected, and so I've donated to Action Duchenne and anyone who has retweeted or liked my post is welcome to as well."

She added the donation link which is here: https://t.co/NeF2w5Jmwi

Update: The organisers of the gig have issued the following statement: "We wanted to respond to the concerns raised yesterday following the announcement of Comedians Sing the Christmas Hits, the charity fundraiser for Action Duchenne. 

"The event is being organised by Harry Hill in aid of a charity he has supported for a number of years as patron. Harry has enlisted comedians who are giving up their time for free to support the cause at Christmas - acts who weren’t aware of the full line up. Harry asked a diverse range of comedians if they were available, with conversations with others still ongoing, and the line up reflects who could perform on the day at the time of the event going on sale.
 
"We fully acknowledge in hindsight that the line up and marketing doesn’t represent the diversity of the comedy industry and should have been addressed prior to being released. We apologise for any offence caused; it was never the intention of the organisers to present a non-diverse line up and we’re sorry that Action Duchenne have found themselves in the middle of the discussion around it.
 
"We are looking at how best to address the issue and we remain hopeful that the event raises money and awareness for an important cause.  We welcome contact from any acts that would like to take part on what we’re sure will be a brilliant night, and once again apologise for any offence caused."

Tickets for the gig go on sale at 10am on Friday 16th November, available from www.thebloomsbury.com.

*Note - the headline/picture has been changed after discussion with Lolly Adefope. If you are seeing an old version with a picture of Lolly Adefope that was taken by ace photographer Idil Sukan.

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