Russell Kane has revealed his feelings about cancel culture to Express.co.uk, defending his friend and fellow comedian Seann Walsh, who was heavily criticised after pictures emerged of him kissing Katya Jones during their Strictly Come Dancing partnership – while she was still married to Neil Jones.
Seann and Katya were spotted sharing a kiss while the 2018 series was taking place and they were paired together.
Katya’s husband Neil, also a professional on the show, forgave her for the “drunken mistake” – though their marriage ended the following year.
But Seann’s girlfriend Rebecca Humphries wrote a scathing statement claiming he called her “psycho” and “nuts” for worrying about his friendship with Katya, adding that the kiss took place on her birthday.
The fallout was enormous, and Seann recently revealed he still suffers from panic attacks and takes antidepressants, telling the Daily Mail the kiss “destroyed his dreams”.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Steph’s Packed Lunch star Russell hit back at the view that cancel culture has made it harder for comedians.
He pointed out that despite sometimes receiving a backlash, comedians’ careers are usually largely unaffected by criticism – apart from Seann.
“The last person who got seriously attempted to be cancelled and bullied was my poor mate Seann Walsh, and that was nothing to do with stand up whatsoever,” he said.
“It was because of a dance show which has got nothing to do with free speech and comedy. No one can ever name a comedian.”
“People say, ‘Oh, you can’t say anything,’ Who? Who can’t say anything?
“When you go into a theatre, there is consent. You have said, ‘I am going in here, a comedian could call me a c*** in the front row, and anything goes.’
“That has not changed. I do not moderate anything I say as long as it doesn’t break any British law.
“You have never been able to shout, ‘Fire, everyone get out, there’s a fire’. It’s illegal to do that. Someone will get hurt.
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“It’s illegal to shout racist abuse that might incite violence. You couldn’t shout sexist abuse, you couldn’t tell the men in the audience, ‘Find someone tonight and sexually assault them’. That’s illegal, rightly so.
“Unless it’s illegal, unless I’m f***ing missing something, it’s just a bunch of butthurt people that can’t be a***d to write a good joke half the time.”
Russell has partnered with Nextdoor, the online community network, to help encourage people all over the UK to get together with their neighbours this June and celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a Big Jubilee Lunch.
To find out Russell’s tips to avoid any awkward interactions when inviting neighbours to your royal celebrations, watch his latest sketch here.