Jimmy Carr’s joking about the Holocaust has made some question his suitability as host of the Channel 4 show. Photograph: Rob Parfitt/Channel 4

A Jimmy Carr-hosted program accused of using an act that resembled book burning to get publicity

A new program that would let a studio audience vote on whether Jimmy Carr should burn an Adolf Hitler picture has drawn criticism for Channel 4.

The TV network has purchased artworks by a variety of “problematic” artists, including Hitler, Pablo Picasso, the convicted child molester Rolf Harris, and the sexual abuser Eric Gill as part of its most recent season of shows.

Later this month, Jimmy Carr Destroys Art, a television discussion, will address the issue of whether it is possible to really remove a piece of art from its creator before picking which works to destroy using a range of instruments. According to Ian Katz, the chief programming officer of Channel 4, the program honors the network’s long history of “iconoclasm and irreverence.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, meanwhile, claims that the program “makes Hitler a topic of light entertainment” and has criticized the concept. The organization’s chief executive, Olivia Marks-Woldman, stated: “The question of how far art can be linked to its creators is important, but this programme is simply a stunt for shock value, and it cannot excuse the trivialization of the horrors of Nazism.”

Some compared the event’s material to Nazi book burnings, while others questioned why a comedian who has been denounced by a long list of anti-hate organizations for making jokes about the Holocaust was picked to lead it. The performance was shot on Wednesday night. And others have questioned whether it is ever morally acceptable to destroy a historical artifact, regardless of who created it.

There is no general rule prohibiting wrongdoers from destroying works of art, according to Dr. Sam Rose, senior professor in art history at St. Andrews. He told the Guardian, “I believe it’s all on a case by case basis. “It’s OK to burn certain cultural products created by criminals, like Jimmy Carr DVDs where he avoids paying taxes and makes jokes about the Holocaust. However, this is because Rolf Harris and those other individuals are not noteworthy.

“Unfortunately, works by Hitler and Gill are currently a part of significant histories and may in the future help us understand things about ourselves. They belong in an archive available for study, not used in a cheesy stunt for ratings on a failing TV channel,” the statement reads.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, a journalist and anti-antisemitism activist, branded it a “utterly sick piece of entertainment television.”

He said to Nick Ferrari on LBC radio, “I can’t fathom how this could go through any level of development. I don’t support book burning since I believe the Nazis did it. I believe we have entered another realm—cloud cuckoo land—when we discuss Jimmy Carr and a work of art created by Adolf Hitler. This is a frantic appeal for attention, not a discussion on free speech.

Hitler was not well known for the quality of his artwork, Sacerdoti said. The Holocaust, which resulted in the slaughter of at least 6 million Jews, is the sole reason we are aware of Hitler’s artwork. Additionally, they have a comedian with a history of making jokes about the Holocaust.

The editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Jake Wallis Simons, said that popular television was “trolling the Jewish community, all those who suffered under nazism around the world, and anyone who remains in possession of a moral compass.” According to him, “a studio audience and a comedian will decide the fate of one of the world’s most problematic and unsettling artifacts.”

here were also questions over why Channel 4 decided to spend an undisclosed sum on the expensive works during a time when viewers will be struggling with the cost of living crisis. Hitler’s artworks have previously sold for up to $400,000.

Will Black, the author of Veneer of Civilisation, tweeted: “Jimmy Carr, who has lashed out and smeared Gypsy communities a number of times, is set to earn a lot of money in a ridiculous spectacle of Channel 4 spending money on a painting by Hitler (who murdered several hundred thousand Romanies) and Carr smashing it. While families freeze.”

Rebecca Rideal, the founder of HistFest, London’s biggest history festival, added: “Making light entertainment out of deep trauma? C4 should be ashamed. In terms of integrity, that picture of Jimmy Carr says it all.”

Thanks to at The Guardian whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.