University of London Students Demand Comedians Sign ‘Safe Space’ Contract Before Performance

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Students at the University of London in London, England, are demanding that comedians sign a “behavioral agreement” form in order to ensure that their event in January will be a “safe space” for everyone in attendance.

A student group called the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the University of London is demanding that all comedians sign a contract agreeing to obey the students’ “no tolerance policy” before being allowed to perform at their upcoming charity event, as first reported by PJ Media.

Free-speech advocate and comedian Konstantin Kisin, who was expected to perform at the event, was appalled upon discovering the newfound restrictions in an email sent to him by UNICEF. The comedian tweeted his sentiments on Monday morning, along with a screenshot of the alleged email.

“I just received an invitation to perform *comedy* at a university…” wrote Kisin, “The title of this ‘contract’ nearly made me puke.”

The image attached to Kisin’s tweet shows a portion of the email in which students had banned comedians from joking about a wide range of topics.

“By signing this contact, you are agreeing to our no tolerance policy with regards to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism,” wrote the UNICEF.

“This contract has been written to ensure an environment where joy, love and acceptance is reciprocated by all,” continued the students, adding that it was important for them to “provide a safe space” for everyone at the event.

“All topics must be presented in a way that is respectful and kind. It does not mean that these topics can not be discussed. But, it must be done in a respectful and non-abusive way.”

Kisin, who was also scheduled to perform at the Backyard Comedy Club in London on Tuesday, stated that he would make Tuesday night’s comedy show about “complying with [UNICEF’s] rules.”

Last week, students at Columbia University invited SNL writer and comedian Nimesh Patel to perform comedy at an event, only to boot the comedian from the stage in the middle of hit set, as the students found Patel’s jokes “offensive.”

It is not clear what had inspired UNICEF to draft their “no tolerance” contract, but one might assume that it is the students’ attempt at being proactive, knowing that they too would desire to have a comedian removed from the stage if a joke were to fall on politically correct ears.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.


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