London Transportation Agency Bans Ad for Play Called ‘Bad Jews'

'Bad Jews' is about a family brought together after the death of their Holocaust survivor grandfather. The name refers to non-observant Jews, show's producer says.

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A screenshot from the Daily Mail of the 'Bad Jews' poster.
A screenshot from the Daily Mail of the 'Bad Jews' poster.

Advertising posters for a London play called “Bad Jews” have been banned from appearing on London’s subway and bus network. The show is a comedy about members of a family who are brought together following the death of their Holocaust-survivor grandfather, and the poster depicts four characters from the play fighting on the floor.

Transport for London, the transportation agency that runs the network, wasn't specific about its reasons for the ban, but the London Jewish Chronicle, which gave the play a highly favorable review, quoted a spokesman for the agency as saying: “The advert ‘Bad Jews’ was previously displayed on our network as our advertising contractor approved it without consulting us. It was subsequently submitted for display again and has been rejected as it contravened our advertising policy, which states that adverts will not be approved if they may cause widespread or serious offense.”

For his part, Danny Moar, the producer of the show, which the Jewish Chronicle reported has played to sold-out audiences, told the newspaper: “Half the cast are Jewish, I’m Jewish, the writer [Joshua Harmon] is Jewish and the word ‘bad’ in the title, in so far as it matters, doesn’t mean ‘evil’ - it means ‘non-observant.’ This is a form of censorship which is so weird and ironic when, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo events, everyone marched against censorship. It won’t cripple the show but we want it to be seen by as many people as possible and we’re being prevented from trying to achieve that.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the main representative organization of the country’s Jewish community, similarly had no objection to the ad. “We are happy that [Transport for London] is sensitive to anti-Semitism in the light of the recent terror attacks in Europe, and it is probably a good thing that they err on the side of caution. However, in this particular case we don’t have a problem with the advert,” the group said in a statement reported by the Jewish Chronicle.

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