A student club at the University of London is requiring that all comedians sign a “behavioral agreement” as a condition of performing at a January comedy night.
According to emails reviewed by PJ Media, the UNICEF on Campus chapter at the University of London sent five local comedians — including Russian-born free speech advocate Konstantin Kisin — a request to perform.
“Attached is a short behavioural agreement form that we will ask for you to sign on the day to avoid problems,” wrote Fisayo Eniolorunda, the club’s event organizer, in an email to Kisin and four other comedians sent Sunday.
“This comedy night… aims to provide a safe space for everyone to share and listen to Comedy,” states the behavioral agreement form. “This contract has been written to ensure an environment where joy, love, and acceptance are reciprocated by all.”
“By signing this contract, 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.”
“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,” the agreement added.
Kisin told PJ Media that he initially “couldn’t believe it.”
“But then I remembered the Nimesh Patel story from last week and Jerry Seinfeld saying he doesn’t play colleges and it started to make sense,” said Kisin by phone on Monday night.
Making the contract even more ironic, Kisin is also the co-host of TRIGGERnometry, a podcast featuring critics of social justice, academia, and censorship. Notable recent guests include Helen Pluckrose, who helped pull off the infamous grievance studies hoax, as well as Munira Mirza, the former deputy mayor for London’s education and culture.
Though Kisin supports UNICEF’s cause, he said he could not perform in good faith considering the behaviour contract, which he posted on Twitter Monday evening.
I just received an invitation to perform *comedy* at a university…
— Konstantin Kisin (@KonstantinKisin) December 10, 2018
“Comedy isn’t about being ‘kind’ and ‘respectful’ and the only people who get to decide what comedians talk about on stage are… comedians,” Kisin told PJ Media.
“Comedy is supposed to push boundaries and challenge people and comedians should be free to mock religion, atheism and a whole load of other things,” he added.
The UNICEF chapter at the University of London is independent of UNICEF’s national organization, and aside from noting that, the club declined to comment.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.