Channel 4 forced to apologise over Shankill bomb joke in Black-ish sitcom
CHANNEL 4 have been accused of "moral bankruptcy" after airing a trailer for a US sitcom which included a joke about the Shankill bombing.
The channel's critically-acclaimed family comedy Black-ish has been running on E4 and is hailed as the most socially-conscious network sitcom on US TV.
However, Channel 4 was forced to apologise today after an episode from the first series of the show featuring the distasteful joke was singled out to advertise its online All4 content.
In the clip, the father character Dre Johnston finds out his son is has joined a junior branch of the Republican Party at his school and tries to break the news to his wife Bow, played by Tracee Ellis Ross (daughter of singer Diana Ross).
The Democrat-supporting Bow is shown to be unable to comprehend the concept and a series of misunderstandings ensue, including her assumption at one point that her husband is referring to the IRA.
"A member of the Irish Republican Army?" she asks.
"Okay, Okay, If you got to take down a couple of fish and chips shops to be free of British rule, Dre, you gotta do what you gotta do"
Nine civilians - including two children, aged seven and 13 - were killed by an IRA bomb that exploded at a fish shop on Belfast's Shankill Road in 1993.
The trailer titled "When politics splits your family" was posted on social media on Thursday evening and sparked a wave of complaints, including from PUP councillor Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston, who said she had been contacted by victims' families.
"I contacted Channel 4 this morning and lodged a complaint. There is no comedy to be found in the loss of life, let alone one of the most notorious incidents of the troubles in Northern Ireland," she said.
All 4 later removed the social media post, but the Belfast politician said it was "not enough".
"It cannot and should not be swept under the carpet," she said.
"This is not a circumstance of a sensitive audience or a lack of humour it is moral bankruptcy. There is dark humour and then there is ignorance. This has crossed the line."
A Channel 4 spokesman said: "The clip was taken from the long-running American sitcom Blackish and was posted on social media, out of the context of the episode, in error and has since been removed.
"We apologise if any offence has been caused by this clip."
He did not respond when asked whether the episode would now be withdrawn from its online offering.