Asked by the ex-footballer who his allies against antisemitism are, the Jewish comedian was flummoxed. Thatâ€™s because he has thrown his lot in with the racists
You may not have heard of the Jewish comedian David Baddiel or the black ex-footballer Jason Lee. You may not care about either of them. But their first-ever meeting â€“ aired in two different formats this week â€“ should interest anyone concerned about how the discursive battle on racism and identity politics is manipulating our political life in increasingly malevolent ways.
The meeting ostensibly took place so that Baddiel could offer an apology to Lee 25 years after he repeatedly lampooned and bullied him in a BBC TV show called Fantasy Football League â€“ in ways that even then were obviously racist. Baddiel blacked up as Lee, wearing a pineapple on his head to ridicule Leeâ€™s appearance because he wore dreadlocks tied atop his head for matches.
In one of those formats, Baddiel appeared on the launch show of Leeâ€™s new podcast channel, which has currently racked up just over 700 subscribers, even with the help of Baddielâ€™s appearance.
Lee took the opportunity to make a moving case for why his and many other black peopleâ€™s lives were irreparably harmed by Baddielâ€™s racialised ridicule back in the 1990s. Lee rapidly became the target of nationwide mockery, on and off the field. His young children were confused and frightened that every time they walked in the street with their father passers-by would shout out abuse.