Controversial film about Jeremy Corbyn to have its age rating reviewed by Portsmouth City Council

Former Labour leader Jeremy CorbynFormer Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
City councillors will be asked to give an age rating for a controversial film about the former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn next week.

Critics have described Oh Jeremy Corbyn: the Big Lie as a ‘conspiracy theory’ and a planned screening at Glastonbury Festival earlier this year was cancelled in response to a backlash. But Portsmouth Film Society has two screenings scheduled for next month, prompting a request to the city council’s licensing committee for an age rating to be given to allow these to take place.

Councils, as licensing authorities, are given powers under the Licensing Act 2003 to impose age classifications on films that have not been rated by the British Board of Film Classification to allow their showing at any licensed premises and assess the appropriateness of allowing children to view them.

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A report published ahead of Thursday’s (July 27) meeting of the city council licensing sub-committee says the society is planning to show the film on August 6 and 9. The documentary, produced by Platform Films, features contributions from Jackie Walker, Ken Loach, Andrew Murray, Graham Bash and Moshe Machover, and looks at the controversy around Mr Corbyn’s leadership and the antisemitism controversy. But opponents, including Jewish organisations have described it as ‘profoundly sinister,’ prompting cancellations of scheduled screenings across the country.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Jewish communal organisation the Board of Deputies, wrote to the festival organisers and said it would be “profoundly sinister” for it to be shown at the event.

This included Glastonbury Festival which said it hoped the film would ‘provoke political debate’ before cancelling the showing and saying: ‘It’s become clear that it is not appropriate for us to screen it at the festival. Glastonbury is about unity and not division, and we stand against all forms of discrimination.’

Writing to the festival’s organisers, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Jewish organisation the Board of Deputies, said: ‘We would request that you not allow your festival to be hijacked by those seeking to promote hatred with no basis in fact, in the same way as we would hope that your festival would not screen films seeking to promote other conspiracy theories, such as anti-vaccination, 9/11 truthers or chemtrails.’