Alan Carr’s response to being told someone is allergic to coriander is not to accept it and show compassion; it is to laugh at the woman, do this loudly so everyone hears and then shove coriander into her mouth.
Shocking isn’t the word!
Firstly thanks to my wonderful brother who read this article and thought of me, he knew my spider senses for injustice in the face of allergies would be triggered big time.
People CAN be allergic to coriander!
Alan I hope you’re reading this (but know you probably aren’t) – people can be allergic to many things, not just the top 14 allergens we all know about.
And coriander allergy is a very real allergy. You can read Coriander allergy – watch out for the spices here.
Allergies and intolerances can range to mild stomach discomfort or skin issues to anaphylaxis, none of which should be dismissed, belittled and laughed at.
Here’s Alan Carr’s views on allergies
Here’s an excerpt from the article, written by Charlotte Edwards in The Guardian.
“He wants to know why one of them is picking bits out of her salad. He doesn’t accept that she’s allergic to coriander. Whoever heard of being allergic to coriander? …
He picks up the coriander and stuffs it into the mouth of the woman who said she was allergic. “See!” he declares, triumphant. “You’re not really allergic. If you were, you’d be dead by now.” He cackles. Everyone else cackles. It’s like the canned laughter of witches.“
Why would someone laugh about allergies?
I think Alan was probably in comedy mode, and clearly from the article, is performing, to anyone in the room, even before the interview began.
You can read ‘I used to say awful things – Alan Carr on Divorce, dating and the skit that haunts him’ in full here. But I can probably save you a wasted five minutes. There isn’t any more in the article regarding this coriander incident.
The irony of reading that Alan did this in an article entitled ‘ I used to say awful things’ is stark. Alan – your humour may still need some tweaks because as someone with allergies I’m not finding that funny at all.
Alan does talk about how he’s changed his attitudes and no longer lays into people; making fun of those with addiction, weight issues etc. is a think of the past. But I’d like to urge Alan to look a bit deeper.
You can’t just pick and choose who you stop making fun of. Allergies and anaphylaxis are life limiting daily and potentially life threatening. There are cleverer ways to make jokes and the allergy community is fed of being the brunt of them.
Why is it OK to laugh about allergies?
Reading in an article that a main stream comedian I have laughed along with on 8 out of 10 cats for years is actually cruel to the face of a woman telling him she has allergies is shocking. Sadly I think these kinds of throw away comments happen a lot. It’s no longer OK to make fun of disabled, queer, mentally ill people… but allergies are fair game.
Why is that? Because it’s so triggering to hear things like this. Having been bullied and made fun of due to my own allergies in the past it brings it all back. By all means have some fun. we can all laugh at things if we use humour intelligently. But stuffing coriander into someone’s mouth is not funny.
Might others reading this copy Alan and do the same to their allergic friend? The consequences could be tragic and I’ll say no more about it.
Light hearted allergy comments people should stop saying
I used to laugh off comments and pretend they didn’t upset me but when they happen a lot it can become very wearing and make you feel very unsafe. If people think your allergies are funny, will they keep you safe? or will they put in in danger?
Here’s just a few of my favourites:
- I’d never go out again if I was you
- What can you eat? Dust?
- Your food must be so disgusting / your GF bread looks disgusting
- I’d kill myself if I could never eat cheese again
- Poor you, you can’t have any of this can you?
This is allergy bullying
You may not think shoving coriander in someone’s mouth is bullying, but I’m assuming this lady was in some way working with or for Alan Carr when this happened. This kind of thing should not be condoned or laughed it, it’s a toxic and unpleasant environment for anyone to have to work in. It hardly needs pointing out, but for the person on the other end of bullying or teasing about things like this can be hurtful.
- It’s unkind
- It’s wearing and exhausing for the person with the allergy to laugh this kind of thing off
- No one ever seems to stand up for the person being bullied – in this case they all laugh!
- No one calls out the bully
- It’s lazy and it’s boring
Do better Alan! And if you’ve ever done anything like this, just take a few moments and put yourself in our shoes. We live in fear daily of making mistakes and getting ill… or worse. Just be bloody grateful you can browse a buffet without having to worry about anything.
We all need to do better…
I’ve had this kind of thing happen to me and no one else EVER steps in and says anything, yet I know they also feel uncomfortable as on numerous occasions they will say to me privately, things like… ‘that was out of order, I’m sorry he said that, we don’t claim her!‘ You know in solidarity. But we need to do more if we are going to educate these people.
- We need to call others out when they say innappropriate or rude things about allergies
- We need to educate them that allergies can be caused by literally anything, not just the common things
- We need to tell them that we don’t appreciate these comments
- If you don’t want to speak up at the time, consider speaking to the person who said the thing in private and explain how it made you feel, as the bystander or the intended butt of the humour. When I’ve done this, most times they listen and hear and understand. It works, they often do think they’re being funny and will stop making fun of you when they know it upsets you.
- Report it if it keeps happening at school or work
Now for some light relief, a palate cleanser if you will, check out my favourite allergy jokes! And if you want more, I loved the episode of Not Going out when they went they joked about Eczema National Park!
You may also be interested in reading:
- Please cover up your skin, your psoriasis offends me – How not to treat your friends!
- Stop Allergy Bullying now!
- Let’s stop eczema bullying
Coriander image from Unsplash – Chandar Chaurasia