In the wake of the horrifying terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo yesterday, comedians around the world are standing up for free speech. The attack, which left 12 dead, has hit the comedy and media world particularly hard as the murders were acted out due to satiric cartoons that offended the attackers. Four of the deceased were cartoonists.
In response, people around the world have shared their outrage and comedians in particular have spoken out about how close these deaths hit to home and how we must not let terror prevent free speech.
In an interview yesterday, Tina Fey said that the attack, as well as the Sony hacking around the movie The Interview, are important reminders of how crucial free speech is. “Even if it’s just dumb jokes in The Interview, we have the right to make them,” Fey said at a press conference. “You cannot back down.”
Conan O’Brien, in the opening monologue to his show last night, talked about the attacks noting that the murders “really hit home for anyone who, day in and day out, mocks political, social and religious figures.”
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart also devoted part of his show in tribute to the editors, cartoonists, and policemen who died, saying “I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage . . . mainly because it shouldn’t have to be that. Those guys at Hebdo . . . were killed for their cartoons.”
Comedian Louis CK even sported a T-shirt with “Charlie Hebdo” scrawled across it during his show at Madison Show Garden last night.
Other comedians weighed in on Twitter to show their support for the citizens of France and the principles of free speech and comedy.
While we’re all still spinning from the shock of it, it’s important to heed these sentiments. After all, the pen is far mightier than fear.