Community leaders have criticised The Guardian for agreeing to host left-wing film producer Ken Loach.
The award-winning director, who has been accused of playing down antisemitism during the row over racism in the Labour Party, is due to speak at an event on 24 June.
Vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Amanda Bowman, said: “Why would the Guardian give a platform to such a prominent actor in the epic that is Labour’s antisemitism problem?”
Over the years, Ken Loach’s approach to this has been dismissive to the point of denial. In a time when we are rightly focused on closing down the spaces where different kinds of racism can flourish, we hope the Guardian will reconsider this misplaced honour.”
The paid-for Guardian Live event will feature the filmmaker with critic Peter Bradshaw for an online 60-minute discussion about his career and “his thoughts on deep rifts of inequality cutting through British society today.”
Loach drew controversy in the spring of 2018 when he called on the Labour Party to suspend MPs who appeared at the Enough is Enough rally against antisemitism in the party. He denounced the Panorama documentary into Labour antisemitism, writing to Bafta urging it to reconsider the decision to nominate it for an award.
He also drew anger in 2017 at a fringe event, after a speaker reportedly questioned whether the Holocaust could be discussed, and when asked if it was acceptable, he said: “I think history is for us all to discuss, wouldn’t you?”
A Guardian and News Media spokesperson said: “Guardian Live events offer a varied programme of discussions, debates, interviews, speeches and festivals featuring Guardian journalists and a range of politicians, authors, musicians and artists. This particular ‘in conversation’ event is a discussion hosted by the Guardian’s film critic, focusing on Ken Loach’s career as a director and filmmaker.”
Ken Loach has been approached for comment.