I know Bidisha’s already covered this, but I couldn’t let the all male line-up for Amnesty’s upcoming 50th anniversary Secret Policeman’s Ball pass without comment, especially in light of today’s report criticising the BBC’s Question Time and Mock the Week “for featuring “token women” on their panels.

To grudgingly give them their due, at least Question Time and Mock the Week do feature some women, albeit women are grossly under-represented and tokenised on those and other panel shows. Amnesty on the other hand, “an international human rights organisation with more than three million supporters worldwide” (some of whom are no doubt women), doesn’t appear to have invited any women to take part in its “legendary” show.

So far the line up includes: Jon Stewart, Russell Brand, Stephen Colbert, Reggie Watts, Coldplay and Mumford and Sons, with Armstrong and Miller doing the voiceovers for the animated promotional campaign.

According to Andy Hackman of Amnesty International:

“This year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball brings together an incredible representation of the best comedians and musicians in the world. It’s humbling that they have given up their time to join us and champion the fundamental right to opinion and expression – and in doing so helping us connect with a new generation of supporters.

I hope comedy and music fans in the UK will help us in making it a bad night for dictators and a good night for free speech.”

Seriously? This event  “brings together an incredible representation of the best comedians and musicians in the world” and yet there’s not a single woman amongst them? Then I honestly don’t see how it can “bring together an incredible representation of the best comedians and musicians in the world”: well, not unless you think women can’t be funny or make good music that is.

Never mind making it a “bad night for dictators and a good night for free speech”, it seems Amnesty’s intent on making its 50th anniversary Secret Policeman’s Ball another bad night for women and a bloody good night for the boy’s club.

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