Hardeep Singh Kohli heckler reported to police after festival show

Hardeep Singh Kohli faced a heckler in Nairn. Picture: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images
Hardeep Singh Kohli faced a heckler in Nairn. Picture: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images
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A complaint has been made to Police Scotland after an offensive comment was aimed at a broadcaster appearing at a Highland town arts festival.

Hardeep Singh Kohli was giving a curry-cooking demonstration at the Nairn Book and Arts Festival on Tuesday evening when a member of the public verbally interrupted him. Organisers said the rest of the audience immediately “drowned out” the heckler.

The Glaswegian comedian and chef was performing his show, Singh for your Supper, as part of the week-long arts festival in the county town.

In a statement posted online, organisers said: “An incident which occurred during a festival event has been reported to the police.

“This involved a comment which was made to Hardeep Singh Kohli during his evening event. We are aware that this comment caused offence.

“We would like to make it clear that we felt that the incident was dealt with firmly and conclusively at the time it occurred. Having spoken to Hardeep Singh Kohli at length, it is clear that he felt that the incident was dealt with appropriately by all parties concerned.”

Mr Kohli said: “I had the most amazing time in Nairn surrounded by the most welcoming people. One man’s idiocy couldn’t undo the warmth I felt and the support of my friends in Nairn.”

Audience members were quick to post their support for the performer.

“It’s reassuring to hear that the incident was dealt with appropriately and Hardeep Singh Kohli’s experience was still positive overall,” one posted on Facebook.

“Well done to the organisers and to the vast majority of the town in drowning out one bigoted voice.”

Another said: “I’ve always enjoyed Hardeep on radio and he did not disappoint. Unfortunately I was at same table as the instigator, who was out of order.”

Nairn Book and Arts Festival is in its 14th year and welcomes a variety of authors and performers to the Highland town.

There were fears the event would not return in 2017 because of a £15,000 funding gap, before a public appeal raised the money needed.

Organisers said they were left with the funding gap after not being awarded grant assistance from Creative Scotland.

Despite securing the event this year, the organising committee fear that future festivals could still be in doubt.

Speaking in May, David Godden, chairman of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival committee, said: “We’re immensely relieved to be able to safeguard the festival for this year.

“The fundraising campaign was very definitely a one-off and we’ll be working hard to ensure that we get the support we need from all possible funding sources for future festivals.”