Australian Jewish comedian crucified


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A Jewish comedian from Australia had himself crucified in the Philippines on Good Friday for a new show.

John Safran, 36, who became a renowned TV and radio personality in Australia for staging outlandish stunts, was one of several people who chose to be nailed to a cross near Manila as part of the ritual symbolizing Jesus’ suffering on Easter, the French news agency AFP reported.

Photographs clearly show Safran, a graduate of Yeshiva College, an Orthodox boys-only school in Melbourne. Naked from the waist up and wearing a long-haired wig, he was heard moaning as the nails were hammered through his skin and into the giant cross. Afterward Safran, who identified himself as John Michaels, was rushed to a medical tent.

His first encounter with notoriety was in 1997 when he was part of the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s "Race Around The World," a TV contest for young documentary makers during which Safran ran naked through the streets of Jerusalem. Seven years later, during the award-winning series "John Safran Vs. God," he tried to join the Ku Klux Klan in California.

His latest stunt was filmed for a new show titled "John Safran’s Race Relations."

The director of Australian Broadcasting Corp. Television, Kim Dalton, said it was a “thoughtful and challenging exploration of cultural differences and convictions — the kind of project that you expect from John Safran.”

But Father Gary Rawson, the dean of Ashfield Canterbury Deanery in Sydney, told AFP: “I wouldn’t be encouraging anyone to do that. I’m not so sure the Church would be encouraging anyone to actually nail themselves. That’s excruciating pain and harmful to the body. If we indulge in self harm, that is wrong.”

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