A comedian is to be taken to court for making insults and threats after he joked about River of Love pastor Gordon Manché being "Malta’s biggest asshole”.

Daniel Xuereb said police had served him with court summons for two charges: for insulting Manché, and for misusing electronic equipment to share those threats in relation to a video of his comedy sketch he posted on social media back in March.

Xuereb is the second comedian this year to be criminally charged by police after making fun of Manché .

Back in January, Matthew Bonanno, owner of the satirical news site Bis-Serjeta was charged with making online threats after he implied that the evangelical group River of Love should be carpet bombed. 

The court summons notes that Manché filed the criminal complaint about Xuereb at the Msida police station.

Daniel Xuereb's comedy sketch on pastor Gordon Manche's comments on anal sex. Video: Daniel Xuereb

Xuereb said the police informed him that he had been sued back in April, but he received the police charges just last week.

“Honestly, I’m going to continue doing what I do,” he told Times of Malta when contacted on Monday. 

“I’m going to continue doing stand-up and making fun, comedy is an art, yet police are charging me for insulting Manche. He is not spending a penny on this court case, police are charging me, so that comes out of the taxpayers’ pocket.”

Xuereb also launched the announcement of his new comedy show “Tsunami of Love”, a play on the words ‘River of Love”.

In March, the 30-year-old comedian had a joke linked to comments Manche made about anal sex during a River of Love sermon. While discussing topics of sex and marriage, Manche said that “anal sex is an abomination”. 

“It’s not just a sin, but an abomination,” he said, claiming that it introduces ‘demonic forces’ into one’s life. 

During the comedy show, Xuereb picked up on Manche’s “rant” about the sins relating to anal sex. 

“We need to listen to what he has to say. I think he is right; I think he is right. As Malta’s biggest asshole, I think he knows what he is talking about.”

If Xuereb is found guilty, he could be fined up to €10,000 or jailed for up to two years. 

“So if Manche has the right to speak his mind and say what he does about sex, then I should have the right to call him an asshole,” he said. 

He said he has already sought legal advice and found it “funny” that he will be going to court for his joke. 

“To be honest, I uploaded the video of that joke because I wasn’t going to say it anymore on stage, and I just wanted to sort of file it,” he said. 

"Yet, my concern is that I have had comedians ask me if they can say certain jokes and poke fun at certain people. That means other people are scared and remain quiet. Here we see how the police are being used so that people stop criticising Manche."

Last December, Pastor Manché filed a judicial protest against Times of Malta’s editor-in-chief Herman Grech, journalists Ivan Martin, Jessica Arena, Matthew Xuereb and Edwina Brincat and columnist Wayne Flask demanding that articles linking his Christian evangelical community to the alleged murderer of a Polish woman are taken down from the website. 

Times of Malta rejected the request and filed a counter-protest against Manché.

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