Fans slam Fringe for forcing Graham Linehan to perform in the street because of his gender critical views despite previously turning a blind eye to Frankie Boyle joking about raping women
- Writer Graham Linehan performed outside Holyrood after venues cancelled him
Edinburgh Fringe fans today decried the festival and said that the ‘obscene’ cancelling of Father Ted writer Graham Linehan is a ‘black mark’ on its long history of supporting stand-up and free speech.
Mr Linehan cried last night as he vowed to defeat ‘evil trans activists’ during a defiant street performance after two venues cancelled an Edinburgh Fringe show over his gender critical views.
His supporters have questioned how Scottish shock stand-up Frankie Boyle joked about Katie Price’s disabled child and raping and killing Holly Willoughby but has always been welcome at the Fringe. They have renamed the festival the ‘Edinburgh Cringe’ and vowed to boycott it.
Linehan, who said last year he has ‘lost everything’ because of his transgender views, has been axed because of his insistence that women cannot have a penis and ‘anyone who believes this is an extremist’.
He drew a large crowd of fans to his Comedy Unleashed show outside the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood last night in a show of defiance after Leith Arches in in Edinburgh cancelled his show over his opinions on transgender ideology.
Audience member Angela told MailOnline it was ‘obscene’ that Linehan had been ‘cancelled for views the majority of the population has’. She added: ‘If there are protests I think we’ll carry on. We’re quite used to this sort of nonsense from children. I think it’s really about supporting free speech in general because if we cancel comedy, where do we go next?’
Father Ted writer Graham Linehan vowed to defeat ‘evil trans activists’ as he broke down in tears after defiantly performing on the street after two venues cancelled an Edinburgh Fringe show over his gender critical views
Linehan drew a large crowd of fans to the Comedy Unleashed show outside the Scottish Parliament last night
Supporters of Linehan have said the Fringe has lost its credibility
Another supporter of the IT Crowd creator said: ‘We’re here for support and solidarity and hopefully a bit of drink. We’re calling it “Edinburgh Cringe”. It’s pathetic, it’s censorship. Frankie Boyle was here, was disgusting, but we wouldn’t want him cancelled. It’s so embarrassing, the Edinburgh Fringe used to push the boundaries and be edgy and now it’s not. I’ll be boycotting the Edinburgh Fringe from now on.’
READ MORE: Graham Linehan went from creating Father Ted and IT Crowd and helping to make Alan Partridge a huge success to losing his marriage, fortune and family because of his stance on trans issues
Writing in The Spectator, Brendan O’Neill said that there is hypocrisy and contradictions in the way Frankie Boyle, who is described as a ‘notorious cracker of misogynistic gags’, gets ‘the red carpet rolled out for him at the Fringe, while Graham Linehan, whose chief thoughtcrime is to understand what a woman is, has just been ruthlessly cancelled’.
‘The blacklisting of Linehan is a black mark on the Fringe. A once edgy festival seems to be morphing into conformity where only those who obediently bow to the new orthodoxies are welcome. It’s not funny’, he said.
Around 100 people turned up to see him, along with almost as many photographers.
Despite fears that the show would be disrupted by protests from transgender groups, the act went ahead smoothly.
Following a warm-up act for his Edinburgh Fringe show, Linehan took to the stage.
He said to cheers: ‘I keep asking people what I’ve said wrong and what I’m saying wrong about women’s spaces, about children being mutilated and sterilised and about the women who are being harassed and threatened.
‘Comedy is my first love, but I’ve not been allowed to do that for five years. This is what I decided to do to keep my toe in the water and they can’t even let me do that.
The comedian told MailOnline afterwards that trans rights activists ‘need to be defeated completely’ after revealing he had to go on anxiety medication due to ‘painful, horrible and unpleasant’ backlash against him and his family.
IT Crowd creator Linehan said: ‘I don’t feel broken, I’m so used to this weird life, that they can’t really hurt me anymore.
‘The time they were able to hurt me was when I was still married. When they were coming after my family, that was when it was painful, horrible and unpleasant. I had to go on anxiety medication.
‘When enough of that happened and they broke us up, then they couldn’t hurt my wife and kids anymore.’
Linehan added: ‘I think trans-rights activists are the most evil people in the world and I do love making them angry because they’re terrible people.
‘I want to to make it clear, I’m not talking about trans people, I’m talking about trans rights activists. Two very distinct groups that often have nothing to do with each other. I just think they need to be defeated completely.’
It came as criticism of the festival intensified, with Spectator columnist Brendan O’Neill writing: ‘The blacklisting of Linehan is a black mark on the Fringe.
‘A once edgy festival seems to be morphing into conformity where only those who obediently bow to the new orthodoxies are welcome. It’s not funny.’
Original venue Leith Arches took the decision to cancel their booking of Linehan earlier this week, saying the Irishman’s views did not ‘align’ with their overall values.
Graham Linehan performs outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland after the comedy show he was performing in was canceled from two different venues
Graham Linehan seen before his performance in Edinburgh outside the Scottish Parliament – after a second venue cancelled the Father Ted writer – after outrage at the axing of the original show over his gender critical views
Linehan, who also wrote TV sitcoms The IT Crowd and Black Books, is a vocal critic of the trans rights movement.
Andrew Doyle, who organises Comedy Unleashed, said that their replacement venue had also cancelled, tweeting at 7.15pm: ‘Our replacement venue for Comedy Unleashed at the Edinburgh fringe has now also cancelled on us.
‘So @Glinner [Graham Linehan] and the other acts will do the gig on a small stage outside the Scottish parliament at Holyrood at 7:30pm.
‘This show is happening, whether these activists approve or not.’
Linehan was welling up in tears as he concluded his performance, telling the audience: ‘I’ve never seen anything as insane as the last two days.
‘And I keep asking people what I’ve said wrong and what I’m saying wrong in this fight about women’s spaces, about children being mutilated in and sterilised in gender clinics and about the women who are being harassed and threatened for standing up.’
The audience then broke out in applause, as the visibly emotional Linehan continued: ‘Comedy is my first love, it’s the thing I love to do, but I have not been allowed to do that for five years.
‘And this is just what I decided I would do… a couple of silly jokes, and they can’t even let me do that.’
A fan shouted from the crowd: ‘We’ve got your back Graham’. Audience cheers and applause followed. Linehan responded: ‘I know you do and it really helps.’
When asked how he thought his show went, Linehan said: ‘Well I don’t know, it was weird, some of those jokes were sure fire wins but they didn’t land tonight, but it was a bit of a strange atmosphere.
‘I think the important thing was to do it. So I’m glad I can say I’ve played the fringe… this one I had to mail but I was kind of dependant on the audience’s goodwill. I don’t want to do that, I want to be funny.
‘I was nervous but not so much of the audience but of the whole situation. It’s like what’s going to happen, it’s insane.
‘I’m all protested out. If something had happened I would have just gone to the pub. (Andy Shaw had said to go to the pub if a protest happened, just go have a nice time). Yeah I think they pulled off something great here.’
Original venue Leith Arches (pictured) took the decision to cancel their booking of Linehan earlier this week, saying the Irishman’s views did not ‘align’ with their overall values
Linehan is best known as the creator of the still hugely popular Father Ted Channel Four series
Andrew Doyle, who organises Comedy Unleashed, saidthat the replacement venue had also cancelled, tweeting: ‘Our replacement venue for Comedy Unleashed at the Edinburgh fringe has now also cancelled on us. ‘So @Glinner [Graham Linehan] and the other acts will do the gig on a small stage outside the Scottish parliament at Holyrood at 7:30pm’
Graham Linehan holds the award in the Comedy category for The IT Crowd at the 36th International Emmy Awards November 24, 2008 in New York
Leith Arches said on Wednesday: ‘It was brought to our attention at the very last minute of the very controversial line-up.
‘We work very closely with the LGBT+ community, it is a considerable part of our revenue, we believe hosting this one-off show would have a negative effect on future bookings.’
Comedy Unleashed earlier said it had found a second venue to host Linehan’s scheduled performance but it also decided to pull the show.
READ MORE: Furious ticketholders blast Edinburgh Fringe comedy club for cancelling Graham Linehan
The club earlier said on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘Our replacement venue has cancelled on us too, but we’re still going ahead tonight at 7.30! Ticket holders have been emailed with the new location.’
Earlier this week, Linehan told TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he would consider suing Leith Arches for cancelling his gig if it refused to take him back.
He said: ‘It was a sell-out. But you do get used to this kind of thing after a while. It never really makes you feel good.
‘If they apologise and put the gig on, I’ll say no more about it, but otherwise I’ll be looking at legal action.’
People online have called for the Leith Arches to be boycotted over their original cancellation of the show featuring Linehan.
Helen (left), with whom Linehan created the hugely popular comedy series Motherland, was threatened and her address released online. They separated during lockdown
Linehan was set to join a comedy night at the Leith Arches venue (pictured) on Thursday as part of a line up put together by comedian Andrew Doyle
The venue’s statement appeared to say the decision was a purely commercial decision
Comedian Andrew Doyle, who is due to appear alongside Linehan at another scheduled Comedy Unleashed show in London next month, said: ‘It is astonishing that a comedy night at the largest arts festival in the world should be prevented from going ahead, simply because activists are offended.
‘The comedy industry is in a dire state. It’s about time that promoters, venues, comedy critics and comedians made a concerted effort to support free expression in the arts.’
Leith Arches insisted earlier this week its decision to cancel Thursday’s booking was not influenced by activists.
It said: ‘The decision was not influenced by the pressure of online activists, but by our regular community who use this space on a daily, weekly and [monthly] basis.’
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