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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Petition calls for TV writer Graham Linehan to be axed from 'Prime Time' transgender debate

Outspoken: ‘Father Ted’ writer Graham Linehan. Photo: Rob Monk/Edge Magazine via Getty Images
Outspoken: ‘Father Ted’ writer Graham Linehan. Photo: Rob Monk/Edge Magazine via Getty Images

Micheál O'Scannail

MORE than 4,000 people have signed a petition calling for TV writer Graham Linehan to be removed from the panel of an RTÉ programme about transgender issues.

A trailer for tomorrow’s ‘Prime Time’ said the episode would focus on “the implication of the explosion in the numbers of young people saying they want to change gender”.

It continues, “but Government proposals to allow them to side their gender are not welcomed by all” before Mr Linehan’s commentary slot was introduced.

The inclusion of the ‘Father Ted’ writer led to complaints to both RTÉ and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland claiming Mr Linehan is not qualified to comment on the subject.

In the RTÉ excerpt, Mr Linehan said: “You do not tell kids that they have been born into the wrong body just as you don’t tell anorexics that they are fat.”

Some social media users have criticised RTÉ’s decision to have Mr Linehan share his views on the topic.

In October, he was given a verbal harassment warning by West Yorkshire police after a transgender activist complained  he referred to her as “he” and called her by names used before she transitioned to a woman.

The writer was also the subject of a backlash when he seemingly compared transgender activism to Nazism.

Speaking on the internet radio show ‘Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio’, he said:

“Around the time of something terrible happening like Nazism, would you be one of the people who said, ‘this is wrong’, despite being opposed?

“I feel happy in myself that I’ve been one of the people standing up and saying, ‘No, this is wrong’, despite everyone telling me not to do it,” he added.

In response, RTÉ said Mr Linehan was only one of many guests who would appear on the programme, and his opinions helped to form a balanced portrayal of the issues to be discussed.

“Ten contributors representing a broad range of views are interviewed,” said a spokesperson.

Mr Linehan could not be contacted for comment

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