JK Rowling defends Joanna Cherry after MP’s Edinburgh Fringe show is cancelled over her gender-critical views
She was due to appear at The Stand Comedy Club during the Fringe Festival in August, but the York Place venue pulled the event after staff said they were not comfortable with her views on transgender issues.
The Edinburgh South MP is a critic of Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform plans, which make it easier for people to change their legally-recognised sex.
“I'm being cancelled and no-platformed because I'm a lesbian, who holds gender-critical views that somebody's sex is immutable.
“I've made those views clear over a number of years. I have never said that trans people should not have equal rights.”
Ms Cherry’s show, part of an ‘In Conversation With...’ series of events, would have seen her talking about her long career in politics and the Scottish independence movement, as well as her feminist views.
The 57-year-old, who has been MP for Edinburgh South West since May 2015, added: “Because a small number of people don't like my feminist and lesbian activism, I'm being prevented from talking about all of those things in my home city where I'm an elected politician.
“I think it says something's gone very wrong in Scotland's civic space.
“Small groups of activists are now dictating who can speak and what can be discussed.”
On Monday, Cherry said the Stand's decision was “like a new form of McCarthyism, where any lesbian or feminist who doesn't subscribe to gender identity ideology is losing the ability to have a public platform and in some cases losing their ability to earn a living”.
Backing Cherry, Harry Potter author Rowling – who is also a critic of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill – wrote on Twitter: “Jo Cherry's completely right on modern McCarthyism. One of the most depressing things in this whole mess has been finding out how many people I formerly admired would have named names in a heartbeat.”
The Stand said it pulled the plug on Cherry's event because its staff are “unwilling to work” on it.
In a statement, the club said: “Following extensive discussions with our staff it has become clear that a number of The Stand's key operational staff, including venue management and box office personnel, are unwilling to work on this event.
“As we have previously stated, we will ensure that their views are respected. We will not compel our staff to work on this event and so have concluded that the event is unable to proceed on a properly staffed, safe and legally complaint basis.
“We advised the show producers, Fair Pley Productions, of this operational issue and they advised Joanna Cherry that it is no longer possible to host the event in our venue.”