Graham Linehan: Edinburgh comedy event announces new venue for cancelled gig | Ents & Arts News

Aug 16, 2023 | Entertainment, News

A comedy event involving Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan is set to go ahead at a new venue – after the original venue cancelled the show.

Leith Arches pulled the plug on the Comedy Unleashed’s event following complaints that the Dublin-born writer, who has been an outspoken critic of transgender self-identification, was on the bill.

The Edinburgh venue said it was not made aware of the line-up in advance and that it believed the show was “not a good fit [for] our venue”.

However, Comedy Unleashed announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday that a new venue had been found for Thursday’s gig.

The name of the venue was not revealed.

“We have found a venue for tomorrow’s gig! The show goes on! (Ticket holders will be emailed with the new address tomorrow afternoon),” the group said in the post.

Mr Linehan said on Wednesday that he would consider taking legal action against Leith Arches unless it apologised and U-turned over its decision to cancel the show – which was billed as an Edinburgh Fringe Event but does not appear on the official line-up.

Leith Arches said in a statement to Sky News the show would have a “negative effect on future bookings” and was “not a good fit” for the venue.

A spokesperson said: “We are a very small independent business.

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“We work very closely with the LGBT+ community – it is a considerable part of our revenue. We believe hosting this one-off event would have a negative effect on future bookings.

“The decision is not influenced by online activists, but by our regular community who use our venue on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

“We are not against freedom of speech. The show is not a good fit [for] our venue.”

The venue claimed in an earlier post on Instagram it did not know Mr Linehan, who also wrote The IT Crowd and Black Books, had been booked to perform beforehand.

The post said: “We would like to thank members of the public and our community for bringing to our attention a comedy act billed to perform at our venue this Thursday.

“We were not made aware of the line-up of this show in advance.

“We have made the decision to cancel this show, as we are an inclusive venue and this does not align with our overall values.”

Mr Linehan was banned from X, formerly known as Twitter, in 2020 for breaking its rules around “hateful conduct” with comments about trans people, but his account was reinstated after Elon Musk took over.

He said: “The most important view I have is that it is a crime against humanity to tell children that they may have been born in the wrong body.”

He also believes women deserve “fair sport” and said Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies and tennis legend Martina Navratilova have been “abused” for their views on trans athletes.

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