Graham Linehan accepts Dublin author’s apology

Graham Linehan accepts Dublin author’s apology

THE Dublin author John Boyne has apologised to Father Ted creator Graham Linehan following a long-standing feud caused by Linehan’s anti-transgender activism. Linehan is an outspoken critic of transgender self-identification, believing that, amongst other considerations, it serious harms women’s rights, and in extreme cases be a danger to them.

Boyne, whose best known work is the Holocaust novel The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, also wrote a 2019 children’s story about a trans teenager, My Brother’s Name is Jessica.

John Boyne (Getty Images)

The Dublin author , who is gay, has expressed his views in a newspaper article that Linehan’s stance was wrong, but says that he has since reconsidered after seeing the backlash against singer Roisin Murphy for criticising puberty blockers in a post on her personal Facebook account.

Prior to the apology, and referencing Boyne’s support of Murphy, Linehan messaged: “Seeing John Boyne virtue signal about Roisin Murphy when he enthusiastically joined in my cancellation is quite the spectacle.”

But last week John Boyne took to social media to issue an apology to Linehan.

He baldly stated on the subject of transgenderism: “You were right, I was wrong,” adding that that there was “no legal reason” for him to post the message, adding: “In fact, Graham will be as surprised by its appearance as anyone.”

His statement read: "Graham Linehan - who is without question one of our best screenwriters - has sacrificed enormous amounts in his support of women, children, gay men, and lesbians. He's experienced trauma in his personal life, been vilified for his views online, in newspapers, and on television. He is currently unable to work in the industry he loves.

"There is no legal reason for me to post this message - in fact, Graham will be as surprised by its appearance as anyone - but I've given a lot of thought to this and realised that all I did in that piece 5 years ago was add to the pile-on of a decent man in a vulnerable place, when I could have used my platform to defend and support him.

"Graham, without equivocation, without excuses, and without evasion: you were right, I was wrong, and I apologise."

Linehan thanked him for the apology, saying it was “very decent” and that he was appreciative of the message. He had previously labelled Boyne “a man without honour”.

Linehan has said in interviews that his life has been derailed by transgender activists, yet all he wanted to do was get back to comedy. That is still his fervent wich, he says. His most recent public ‘cancelling’ was during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when Leith Arches venue said it had pulled the gig because it did not support the comedian, and his views do "not align with our overall values". The show eventually took place outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, with the Fringe being criticised for being ‘over-sensitive’.

Linehan has been involved in a number of acrimonious social media disputes with trans activists, and in 2020 was permanently suspended from Twitter which claimed he had breached rules on "hateful content". He has since been reinstated on the social media platform.

In a BBC interview last year, Linehan told Nolan Live he had been unfairly targeted over his views, losing him work and contributing to the break-up of his marriage.

The banning of the show, according to Andrew Doyle, has resonances with the Father Ted episode when Father Ted Crilly and Father Dougal McGuire demonstrate outside a cinema showing The Passion Of St Tibulus, a movie considered blasphemous. The two priests from Craggy Island carried placards bearing the slogans 'Down with this sort of thing' and 'Careful now'.

Dublin man Graham Linehan created or co-created the sitcoms Father Ted (1995–1998), Black Books (2000–2004) and The IT Crowd (2006–2013. He he has written for shows including Count Arthur Strong, Brass Eye and The Fast Show. He has won five BAFTA awards, including Best Writer, Comedy, for The IT Crowd in 2014.

Linehan, who lived in Norwich for many years, is now resident in London.