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by Staff reporter
01 May 2023
JK Rowling backs Joanna Cherry after MP's Edinburgh Fringe show is cancelled

JK Rowling backs Joanna Cherry after MP's Edinburgh Fringe show is cancelled

JK Rowling has backed Scottish MP Joanna Cherry after her Edinburgh Fringe show was cancelled thanks to a staff boycott.

The Stand comedy club said it pulled Cherry's In Conversation With... event because its employees are "unwilling to work" on it.

Cherry, who chairs Westminster's cross-party human rights committee, is an opponent of the introduction of the Scottish Government's gender recognition reforms, which include a self-identification system for trans people.

Trans comedian Bethany Black recently cancelled a show at The Stand's Glasgow venue as a result of Cherry's Edinburgh show.

The club was established by her SNP MP colleague Tommy Sheppard, who remains on the board of directors.

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."

Roddy Dunlop KC, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, has suggested the move is "plainly unlawful" and leaves the venue open to a discrimination claim. 

Responding to the decision, Cherry said: "This is 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, Rowling - who is also a critic of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill - tweeted: "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."


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