Author John Boyne has apologised to gender-critical comedian Graham Linehan after criticising his stance on trans issues.
Boyne says “You were right, I was wrong”, despite penning a book about a trans teenager in 2019. Although best known for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Boyne also released My Brother’s Name is Jessica.
In a newspaper column, Boyne criticised Linehan – the man behind the IT Crowd – for his views, saying: “At best, he seems like one of his own creations, roaring ‘down with this sort of thing’ to anyone who’ll listen, while at worst he comes across as someone masking intolerance by promoting himself as a champion of women.”
But now he says he has reflected on the issue, making a public apology on social media. Boyne wrote: “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.”
According to The Telegraph, he said there was no legal reason behind the post. He continued: “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 five 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, who has been vocally opposed to trans rights, thanked him for the apology, saying it was “very decent”. The writer of Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd no longer works in television, instead devoting his time on social media to speaking out against trans activists.
Recently, Linehan appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but peformed his set outside the Scottish parliament after two venues refused to host him. He said: “I think trans rights activists are the most evil people in the world.”
Linehan says the backlash from activists has led to the breakup of his marriage. Speaking to The Telegraph he added: “Comedy is my first love, it’s the thing I love to do, but I have not been allowed to do that for five years.”
Boyne said his change of heart had been prompted by the row over comments made by Roisin Murphy, the pop singer. Murphy said “mixed-up kids” needed to be protected and not prescribed puberty blockers.
The comment then prompted a massive backlash on social media. In a statement, she said: “I cannot apologise enough for being the reason for this eruption of damaging and potentially dangerous social media fire and brimstone. To witness the ramifications of my actions and the divisions it has caused is heartbreaking.”