Stephen Fry and Benedict Cumberbatch urge Mayor to protect Soho

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A number of celebrities have called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to safeguard the future of Soho.

Popular London drag and cabaret venue Madame JoJo’s became the latest to close its doors last month, in the latest blow to London’s gay scene.

Documents released by Westminster Council report that an incident took place on October 24 during which club security allegedly engaged in violent conduct, retrieving wooden baseball bats and pinning a man against a wall while a taxi driver punched him.

The venue – which hosted drag night ‘Tranny Shack UK’ for a number of years – had its license revoked following the incident – and had its appeal against the decision rejected.

A plethora of stars this week co-signed a letter from Tim Arnold ‘the Soho Hobo’, calling on the Mayor of London to pledge support for Soho’s night-life and prevent any further closures.

Signatories include Idris Elba, Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul O’Grady, EastEnders stars Shane Richie and June Brown, comedians Eddie Izzard and Ben Miller, and musicians Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.


The open letter reads: “My concern is that the end of Madame Jojo’s will lead to the closure of other such establishments, which will limit young artists’ chances to showcase their talents, ultimately affecting the British music industry.

“As a resident, I believe Soho’s enduring attraction as a global destination has always depended on building around and adding to what has gone before, not by demolishing it, and I hope readers will support me in this.

“I also hope that Boris Johnson will become involved in protecting Soho’s future. In the meantime we hope that the developers will be sympathetic to our request for one final show at the club.”

Disclaimer: PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen was a shareholder until 2013 in the club night Queerly Out which is/was run from Escape, and sometimes Madame Jojo’s.