Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs breaks down transphobic Jordan Gray backlash

Actor Jason Isaacs has doubled down on his defence of comedian Jordan Gray after she received a wave of anti-trans backlash.

Gray was met with abuse and calls for her arrest following her appearance on Friday Night Live on 21 October.

The comedian performed a musical number in which she recounted to joys of being trans, before leaping up from her keyboard and stripping completely naked to applause.

Amid the ensuing backlash, actor Jason Isaacs congratulated Gray’s “magnificent boobs and equally magnificent member” and wrote that her performance was “so much more dignified than parliament today“.

Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, returned to Twitter on Monday (31 October) to emphasise his support and dissect the backlash.

“What’s really going on with your outrage when someone strips off on a late night edgy comedy show, well after the ratings watershed and where the presence of adult material and nudity has been warned against and is almost ubiquitous?” he asked.

“Maybe, since nudity and sex is everywhere on the channel (have you seen Naked Attraction?), the problem is that, this time, the naked body was transgender?”

Continuing, he said: “I called them [magnificent] because their very exposure felt like a magnificent, subversive act, saying as it did, ‘Here I am. A transgender woman. Take a good look because I refuse to be ashamed’.

“It was challenging and sensational television in a landscape that feels all too curated most of the time.”

Referring to his writing “her penis”, Isaacs continued: “It felt like an unusual thing to type, but I knew that’s what she’d like as a transgender woman so I did it. I’m Jewish and I hate people calling me ‘a Jew’. I want to be called ‘Jewish’.

“[It] might not seem like much to you, but it’s everything to me – it’s the difference between me hearing a threat and a welcome… it’s a huge deal to people who suffer so much from prejudice and violence that it feels pretty selfish not to make the slight effort to ease their journey.”

Jordan Gray wears a pink suit as she sings into a microphone during her Channel 4 Friday Night live performance

Jordan Gray garnered widespread praise for her performance on Channel 4’s Friday Night Live special. (Channel 4)

After Jordan Gray appeared on Friday Night Live, anti-trans voices suggested she should be arrested, despite nudity being commonplace on TV and her performance going out well after the watershed.

Some asked Isaac if he would “sanction a man indecently exposing himself to children or adult survivors of attacks”.

He replied: “You actually do know the difference between a late night TV comedy show and a traumatic private encounter on the street or in the home. Or the difference between a transgender woman singing a satirical song about her superiority and genuine misogyny. You know all of it.”

He concluded by saying that he has purposefully chosen not to comment on trans right issues that fuel debate.

“Maybe it’s about the other genuinely controversial issues surrounding trans women: access to women-only spaces, early surgical and pharmaceutical intervention, legal definitions, sporting participation etc etc etc. All the minefields that I was consciously nowhere near.

“I’m a straight, middle-aged white cis male and know where my opinions are uninformed, unwelcome and unhelpful. Those are areas for serious debate between serious people, conducted with respect and compassion.”

“I just thought she was funny.”


In a statement to PinkNews, Channel 4 stated: “This Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated routine was part of a live comedy variety show featuring a broad range of acts. It was broadcast after the watershed with appropriate warnings, including for adult content.”