Comedian Bill Bailey ‘hounded from Twitter’ after being targeted by so-called gender critical activists

Comedian Bill Bailey standing with a guitar

Comedian Bill Bailey has deleted his Twitter account after being criticised for a brief mention of former colleague Graham Linehan, who is now known for his vocal opposition of trans rights. 

In an interview with The Telegraph on Sunday (1 January), Bailey made a passing comment on Linehan, who he worked with on the show Black Books, complimenting him on his writing skills, while saying it was a “shame” Linehan had become so involved with so-called “gender-critical” ideology. 

Linehan, who wrote for shows including Father Ted and The IT Crowd, has been involved in anti-trans rhetoric since a portrayal of a trans woman in a 2008 episode of The IT Crowd was criticised as “transphobic”. He has since compared doctors who treat trans children to Nazi experiments in concentration camps and posed as a trans woman on the queer women’s dating app Her, with his views eventually leading him to be banned from Twitter in 2020.

He was then reinstated by Elon Musk in 2022 after several Twitter guidelines were relaxed in his takeover. 

In the Telegraph interview, in which Bailey spoke about the tragedy of losing comedian and friend Sean Lock to cancer in 2021, he briefly mentioned being “baffled” by Linehan. 

“It’s baffling,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to him for years, but it’s a shame because he’s a great comic writer.”

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Despite Bill Bailey not mentioning Graham Linehan further in the interview or on Twitter, Linehan then tweeted several times at Bailey, mentioning that he had called the comedian to “explain my position”, as well as tagging him in several posts containing anti-trans views.

“I just phoned Bill and explained my position. Hopefully he’s not so baffled now and has agreed to sign my petition supporting JK Rowling,” Linehan wrote.

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“Surely you don’t support this kind of homophobia, Bill?” Linehan tweeted again, linking to a story about a trans woman giving a talk at a school. 

Bailey then deleted his Twitter account without further mentioning Linehan, with one user suggesting he was “hounded from Twitter” due to the number of tweets he had received from Linehan’s anti-trans supporters. 

“As is so often the case, his crime was not even to substantively stand up for trans people, but simply to fail to full-throatedly endorse [gender-critical ideology] when called upon to do so,” the user said. 

PinkNews has contacted representatives for Bill Bailey for comment. 

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