Two lesbians were abused at a Paul Heaton gig, and he was having none of it: ‘Keep your filth away’

A photo shows singer-songwriter Paul Heaton wearing a green coat and standing behind a microphone on stage as he holds his hands up

English singer-songwriter Paul Heaton has been praised for calling out homophobic abuse at recent live show, where two gay women were verbally abused by a gang of men in the audience.

Heaton – best known for forming The Housemartins and The Beautiful South – said the incident took place during a show at London’s O2 Arena with longtime collaborator Jacqui Abbott in December 2022.

In a tweet, which he posted on Tuesday (3 January), Heaton wrote: “12000 smiling faces at our recent London o2 show. 

“Sadly amongst them, a group of 4 men chose to verbally abuse 2 gay women.”

He added: “A message to those men- If you can’t show respect, then keep your filth away. Pls notify security if you witness fellow fans being threatened in this manner.” 

The tweet has been shared hundreds of times, and viewed by more than 610,000 people, with the majority of comments left praising Heaton for calling the hate out. 

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One person wrote: “ Well done for calling them out, these abusers need to know it’s not ok, bet the gig was amazing as always.” 

“Unbelievable that there could be such horrendous behaviour on what was the happiest, most joyfully inclusive night,” another person wrote. 

Independent live music venue, The Brickyard, wrote: “Let us know if you fancy playing to 11,680 fewer people. We’d love to have you play our little old independent venue.” 

Another person commented that “love will always win”. 

Heaton calling out the homophobic abuse, and urging others to do the same, comes at a time when anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the UK is rising at an alarming rate. 

Reports of homophobic hate crimes more than doubled in five years, rising from 10,003 in 2016-17 to 26,824 in 2021-22, police figures have shown. 

Statistics from the Home Office, published on 6 October last year also detailed a record high in hate crimes, with at least 155,841 recorded from March 2021 to March 2022.

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