Anti-trans mouthpiece Graham Linehan suspended from Twitter … again

Graham Linehan

Anti-trans activist and TV comedy writer Graham Linehan’s Twitter account has been suspended for the second time.

Linehan’s account was first suspended in 2020 from the social platform for “repeated violations” of Twitter’s rules “against hateful conduct and platform manipulation”. 

It was reinstated in December 2022 after Elon Musk took over the platform in October of last year, amid an amnesty for many previously-banned accounts, including those of former US president Donald Trump, far-right conspiracy theorist and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. 

But on Sunday (16 April), Linehan confirmed via his Substack that his account has been suspended once again, saying that his “two appeals” to Twitter “have been denied”. 

A screenshot posted to Substack by Linehan shows that his account was suspended for violating Twitters rules against “posting violent threats” and the tweet in question reads: “Durr imm [sic] gonna kill em. F**k off Daniel you mens [sic] rights activist.”

City AM reported that Linehan received the ban for “joking about killing protestors” at an anti-trans ‘Let Women Speak’ event held by anti-trans activist Posie Parker (real name Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull) in Belfast on Sunday, which he was pictured attending.

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On Saturday, LGBTQ+ activists and allies responded to Linehan’s ban, with commentator and journalist Owen Jones tweeting: “Imagine what you’d have to do to be kicked off Elon Musk’s Twitter.

“Imagine the levels of bigotry, the obsessive commitment to it, the extent to which you’d have to let it take over and essentially destroy your life.”

Questions of what is and isn’t acceptable on Twitter are particularly pertinent in the wake of multi-billionaire owner Elon Musk dismissing claims of rising hate speech and misinformation on the platform in a rambling and rare interview with the BBC this week.

Musk accused BBC journalist James Clayton of lying about seeing more hateful content on Twitter when Clayton couldn’t immediately name examples of specific tweets, despite a December 2022 study from the Centre for Countering Digital Date finding that anti-LGBTQ+ remarks had increased by at least 1,458 times a day since Musk’s takeover. 

A separate report from Media Matters and GLAAD also found that retweets of posts containing the word “groomer” – often used as an anti-LGBTQ+ slur – saw a 1,200 per cent increase.

Linehan explained via Substack that his tweet was a “sarcastic reply” to a “stupid message”.

“Someone wrote me a stupid message. Can’t remember exactly what it was, the usual pompous pearl-clutching from the new religious police, along with a demand I ‘explain’ how I wanted to ‘punish’ someone or other, so I sarcastically replied.

“I get reported all the time by trans rights activists but I thought Elon’s sweep had removed the bad actors within the company. Apparently there’s a few still about because my two appeals have been denied. One would think the ‘Durr’ made it clear what I was doing but evidently not.”

Screenshot from Graham Linehan’s Substack. (grahamlinehan.substack, grab by PinkNews)

Linehan, who wrote for TV shows including Father Ted and The IT Crowd, has been involved in anti-trans activism since a portrayal of a trans woman in a 2008 episode of The IT Crowd was criticised as “transphobic”. 

He has since compared gender-affirming care for trans children to Nazi experiments in concentration camps and posed as a trans woman on the queer women’s dating app Her.

Linehan was given a verbal harassment warning by police in 2018 after disseminating information about a trans woman on Twitter that revealed her home address.

Linehan was given a verbal harassment warning by police in 2018 after disseminating information about a trans woman, Stephanie Hayden, on Twitter that revealed her home address.

He told the BBC: “The police phoned me and told me to stay away. I would love to keep Stephanie away from me and my family and I have no intention of speaking to Stephanie.”

In 2022, he said that his anti-trans activism had led him to question the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations and the scientific evidence for climate change in an interview with YouTuber Stephen Knight.