‘Gender critical’ MP Joanna Cherry tells hundreds of thousands of people how she’s been ‘cancelled’

An edited image of Joanna Cherry with tape on her mouth.

Joanna Cherry says she’s been silenced and cancelled over her so-called gender-critical views – but you wouldn’t know that if you looked at any of the British newspapers or turned on the telly and radio.

The Scottish National Party MP has, yet again, been mired in controversy – this time over comedy club The Stand’s decision to drop her “In conversation with…” event during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, due to her views on trans people.

Some members of staff reported feeling uncomfortable working with Cherry due to her gender-critical views while others said they were “unwilling to work on this event”.

Since then, Joanna Cherry has been given a platform by a number of national media organisations purely to talk to tens of thousands of listeners, readers and viewers about how severely “cancelled” she is.

One of them – The Times, which has an estimated print daily readership of more than 750,000 – has written about Cherry at least three times since the controversy began on Monday (1 May).

One article reports that JK Rowling – herself not uncontroversial for her views on trans people – has backed Cherry.

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The Harry Potter author quote-tweeted a clip in which the MP speaks to Times Radio’s 563,000 weekly listeners about how she has lost her public platform. She claims it amounts to a “new form of McCarthyism”, referring to the “reds under the beds” scare in the US in the 1950s when innocent people were accused of being communists and Soviet spies.

The “silenced” MP for Edinburgh South West has also appeared on BBC Scotland and STV News – all well-watched channels.

But it isn’t just public media appearances on some of the nation’s biggest media organisations that is highlighting how utterly cancelled she is. Opinion columns, editorial broadcasts and a number of pundits have all jumped to her defence.

On Thursday (4 May), LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty warned of a slippery slope where disagreement could “lead to a point of war” with Cherry’s cancellation resulting in other people being cancelled too. The radio station reportedly reaches an average of more than 3.1 million people each week.

Columns in Holyrood Magazine, The Telegraph and several other publications also gave Cherry their backing.

In one of several columns in The Spectator magazine, with the headline Trans activists will regret picking on Joanna Cherry, columnist Iain Macwhirter says those campaigners have a “stranglehold on Scottish cultural life” and are prepared to cancel anyone who supposedly deviates from the “dogma that trans women are women”.

The SNP’s former shadow home secretary has also received legal advice from lawyers, including Roddy Dunlop KC, who claimed that The Stand’s decision to axe the event was unlawful, adding: “Is the venue aware that they would be vulnerable to a discrimination claim?”

Joanna Cherry herself has said: “It’s clearly a case of unlawful discrimination and The Stand needs to think if that is something it really wants to do.”

The controversial MP was an outspoken critic of the Scottish parliament’s gender recognition reform bill – which was vetoed by Westminster – and has said: “I am sick of being misrepresented. I have never said anything transphobic, but I am against self-identification.”

Not all columns rushed to defend Cherry, however. An article in The Courier argued that she hadn’t even come close to being cancelled.

Journalist Kezia Dugdale wrote: “In one interview yesterday, she said, ‘Lesbian feminists and women such as myself are being prevented from speaking in public about our views.’

“This is a literal quote from the tea-time STV News bulletin watched by hundreds of thousands of people.”

It’s also worth noting that – while the meeting was unrelated to her so-called cancellation – Cherry met with Rishi Sunak to discuss policy, according to a tweet she posted an hour before sharing an interview she had with Holyrood Sources.

While there is no definitive explanation of what being cancelled means, we’re pretty sure it doesn’t involve meetings with the prime minister.

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