Pride event line-up sparks backlash over Take That’s Howard Donald liking transphobic tweets

Take That Howard Donald

Groovebox’s Pride Festival has come under fire after one of its headliners, Howard Donald, was found to have liked a number of disturbing anti-trans tweets. 

Donald, a member of British pop group Take That, has shown his support for content from misogynist influencer Andrew Tate on Twitter and ‘liked’ many transphobic tweets including one showing an image from an inclusive menstruation campaign with the caption: “Only women have periods! Men cannot menstruate. Transgender ‘women’ cannot menstruate.”

Take That formed in 1990 with original members Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Howard Donald and Mark Owen. The line-up now consists of just Barlow, Owen and Donald.

The Groovebox Nottingham Pride Festival is set to be held on Saturday 29 July at Blinks Yard, and features Horse Meat Disco, Essel, Sam Sax and Howard Donald as headliners, along with a drag cabaret from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK alumni Danny Beard, Sminty Drop and Tayce

Donald’s headline spot at a Pride event has been questioned and condemned by social media users due to his Twitter activity, which also includes ‘liking’ a tweet from right-wing organisation Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, calling for Disney to be “defunded” for holding a Pride in Concert event on 24 and 25 June.

On the morning of Saturday (17 June), Donald’s account appeared to have ‘unliked’ the tweets in question. PinkNews took screenshots of a number them before they were ‘unliked’.

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Soon after, Donald’s account seemed to have been deleted.

(Twitter/Screenshot by PinkNews)
(Twitter/Screenshot by PinkNews)
(Twitter/Screenshot by PinkNews)
(Twitter/Screenshot by PinkNews)
(Twitter/Screenshot by PinkNews)
(Twitter/Screenshot by PinkNews)

Event organiser Groovebox have stated that they are “dealing with” the situation as a “matter of urgency”. It is not yet clear whether Donald will continue to be listed as a headliner for the event.

“Early this morning we have received a number of messages from the public about a situation that’s evolving, in relation to an artist on our Nottingham Pride line-up,” Groovebox’s statement read.

“We are dealing with this situation as a matter of urgency and have made contact with all the relevant parties, please bear with us and thanks for alerting us to the situation.

“The Groovebox team stands in solidarity with the wider LGBTQ+ community, we believe every person has the right to be their authentic true self without fear of persecution and hatred.

“We wish to reiterate that any form of prejudice and discrimination is not condoned by us and goes against the core fundamentals of our Nottingham Pride event. A full statement will be made ASAP.”

The official Nottinghamshire Pride organisers have been targeted with complaints, due to confusion over who is responsible for it. The Groovebox event is not affiliated with the city’s main Notts Pride.

In a statement posted on social media, Nottinghamshire Pride clarified the situation, writing: “It has been brought to our attention that there has been some anti LGBTQ+ endorsement from a performer at the Groovebox Pride Festival which has not been organised by Notts Pride.

“We are really concerned about this and we reject homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in our city.”

Jude Guaitamacchi, campaigner and co-founder of #TransPeopleAreLoved told PinkNews: “With the amplification of so much anti-LGBTQ+ hate and those working to undermine our protections and rights, it’s an imperative that Pride organisers have thorough strategies in place to ensure safety and security at their events this year.

“It’s disappointing there hadn’t been sufficient background checks, particularly of non-LGBTQIA+ artists and representatives,” Guaitamacchi continued.

“I also believe that Pride events should be prioritising LGBTQIA+ projects and artists. We need support and visibility more than ever!”

PinkNews has contacted Howard Donald’s representatives for comment.

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