The Telegraph condemned for ‘knives out’ Cheryl Hole headline, days after Two Brewers stabbing

Cheryl Hole has said LGBTQ+ people are nothing to be feared (BBC/Shine TV)

The Telegraph newspaper has been condemned for a “deplorable” headline about Drag Race UK and MasterChef contestant Cheryl Hole, using the term “knives out” just days after two LGBTQ+ men were stabbed in a homophobic attack outside a gay bar in south London.

Essex-based drag star Cheryl Hole has faced homophobic and anti-drag backlash to her appearance on the BBC cooking show this week, despite being just one of several drag queens to have competed on the programme and having featured on TV shows made by the broadcaster since 2019.

The Telegraph’s headline reads: “Knives out for Masterchef drag queen over TERF remark.”

TERF means ‘trans exclusionary radical feminist’, and has been used by people such as JK Rowling, who has joyfully wished Twitter followers “Merry Terfmas” during the festive season.

On Sunday (13 August), shortly after 10pm, two victims, aged in their 20s and 30s, were attacked by a man with a knife while standing outside LGBTQ+ bar The Two Brewers in Clapham, London.

Four days later, on Thursday (17 August), the Telegraph published an article about the BBC being “attacked” over its “inappropriate” decision to include Cheryl Hole among contestants on its latest season.

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Award-winning journalist, Ryan Butcher, took to X, formerly called Twitter, to call out the publication for its “deplorable” headline. 

“Two gay men were stabbed on the street less than a week ago in a homophobic attack,” he wrote.

“This headline is deplorable and @Telegraph  should issue an apology for its insensitivity immediately.” 

The Telegraph’s article references Hole’s previous use of the term “TERF”, and wrote that the BBC is facing backlash over the drag queen’s casting, with comments from anti-trans group Family Education Trust, a Conservative MP, and an author who was once photographed standing and smiling on a vandalised Progress Pride flag.

Hole spoke to the BBC ahead of her appearance on MasterChef and said she isn’t fazed by “people getting angry for me cooking a bit of food”. 

Prior to Hole’s appearance on MasterChef other drag queens including Drag Race UK stars Baga Chipz and Kitty Scott-Claus appeared on the cooking show. Neither caused any outrage.

The backlash to Hole comes amid growing anti-drag sentiment in the UK, with anti-trans protests at London’s Honour Oak pub becoming a regular occurrence. 

In June 2023, an LGBTQ+ activist, who was left bloodied and beaten during a counter-protest at the pub, spoke out about the attack saying that anti-trans protestors “attacked us without provocation” and are “clearly not welcome” in Lewisham. 

PinkNews has contacted The Telegraph for comment.

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