“Father Ted” co-creator Graham Linehan says becoming an outspoken voice in the so-called trans wars has left him unemployable and broke — and even without a family.
The 54-year-old writer told The Times of London that threats against his views so “scared” his wife, Helen Serafinowicz, that it destroyed their 16-year marriage, leaving him living apart from his two kids.
“I did it for my wife and daughter, even though we broke up,” he said of messaging that left him accused of being transphobic and crowdfunding to try to fight lawsuits.
“I did it for them and I’d do it again,” he said.
“I don’t think I’d have been doing my job as a father if I hadn’t been fighting against this stuff.
“I don’t want my daughter to go into college and have a male-bodied person whose story she doesn’t know in the toilet with her. She cannot object to it, so I had to take that fight on for her,” he told the UK paper.
The funnyman said first became alarmed by the militant response to the issue in 2013, when UK TV re-aired an episode of his show “IT Crowd” that featured an attractive transgender woman who acted like a cliched guy chugging beers and watching sports.
“The pushback was so weirdly aggressive that I just thought there was something a bit strange about it,” he said.
“So I started paying attention,” he said — sharing similar fears to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling that women were being called “Terfs,” or trans-exclusionary radical feminists, to make them “acceptable targets for violence”.
He did not tweet about it until 2018, however, saying he can’t remember exactly what he wrote because he was “actually a bit high from morphine” from an operation for testicular cancer.
“And it was almost instantaneous. The first response I got was from someone saying — and bear in mind I’d just had the operation — ‘I wish the cancer had won,’” he recalled.
He then “jumped in with both feet,” sparking the threats he blamed for ending his marriage to Serafinowicz, also a comedy writer with whom he has a son as well as the daughter he wanted to defend.
“She was scared. She was justifiably scared,” he said of his then-wife.
“They started to target her. They started to target her family. It just got too much for her.”
Linehan continued speaking out, getting banned from Twitter until new owner Elon Musk reinstated him. He called non-binary singer Sam Smith a “masturbating walrus” for wearing an inflatable latex outfit, and someone else a “pronoun wanker.” In a recent message, he wrote: “Go f–k yourselves. Women aren’t a costume.”
Despite this, Linehan claimed he has trans friends and is “only talking about places where conflict arises.”
“My point has never changed. It’s about women in prison, women in rape crisis centers, women in changing rooms. It’s about children. It’s about homophobia.
“It’s about an incredible new form of sexism that I think is the worst ever,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen this kind of hate and aggression towards women.”
He also worries that nowadays “trans is so loosely defined” and too often includes, for example, “a 16-year-old girl who’s got dysphoria.”
“There’s got to be an understanding of the difference between a transsexual who has been through something immense in their lives and someone who’s putting on black fingernail polish and trying to get into the ladies,” he told the UK paper.
Now, he says old friends and colleagues are “ghosting” him, and he has been dumped from every job he had lined up — even the “Father Ted” musical he hoped would be his pension.
“I think they’re waiting for me to die,” he told the UK Times of the on-hold play.
All he has left, he says, is “this weird story of mine that I can use to make jokes” — with his woes already featuring in the few, heavily guarded stand-up shows he can book, the paper noted.
“I’ve lost many things — my marriage, my career — but at least I’m playing this shitty club,” he joked at one small London club.