Liverpool arena cancels appearance by Donald Trump’s favourite hate preacher Franklin Graham after furious backlash
An event by anti-LGBT+ hate preacher Franklin Graham has been cancelled in Liverpool, after the venue said his views were “incompatible with our values”.
In 2016, the hate preacher accused LGBT+ activists of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is OK”, and claimed that anti-discrimination laws would mean that “your children, and your grandchildren will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”.
The evangelical preacher was due to speak at the ACC Liverpool on June 12 as part of an eight-city tour of the UK.
But the Liverpool branch of the Labour Party LGBT+ Network started a petition against “the platforming of homophobic hate preacher Franklin Graham”, and added: “Graham’s appearance may incite hateful mobilisation and risk the security of our LGBTQ+ community.”
Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation also wrote an open letter to the CEO of the venue, the mayor and the city council, and said: “Graham is well known for [his] outspoken views about the LGBT+ community, including promoting hate of LGBT+ people as more important than education and openly supporting conversion therapy and the vicious attacks on our community in Russia amongst many other poisonous views.
“We write to you as we are sure that you share our stance that these types of dangerous views are not welcome in, or representative of, our great city and to ask that the booking is immediately reviewed and cancelled.”
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Now ACC Liverpool has confirmed that the venue will no longer be hosting the event.
According to the Liverpool Echo, a spokesperson for the ACC Liverpool Group said: “The Graham Tour UK event which was originally planned to take place at ACC Liverpool in June 2020 will no longer be going ahead.
“Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values.
“In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.
“We are proud to represent all communities and will continue to move forward with our aim as a business to drive profile, major events and economic impact for Liverpool City Region.”
A representative for The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told PinkNews that the Liverpool tour date had not been cancelled and that the organisation would be finding a new venue.
Sheffield’s LGBT+ community has also fiercely opposed the event, writing in an open letter: “Franklin Graham has repeatedly publicly promoted his homophobic beliefs… We believe that [his] statements far exceed freedom of speech and are direct hate speech… which should not be welcomed in our city, or anywhere else.”
But the representative added: “The rest of the tour, at this point in time, is still going ahead.”