Franklin Graham’s UK tour left in tatters as nearly every venue drops anti-LGBT hate preacher
More venues have cancelled planned appearances by anti-LGBT preacher Franklin Graham, leaving his plans to tour the UK up in the air.
The Trump-supporting preacher, who is known for praising Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws and blaming gay people for a “moral 9/11”, is set to visit the UK at the start of Pride Month in June as part of an evangelist tour.
However, the plans are now coming apart at the seems, after a number of venues booked for his rallies opted to cancel his appearances.
Following decisions from arenas in Liverpool, Glasgow and Sheffield earlier this week, his appearances in Birmingham and Newport have now been dropped – while another in Milton Keynes is also set to be axed.
Birmingham, Newport, Milton Keynes venues drop Franklin Graham
A spokesperson for the Arena Birmingham confirmed to PinkNews that his June 17 appearance had been cancelled, saying: “Following a review of The Graham Tour, Arena Birmingham has made the decision to no longer hold the scheduled event at the venue.”
The ICC Wales venue in Newport also confirmed that it has dropped his planned June 14 rally in the city.
A spokesperson told PinkNews: “As a venue, our policy is to remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors but, over the past week, we have been made aware of a number of views held and comments made by the Graham organisation which are incompatible with our own values of equality, diversity and inclusivity.
“Opposition to this event has come from numerous sources, and from across the community.
“As a result of this, we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our community. We have informed the organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.
“ICC Wales is proud to represent all communities and looks forward to hosting events of all sizes, promoting Wales as a destination for business events, and bringing huge benefits to the visitor economy.”
His June 10 appearance at the Marshall Arena in Milton Kenyes has also been scrapped.
A statement to PinkNews says: “The Marshall Arena has taken the decision to cancel the event due to be held at the Arena on June 10.
“This decision has been taken due to our concerns that the event may lead to a breach of the peace, which we believe would have a disruptive effect on our staff, our neighbours at Stadium MK and the inclusive Milton Keynes community.”
Of his original eight planned tour dates, just one currently has a venue – Newcastle’s Utilita Arena on June 3.
Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes has called on the Utilita Arena to drop Graham, telling Pride Radio: “I don’t think there’s any room for him in our city… that kind of act does not match the values of our city.”
PinkNews has contacted the Utilita Arena for comment.
With nearly all of its dates now without venues, it is unclear how the tour can go ahead.
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Hate preacher threatens legal action
Graham has threatened to take legal action against venues that have dropped him.
The preacher – who has previously declared that gay people are “the enemy” of civilisation – told The Scotsman earlier this week: “I don’t preach hate speech. We’re not coming to speak against anybody, everybody is invited to our meetings – we’re inclusive.
“Though this venue may be cancelled we have not pulled out of Glasgow – we’re coming. We do have options legally. We’ll certainly pursue those options. We would rather not do that. We don’t like having to do that.
“We would hope that the people of the SSE Hydro would reconsider because we do have a contract and we’ve done nothing or have said nothing that would cause them to breach that contract.
“We just need to pray that God will intervene and that we’ll be able to move forward.”