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Robert Webb doesn’t want you to think he’s a bigot, but stands by saying trans children’s charity Mermaids ‘sucks’

Vic Parsons April 13, 2020
Robert Webb: I'm not a bigot but trans children's charity Mermaids 'sucks'

English actor Robert Webb in 2017. (YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Webb, the British comedian who tweeted trans children’s charity “Mermaids sucks”, doesn’t want people to think he’s a bigot – but he stands by his comments.

In an interview promoting his debut novel, Come Again, Webb spoke out about alcoholism, therapy, his near-death experience last year from a heart murmur, his marriage, grief, his career… and, of course, why he doesn’t regret his anti-trans tweets.

His 2018 tweets, in which the bisexual Peep Show star said he was “with” those who were attacking trans kids charity Mermaids, including renowned anti-trans lesbian activist Julie Bindel and the controversial columnist Janice Turner, were roundly criticised for promoting transphobia.

Rather than clearing this up in his Times interview yesterday (by, say, stating his support for the trans community), Webb said he doesn’t regret what he said and added that it “seems unlucky” that he wasn’t able to make an anti-trans comment without then being called a “bigot”.

“I started to say something, and then I stopped, and that means that everyone can rush in and fill in the blanks,” the That Mitchell And Webb Look writer said.

Web acknowledged the backlash to his tweet – “‘He’s a transphobe, he’s a motherf****r'” – but refused to apologise, instead saying: “Once you say, ‘I’m not transphobic, but… ‘ it’s a disaster.”

“It just seems unlucky that you can’t acknowledge that there are going to be competing interests here and there without that becoming, ‘You are a bigot,'” Webb continued.

He did acknowledge, though, that his tweet had “real-life professional consequences” after what the Times called “a sustained pile-on from transgender rights activists”.

Webb went on to say that he has now disengaged from both politics and Twitter, because “I’ve got these great kids, this lovely wife. Turns out I’m not going to die. I’ve got the job I always wanted to do.”

“I don’t need to think about politics all the time,” said the Cambridge-educated millionaire.

Why did Robert Webb say ‘Mermaids sucks’?

In December 2018, Graham Linehan began a campaign to prevent Mermaids – a charity that supports transgender, gender non-conforming and gender-questioning children and their families – from getting a planned £500,000 National Lottery grant.

Other “gender critical” and anti-trans public figures, including the Times journalist Janice Turner, also attacked the charity and voiced their opposition to Mermaids receiving the grant.

It was Turner’s article about this, ‘Trans ideologists are spreading cod science’, that Webb tweeted about in December 2018.

On December 22, the BAFTA-winning British comedian tweeted his support of Turner, along with trans-exclusionary radical feminist campaigners Julie Bindel — who once said a “trans cabal” was “running a witch hunt”— adding: “Mermaids sucks.”

Robert Webb December 2018 tweet.

Webb later added: “I’m a gender-critical feminist.”

Thanks to the efforts of British comedians like Linehan and Webb, not only did Mermaids receive the £500,000 National Lottery grant – after a two-month review that concluded the allegations that Mermaids was a “child sex-change charity” were “baseless” – but a gamer called Hbomberguy raised $300,000 to support trans kids.

Robert Webb has been contacted for comment.

More: graham linehan, janice turner, Julie Bindel, mermaids, robert webb

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