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Theatre

Esteemed gay theatre critic told he’s an ‘abomination’ who will ‘rot in hell’ in shocking email from his own father

Lily Wakefield November 11, 2020
gay theatre critic mark shenton

Mark Shenton and Dame Judi Dench at the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards at Prince Of Wales Theatre on January 26, 2016 in London, England. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty)

Esteemed theatre critic Mark Shenton has shared an email from his father who told him he is an “abomination” who will “rot in hell” for being gay.

Shenton is a theatre and arts journalist based in London, and on Wednesday (11 November) he wrote on Twitter: “Lessons in living in a homophobic world: I received the following astonishing e-mail from my father – yes, my FATHER – yesterday.

“I share this not to garner sympathy, but just to say it NEVER GOES AWAY. However, I am strong, and so-called ‘Christian’ hatred will not shame me.”

The email he shared read: “I have shared your email with Alpha, and a very close Pentacostalist minister. They all agree that you are under a severe attack from Satan…

“God is on my side. You have no chance except to rot in hell. What you do as a homosexual is against all forms of decency. You are an abomination before God. Unnatural sexual acts are forbidden by your maker. Shame on you.

“I will never stop telling the media about your horrible acts, and your being sacked by the Sunday Express for being exposed by one of your lovers way back when you were young.”

Between 2002 to 2013, Mark Shenton was the theatre critic for the Sunday Express, but lost his job when naked photos of him two decades old were discovered online by the paper.

In a blog post at the time, Shenton claimed: “The paper had been tipped off by a malicious third party that there were some private, personal (but entirely legal) images of me available on a gay website.

“I’d never seen or heard of the site myself so it was news to me, but yes, the thumbnail picture I was shown by the head of human resources was indeed of me.

“I had not posted it, but remembered it being taken, by my reckoning, by a friend in San Francisco I have long lost touch with some 22 years ago – long before I either worked for the paper or the internet had come of age, so I never expected them to turn up on a website that didn’t exist then.”

In another tweet, Shenton said his father also wrote in the email: “You will be damned to eternal isolation from God, when the rapture comes. You and your husband will rot in hell, screaming for Jesus to help you.

“But He will say: ‘I know you not.’ You will be condemned to the fires of hell for eternity. I am not joking.”

The gay theatre critic received an outpouring of love and support from his followers, and the Christians among them insisted that religion was no excuse for bigotry.

One wrote: “I’m so sorry. I’m a Christian and the heart of Christianity is love. We have judged instead of loving and hurt so many people because of that. I’m so sorry we’ve done that.

God loves you. Nothing will change that. I hope your father realises that too.”

More: Christianity, Gay, Homophobia, mark shenton, sunday express, Theatre

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