The Stand comedy club U-turns on cancelling show by SNP MP Joanna Cherry after legal threat

It comes after the MP threatened legal action

SNP MP Joanna Cherry says she hopes her case will prevent others from being targeted over gender critical views as she accepted a comedy club’s apology for cancelling her Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

The Stand in Edinburgh said the show Ms Cherry was set to appear in would now go ahead after the event was originally axed because of the Edinburgh South West MP’s views on trans rights.

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Ms Cherry had threatened to take legal action against The Stand unless she received an apology and the event was reinstated.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry had been due to take part in an event at the Stand Comedy Club until staff objected (Picture: Russell Cheyne/WPA pool/Getty Images)SNP MP Joanna Cherry had been due to take part in an event at the Stand Comedy Club until staff objected (Picture: Russell Cheyne/WPA pool/Getty Images)
SNP MP Joanna Cherry had been due to take part in an event at the Stand Comedy Club until staff objected (Picture: Russell Cheyne/WPA pool/Getty Images)

On Friday, the venue said it had taken further external legal advice and had now U-turned on this decision.

The Stand said: “Having considered that new advice, we now accept that the previous decision that the event could not go ahead was unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination against Ms Cherry.

“We now publicly and unreservedly apologise to Ms Cherry. We have sent a detailed response to Ms Cherry and her legal team and have spoken to the event’s promoters to confirm that we will be able to host the event as originally planned.”

The venue added: “We have always been clear that we oppose all forms of discrimination and recognise the rights of individuals to air views with which we may disagree.

"We hope that this apology draws a line under this episode and allows The Stand to get back to doing what it does best.”

Ms Cherry said she was “pleased” with this “very welcome move” and was now looking forward to taking part in the show, where she is planning to discuss her career in politics, campaigning for Scottish independence, and her views on feminism.

She said: “I hope that The Stand’s full and frank acceptance that to discriminate against me on account of the philosophical beliefs which I hold as a lesbian and a feminist was unlawful and will benefit other women and men by discouraging others from similar discrimination in the future.”

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Lawyers acting for Ms Cherry wrote to The Stand on Monday demanding the venue issued a statement acknowledging it “has acted unlawfully by discriminating against our client”, apologise, and reinstate the August event, and if not legal action would begin.

The high-profile MP said she hoped this outcome would prevent others from undertaking similar discrimination against those with gender critical views in the future.

The Stand, which was co-founded by fellow SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, previously said it could not hold the event with Ms Cherry because key members of staff were unwilling to work at the show because they disagreed with her views.

Bosses at the comedy club will now discuss the management of this particular event in coming weeks. On top of this, The Stand will donate its share of the profits from the event to the charity The Edinburgh Food Project.

Ms Cherry has been a vocal critic of the Scottish Government’s proposed gender reforms, which aim to make it easier for a trans person to legally change their gender.

Despite the proposals being passed by the Scottish Parliament, they were blocked by the UK Government when it issued a section 35 order – something First Minister Humza Yousaf is now challenging.

Earlier this week Ms Cherry said she felt she had been “cancelled and no platformed” by The Stand because she was a lesbian who holds gender critical views.

She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme: “I think it says something’s gone very wrong in Scotland’s civic space. Small groups of activists are now dictating who can speak and what can be discussed.”

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The event with Ms Cherry is part of the wider In Conversation With series, which will see other guests such as former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham making an appearance at the Fringe.



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