Graham Linehan

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Linehan in 2013
It's a social construct
Icon gender.svg
Spectra and binaries

Graham Linehan (1968–) (Glinner on Twitter and other social media) is an Irish comedy writer, self-styled feminist and transphobic bigot. As a comedy writer he is co-responsible for the sitcoms Father Ted (1995-98), Black Books (2000-2004), and The IT Crowd (2006-2013), as well as writing sketches and routines for other shows.[1][2] Father Ted in particular, which he co-wrote with Arthur Mathews, is hailed as one of the highlights of Irish or British comedy (it was made for British company Channel 4 predominantly by Irish talent).[3] He had also been a very active and prolific tweeter on popular micro-blogging website Twitter, and in recent years had focussed on attacking trans people and being a general TERF. He opposed the trans charity Mermaids in a rather transphobic post on Mumsnet (a parenting website known for rabid transphobia), and was called out for this by hbomberguy in the latter's famous marathon charity livestream to raise money for Mermaids, in which he raised over $340,000.[4]

On June 27 2020, Graham Linehan was permanently banned from Twitter, due to violating several of their hateful conduct policies.[5] That permanent ban turned out to be less than permanent; it was lifted after Elon Musk acquired the platform.[6] On March 9, 2021, he announced that his anti-trans activism had caused "such a strain that my wife and I finally agreed to separate".[7]

Twitter policeman[edit]

Linehan was prominent in the early 2010s on Twitter and was actively involved in campaigns on progressive issues, opposing Brexit and the misogynistic trolls of GamerGate.[8] However he also took the point of view that being a famous internet celebrity means you should defend other internet celebrities facing criticism. When tiresome right-wing journalist Giles Coren responded to a mild criticism by a Twitter user with the message "Go fuck yourself, you barren old hag", Glinner defended Coren's misogynistic response.[8]

The editor of British comedy website Cook'd and Bomb'd (C&B) has criticised celebrities including Glinner and fellow transphobe Ricky Gervais, for aggressive behaviour on social media. Cookd and Bombd popularised the epithet "Twitter policeman" for Linehan, referring to his desire to lay down standards of right and wrong. Neil C&B said, "it now seems that many celebrities – like afore-mentioned Twitter policeman Graham Linehan – simply place themselves above any kind of criticism. This accounts for the devaluing of the term 'troll' in the wider media – the phrase was originally coined to refer to people who post inflammatory messages in order to sidetrack discussion, and generate negative attention. Now, it frequently seems to mean 'anyone with the chutzpah to publicly disagree with a celebrity or media figure.'"[9]

There was some self-awareness of his unpopularity in his use of the name "Beloved Internet Personality" on Twitter.


In recent years the focus of his internet outrage has moved on from people disagreeing with celebrities to anything involving trans rights and the idea that trans women are women. On Dec 16, 2016 he got involved in a row over a National Geographic cover story about trans people, which seems to have been when the shit really hit the fan.[10] According to the Irish Times, Glinner accepts that gender dysphoria is real but "has a problem with widening the definition of transgender" and opposes self-identification (where people get to decide they are transgender without needing a doctor to diagnose it as a clinical condition) and "early diagnosis" of trans or gender non-conforming children.[11] While he sympathises with trans people and believes that they need medical care (something many of them would disagree with), he has a problem with the idea that trans women are women. He claims to oppose "privileged white people saying you must accept anyone who says they are a woman", although evidently it's ok if a privileged white man lectures on who is and isn't a woman.[11]

It has been suggested (including by the Irish Times[11]) that this antipathy to trans people flared from a somewhat transphobic 2008 episode of sitcom The IT Crowd, which attracted criticism and led to Linehan becoming interested in the subject of trans people. Alexa Ephemera summarises it:

In 2009 [sic] he penned a particularly transphobic episode of the IT Crowd called "Fight" in which the character of Douglas Reynholm starts dating a woman. Early on in the episode, she informs him that she is trans, but he mishears her, leading her to wrongly conclude that he accepts her for who she is. For the rest of the episode we see her fulfil numerous male stereotypes such as enjoying action movies and drinking pints of beer which leads Douglas to believe that he has found the perfect woman. The "comedy" concludes with Douglas learning the truth and the titular "Fight" plays out.[10]

Initially Linehan defended it saying that the character was transphobic but the episode was not.[12] However this ignores the fact that the episode offers a ridiculous caricature of a trans woman far beyond what one transphobic (and generally unpleasant) character says about her. Even as recently as 2008 there was not the same awareness that trans women are women deserving of basic human dignity, and there's a long tradition especially in British comedy of female characters played by men for comedic effect, but Glinner's defence is both inaccurate and insulting to trans people, and rather than apologise he insulted his critics (many of whom were trans or cis women).

He has focused quite heavily on children being rushed into gender realignment and the use of hormone blockers which prevent puberty. This has occasionally been controversial, with concern that clinics are not devoting enough time to evaluating children, but the consensus is that most services are too slow in providing care to children who are often depressed or suicidal, rather than rushing into life-altering decisions.[13] However he has gone well beyond concerns over children, criticising adult trans rights campaigners and their demands for self-identification.[11]

He is opposed to the term "TERF", which he considers misogynistic.[14] It's not clear why a term mostly used by women in defence of other women would be misogynistic, but Glinner knows best.

He changed his Twitter handle to Magdalen Berns Forever in 2019 in response to the TERF activist and self-styled transphobe's terminal illness and death.[15][16][17] He has hounded a number of comedians off Twitter when they failed to endorse his position opposing trans rights, including Robin InceWikipedia and Cariad Lloyd.Wikipedia[18][19][20] He also called TV presenter and journalist Jon Ronson "pathetic" for similar reasons.[21]

Linehan's constant use of Twitter[22] had evidently affected his personal life, and disturbed other people. On Jan 31, 2020, comedian Frankie Boyle tweeted: "I've already told you. I'm going to have to block you. I think you're neurotically obsessed with some stuff that is doing you no good/ worry you have some kind of internet addiction. All the best with it."[23] Adding to this, James Serafinowicz (Linehan's ex-brother-in-law) has been publicly distancing himself from Linehan, as well as stating that his sister (Linehan's ex-wife) does not share his views[24], and has (in a now deleted tweet) stated that his extreme views and monomaniacal obsession with transphobic "activism" are causing his family to disassociate from him. Adding some credence to this, his ex-wife has also reverted back to using her maiden name of Serafinowicz online; un-sourced rumours floated around that they have divorced, and Linehan eventually confirmed their separation in 2021.[25]

Police warning[edit]

In October 2018 he received a verbal warning from West Yorkshire police for harassing trans activist Stephanie Hayden on Twitter, and a ban on contacting her in future. He doxxed her, tweeting her previous names and old pictures, as well as repeatedly using the pronoun "he" to refer to her. In his defence he claimed that he was retaliating after she published the address of his wife's business, and he didn't want to contact her anyway.[26]


He got very angry at trans children's charity Mermaids on the internet forum Mumsnet (he's not actually a mum, but maybe he identifies as one?), opposing Mermaids receiving funding from the UK National Lottery's Big Lottery Fund. Mermaids provides a range of services for to support trans and gender non-conforming children and their families, but as a result of complaints from Linehan and others on Mumsnet, the Lottery suspended planned funding and launched an inquiry. Mumsnet later deleted the thread. In response, Hbomberguy set up a charity fundraiser Twitch livestream where he played Donkey Kong 64, chatted with various trans supportive people ranging from Contrapoints, to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and raised $340,000 (£265,000).[4][27][28] Hbomberguy wrote:

I chose Mermaids specifically, because when they were designated some funding via the National Lottery, Graham Linehan, a comedy writer who did some work on a good show 20 years ago, a very normal man who is very angry about trans people all day nowadays, went on Mumsnet and told them to email the National Lottery en masse. Well done, Graham… now, tons of people know about Mermaids, and support them just to spite you!"[29]

Linehan responded by posting on Twitter about how awful Hbomberguy and his guests were, telling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "You really need to do more research on these things".[30]

As a result of laying into Mermaids and being called out by Hbomberguy, he also has the distinction of being condemned for transphobia in the Scottish Parliament, in a resolution put forward by Patrick Harvey of the Scottish Green Party. The motion praised Harry Brewis (HbomberGuy) and trans children's charity Mermaids and criticised Glinner's attempt to remove funding from the charity. The motion noted that Mermaids "was chosen by Harry following pressure from a well-known television and comedy writer to have a planned lottery grant removed from the charity".[31]


Linehan set up his own TERF social network as a ‘competitor’ to Twitter, called Glindr. He says this was important because Twitter is moderated by "women hating incels".[32] As of April 2023, nobody (not even Linehan) had posted on Glindr since November 2022. Yet the service eerily remains online anyway.

When Twitter permanently banned him in June 2020, he switched to using Glindr, before turning to blogging site Substack, where he posts his thoughts about screengrabs of tweets. Blog comments are restricted to those who have paid Linehan for a £89.99 £49.99 £40.00 £30.00 yearly subscription to his blog.

Conversion therapy[edit]

Not content with sending his mob of TERFs to bully a different person offline for each day of the week, and failing to take money from a charity for children, Linehan is now trying to compile a database of 'gender critical' Irish therapists to perform conversion therapy on young trans people - something that is illegal in Ireland.[33] Linehan might be seeing a bit more than a police warning if he tries to continue pursuing the award for "worst comedy writer currently alive".

Invading women's spaces[edit]

Image created by Linehan for his profile on a lesbian dating app. "They're invading women's spaces!"

In some sort of misguided attempt to try to spread his transphobic belief that men will pretend to be trans to invade women's spaces, he set up an account on Her, a dating website exclusively for women and queer people. He also doxxed multiple trans people on the platform, saying they should be removed for "not being women".[34] Ironically, he only ended up proving his opponents' points when he was kicked out of the platform for not being trans.[35] Linehan complained to UK newspaper industry regulator IPSO after The Metro wrote an article on this which claimed Linehan was "known for his anti-trans rhetoric"; IPSO found that this was accurate and also agreed with The Metro's claim that Linehan had joined Her at least partly "to mock transgender women".[36]


He claims to be a feminist, to the extent of having a blog at titled "Women Are Important".[37] However he is responsible for a lot of rather misogynistic comments, for instance saying of Dolly Parton "Riiight. And how about the fact that she's completely fucked up her face?"[38] and "Amazing how many supposed feminists are OK with women mutilating themselves in order to meet some utterly fucked up beauty standard. #parton"[39] This demonstrates his tendency to divide women up into good and bad (madonna-whore dichotomy) and only extend his feminism to the former.

Despite repeatedly insisting men should refrain from opinion that might amount to dictating the terms of feminist issues[40][41] (often as a rebuttal to cis men who question trans exclusionism), he has in the past belittled women-fronted causes that don’t meet his personal standards of worthiness. He once mocked discussion over the extent to which the marketing of feminine hygiene products perpetuate misogynist female grooming taboos, scoffing “"Pouring shame on body parts?" If there was a special soap for cleaning my penis, I'd be all over that shit. I would never go out again”.[42] When comedian and author Shappi Khorsandi endorsed Let Toys Be Toys, a campaign group promoting non-gendered marketing of toys, he sarcastically sneered “Hugely important issue. Nothing more important going on right now. Great use of energy.”[43] This is doubly-hypocritical as he often couches his transphobia as gender critical thought, in a manner suggesting he has always cared about this cause.

Since 2019 Linehan's social media avatar has been a cartoon of himself as knight on a white horse, with the cross-and-circle female icon on his shield.[44]

Attacking women[edit]

Unsurprisingly then, this patriarchal attitude often spills over to his attacks on trans people, where he throws abuse at any cis women who defend trans women. He called the Women's March London "Traitors" for calling themselves "trans inclusive and intersectional".[45] He also refers to women who support trans rights or otherwise oppose him as mindless "handmaidens".[46][47] Furthermore, he frequently accuses cisgender women of being men.[48]

Blogger and ex-prostitute Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour) accused him of "whorephobia" (a hatred or fear of prostitutes),[note 1] tweeting "Also whorephobia. My Linehan brush was he kept tweeting how much he liked to wank to my writing (eww), so when I asked him to read a sitcom pilot I was working on, he freaked tf out and implied I was trying to destroy his marriage or something."[49]

He also attacked comedian Josie Long over her views on trans people, leading to Long temporarily deleting her Twitter account to avoid the torrents of abuse.[50] Cariad Lloyd got the same treatment for making a period joke.[51]

Linehan has also attacked feminists, including award winning journalist Mona Eltahawy, for being trans supportive. The absurdity of a white, straight, cis male telling a bisexual Egyptian-American woman (who has literally had her arms broken in defence of women’s rights) that she’s ‘bending the knee to men’ for supporting trans women was apparently lost on him.[52]

More in the realm of insane self-parody/Poe's Law: Linehan went viral in January 2019 after quoting a trans woman saying that she would "nut so hard I would shoot a hole through the international space station" as proof that her gender identity was "actually just part of a racist fetish", because he believed that women can't "nut". It was pointed out that the word "nut" can refer to a male or female orgasm.[53]

His possible nadir was when a woman (and sexual assault survivor) asked him to stop calling women ‘females’ and pointed out that she had been assaulted by men, not trans women. He responded that “it’s not all about you.”[54] Because nothing says feminism like talking over a rape victim with abuser rhetoric.

Other stuff[edit]

By September 2022, Linehan had also begun questioning COVID-19 vaccines and the science behind global warming "because I’ve been lied to so conclusively by all the people I used to trust".[55]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. This makes Linehan a potential SWERF 'n' TERF.


  1. See the Wikipedia article on Graham Linehan.
  2. Graham Linehan, IMDb
  3. Father Ted’s legacy, 20 years on: up with this sort of thing, Andrew Harrison, The Guardian, 20 April 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gamer Hbomberguy hands funding row charity Donkey Kong boost, BBC, 22 January 2019
  5. Independent. (June 27, 2020). [1]. Independent. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  6. Henry Giardina (December 23, 2022). "Infamous Transphobe Graham Linehan Has Been Unbanned From Twitter, and Nobody's Happy About It". INTO.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Look at the Conduct of Graham Linehan and Others on Twitter, Richard H Cooper, May 2012
  9. Comedians using their fans for co-ordinated, safety-in-numbers bullying, Neil, Cook'd and Bomb'd Comedy Chat, 5 Sep 2012, now on
  10. 10.0 10.1 It’s Time to Call Out Graham Linehan’s Ugly Transphobia, Alexa Ephemera, Medium, Dec 22, 2016
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Graham Linehan: Trans activists ‘don’t realise the damage’ they do, Deirdre Falvey, Irish Times, Jan 21, 2019
  12. "@roseofwinter A transphobic character is not a transphobic episode. Learn the difference!" by Glinner (3:36 PM, 24 Dec 2013) Twitter (archived from July 2, 2019).
  13. Gender identity clinic accused of fast-tracking young adults, The Guardian, 3 Nov 2018
  14. "don't use misogynistic terms like terf please" by Glinner, (5:05 AM, 21 Dec 2016) Twitter (archived from July 2, 2019).
  15. "Magdalen Berns Forever", Glinner (Graham Linehan), Twitter profile page, Twitter, accessed 23 September 2019
  16. JK Rowling criticised for following a "famous transphobe" on Twitter, The Independent, 25 Jun 2019
  17. See the Wikipedia article on Magdalen Berns.
  18. "Speaking of which, did you ever decide whether you agree with the dictionary definition of ‘woman’, Robin? Fairly simple question to answer, I would have thought.", Glinner (Graham Linehan), Replying to @robinince, Twitter, 27 Mar 2019
  19. The funniest example was when Robin Ince LEFT TWITTER rather than say whether he agreed with the dictionary definition of ‘woman’., Glinner (Graham Linehan), Twitter, 26 Mar 2019
  20. Graham Linehan has now hounded Cariad Lloyd and Robin Ince off Twitter. But sure, let’s not say anything. Ah, you won’t, you won’t, you won’t., Michael Legge, Twitter, Mar 28, 2019
  21. Jon, I stood up for you at a Norwich event where you got antisemitic abuse, to such an extent that the person in question followed me out onto the street afterwards, shouting at me, and you don’t even have the guts to stand up for me when I’m defending women. You’re pathetic., Glinner (Graham Linehan), Twitter, 27 May 2019
  22. Sorry! I am on a break, but this was too hilarious not to post., Glinner (Graham Linehan), Twitter, 24 September 2019.
  23. I've already told you. I'm going to have to block you. I think you're neurotically obsessed with some stuff that is doing you no good/ worry you have some kind of internet addiction. All the best with it., Frankie Boyle, 31 Jan 2020
  24. Tweet by James Serafinowicz, 26 Feb 2020
  26. Graham Linehan given police warning after complaint by transgender activist, The Guardian, 7 Oct 2018
  27. Campaigning to halt Big Lottery funding for trans support charity Mermaids isn’t noble – it’ll directly harm children, Aaron Hughes, The Independent, 18 December 2018
  28. Big Lottery Fund reviews grant to trans kids charity Mermaids, Pink News, 17 Dec 2018
  29. YouTube star Hbomberguy raises $200,000 for trans charity Mermaids in Twitch stream ‘to spite’ Father Ted creator Graham Linehan, Metro, 20 Jan 2019
  30. "You really need to do more research on these things" by Glinner (9:40 PM - 20 Jan 2019) Twitter (archived from July 3, 2019).
  31. Motion S5M-15504: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 21/01/2019: Online Gamer, Harry Brewis, Fundraising for Mermaids UK, Scottish Parliament website
  32. Glindr Launch
  34. Patrick Kelleher, Graham Linehan joined a queer women’s dating app to share trans people’s profiles. It backfired, badly, PinkNews 21 Feb. 2021
  35. Dominic Whitlock,Her Defends Trans Women After Male Writer Joins Platform, GlobalDatingInsights 24 Feb. 2021
  36. 01958-21 Linehan v, Independent Press Standards Organisation (UK), 21 June 2021
  37. Women are Important, Graham Linehan, accessed 1 July 2019
  38. "Riiight. And how about the fact that she's completely fucked up her face?" by Glinner (29 Jun 2014) Twitter (archived from July 3, 2019).
  39. Amazing how many supposed feminists are OK with women mutilating themselves in order to meet some utterly fucked up beauty standard. #parton by Glinner (29 Jun 2014) Twitter (archived from July 3 2019).
  40. "I agree! But as the *far* more privileged group, I think men should listen to women.", Graham Linehan, Twitter, 17 Oct 2018
  41. "well, let me phrase it a different way. If a bunch of lesbians have a different experience with trans activists to that of a heterosexual middle class man, maybe that man should listen to the lesbians instead of saying who does and doesn't belong at Pride?", Graham Linehan, Twitter, 17 July 2018
  42. '"Pouring shame on body parts?" If there was a special soap for cleaning my penis, I'd be all over that shit. I would never go out again.', Graham Linehan, Twitter, 23 Jun 2012
  43. "Hugely important issue. Nothing more important going on right now. Great use of energy.", Graham Linehan, Twitter, 26 Oct 2016
  45. "Traitors", Glinner, Twitter, 3:15PM 20 Jan 2019, archived at
  46. "Polling results so far! Nearly 5000 people think there is a problem, while over 13,000 woke blokes/handmaidens/incels think everything is just fine." by Glinner (11:54 PM - 23 Jan 2019) Twitter (archived from January 25, 2019).
  47. "Yep. Woke blokes and handmaidens instead of priests and nuns." by Glinner (12:56 AM - 23 Jan 2019) Twitter (archived from July 3, 2019).
  49. Also whorephobia. My Linehan brush was he kept tweeting how much he liked to wank to my writing (eww), so when I asked him to read a sitcom pilot I was working on, he freaked tf out and implied I was trying to destroy his marriage or something. by belledejour_uk (Brooke Magnanti) (12:49 PM - 1 Jun 2018) Twitter (archived from January 26, 2019).
  50. Can comedy survive in an age of outrage?, Miranda Sawyer, The Guardian, 28 July 2019
  51. [2] Cariad Lloyd also deactivated her Twitter account for a time, after anti-trans trolls attacked her for using inclusive language when talking about periods.
  52. Mona Eltahawy responds to Graham Linehan
  53. ‘IT Crowd’ creator says women can’t ‘nut,’ and women beg to differ, Ana Valens, Daily Dot, 2019-01-29
  55. "Anti-trans activist Graham Linehan says he's no longer sure about COVID vaccines or climate change". PinkNews. 1 October 2022. 
  56. Harriet Williamson (April 16, 2023). "Anti-trans mouthpiece Graham Linehan suspended from Twitter … again". PinkNews.