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The Stand apologises to Joanna Cherry as it U-turns on cancelled Edinburgh Fringe event | UK News

The Stand has been forced into a U-turn over its decision to cancel Joanna Cherry’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe event.

The comedy club scrapped the show after staff said they were “unwilling” to work it.

However, the venue has now said the decision was “unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination” against the SNP MP.

The backtrack comes after the club sought further legal advice from a separate firm after Ms Cherry threatened to take court action.

In a statement published on Friday, a spokesperson for 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.”

In response, Ms Cherry said: “This is a very welcome move by The Stand and I look forward to taking part in the show.

“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 will benefit other women and men by discouraging others from similar discrimination in the future.”

Ms Cherry had been asked to appear at The Stand in August as part of an In Conversation With series of events organised by Fair Pley Productions.

She claimed she was being “cancelled” for being a “lesbian who holds gender-critical views”.

Joanna Cherry speaks at the For Women Scotland and the Scottish Feminist Network demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, ahead of the vote on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. Picture date: Wednesday December 21, 2022.
Ms Cherry speaking at a rally in 2022

Read more:
SNP MP Joanna Cherry says she’s been ‘cancelled’ over gender views
Gender reform bill: Scottish and UK governments to enter legal battle

Why is Scotland’s gender recognition reform bill controversial?

The MP for Edinburgh South West has been a vocal critic of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which aims to simplify the process for people to change gender in the eyes of the law.

The bill, which will see the Scottish and UK governments battle it out in court, has been a contentious issue with critics arguing it undermines women’s rights and single-sex spaces.

Ms Cherry said she had planned to talk about a number of topics, including her career in politics as well the independence movement and the current controversies surrounding the SNP.

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December 2022: SNP on Scotland’s gender reforms

The Stand added: “The Stand will donate our share of the profit from the event to one of our partner charities, Edinburgh Food Project.

“The management of the event will be discussed with staff in the coming weeks.

“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.”

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