The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has ruled that Metro did not breach media regulations when it described former comedy writer Graham Linehan as a “Lying Transphobic Cunt”.
On 23rd February, Metro published an article about The IT Crowd creator’s decision to join Her, a dating app designed to “connect womxn and queer people”. Linehan’s own article included a photograph of himself in extravagant make-up and a satirical head tilt, as well as several photographs taken from the profiles of Her users.
A legal representative for Mr Linehan subsequently complained to Metro, describing the stunt as the act of a twat, rather than a cunt, stressing the moral implications of the latter. However, Metro insisted that while the mocking selfie could on its own be attributed to the oafish buffoonery of a twat, the inclusion of the dating profile photos of real people elevated the act to one of cuntery.
Linehan himself complained to Metro about the allegation of having “posed as a trans man” in order to evade a Twitter ban, claiming that “it was a line in a bio to try and fly under the radar.”
Following an investigation, IPSO ruled that there was “no breach” in Metro‘s description, explaining with some exasperation that deceptively describing himself as a trans man in a Twitter bio while simultaneously claiming not to have done so was the very definition of a lie, the brazenness of which only reinforced the formerly established cuntery.
Furthermore, the regulator upheld Metro’s reporting that Mr Linehan had accused English professor Grace Lavery of predatory child abuse, rejecting Linehan’s claim that he had been referring to “grooming the next generation into accepting the many boundary violations celebrated and implemented by Queer Theory.”
As stated in the ruling, “The Committee took into account Graham Linehan’s prolific body of work in which the trans community are repeatedly characterised as predatory pedophiles, with cherry-picked examples of international crimes, allusions to the Rotherham grooming gang scandal, and pranks such as the ‘Jimmy Savile Safeguarding Award’, and concluded that the accusation of pedophilia was genuine and intentional. We also noted his promotion of a meme including a photograph of a horse being ‘groomed’ as a way to make such an accusation while maintaining plausible deniability, and therefore find that Metro were not significantly inaccurate in describing the complainant as a lying cunt.”
Regarding the claim of “transphobia”, Mr Linehan’s legal representative tweeted that “a phobia is an irrational fear and graham isnt scared of transwomen so how can he be transphobic?” However, the regulator found that a phobia can also simply refer to an extreme dislike, which was also a “not significantly inaccurate” way of describing Graham’s relentless demonisation of the trans community and pedophile-related scaremongering.
Metro did agree to amend one line in which the complainant was described as having “always been a cunt,” acknowledging that at one point Mr Linehan was simply more of a prick, before the full extent of his cuntery became apparent.