Matt Berry does not ‘share any views’ with The IT Crowd writer Graham Linehan.
The Toast of London star has addressed the controversy surrounding a 2008 episode of The IT Crowd in which he starred, which was pulled from All4 by Channel 4 after it was criticised as transphobic.
In the episode titled The Speech, Berry’s character Douglas Reynholm dates a transgender woman April (played by Lucy Montgomery) but breaks up with her when he discovers she is trans.
Reynholm tells her: ‘It’s not you, it’s me. No actually, it’s not me, it is you’, before they engage in a physical fight – with Reynholm calling April a ‘b*****d’ when she throws a punch.
In a profile from Vulture, Berry noted that he did not write the episode, which he called ‘ridiculous and dated’, and said that he ‘hopes people can accept that it was a product of an earlier time’.
Later in the interview, the 47-year-old said: ‘I don’t condone anything that that comedy portrayed, you know? I don’t share any views that the writer has.’
The sitcom, starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson, followed three members of Reynholm Industries’ inept IT department, and ran for four series between 2006 and 2013.
The IT Crowd was written by Father Ted creator Graham Linehan, who has, in recent years, become more well known for his comments about transgender people – including comparing transgender activism to Nazism – than his comedy writing.
The Irish writer was suspended from Twitter permanently in 2020 after replying ‘men aren’t women tho [sic]’ in response to a Women’s Institute post, wishing a happy Pride to all of their transgender members.
Linehan – who told Vulture that he is not ‘anti-trans’ and that he is ‘protecting women’s rights and spaces’ – has continued ‘his writings on his perceived ‘war on women’ by transgender people on the platform Substack.
When Channel 4 removed The Speech episode from its streaming service last year, Linehan claimed that the decision was ‘an attack on my right to freedom of speech’.
He wrote in a blog post: ‘I do *not* agree with the statement that ‘Transwomen are women’ because it has huge implications for women in terms of safeguarding, sports, equal representation in public life and so on.
‘Also, it is a biological impossibility and therefore a religious belief that I certainly do not share. Bruce Jenner is not the same sex as my mother. Sex is real, and it is a source of oppression for women, historically and globally.’
Channel 4 said of the episode: ‘After reviewing this particular episode in light of current audience expectations, we concluded it did not meet our standards for remaining available on All 4 and it was not possible to make adequate changes, and therefore it was removed.’