‘Father Ted’ co-creator Graham Linehan given harassment warning after ‘transphobia’ row

The comedy writer was involved in an online clash with a transgender activist

Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan has been issued with a verbal harassment warning by police after he was involved in an online row with a transgender activist.

The comedy writer had argued with activist Stephanie Hayden on Twitter about gender identity. Linehan had then posted tweets misgendering Hayden and featuring her “deadnames” – the names she used before transitioning.

West Yorkshire police have now warned Linehan not to contact Hayden, who accused him of harassment, defamation, and the misuse of private information, and has said she is suing him in the High Court. She said she spent five hours providing a statement and evidence to the police, who she asked to take “swift and proportionate action to make clear that transgender harassment was unacceptable.”

Writing on Twitter about the incident, Hayden said: “I wish to place on record my thanks to both Norfolk Constabulary and West Yorkshire Police for the swift and positive action taken by both forces. This has been a difficult week for me. #transphobia in any form is unacceptable.

“Now the Police matter has been resolved anything else is between the parties. Thank you to the #transgender community (and beyond) for your continued support.”

Linehan said he was also considering taking legal action against Hayden and defended his referral to her as “he”. “I will call all of my trans friends ‘she’,” he wrote on Twitter, before setting his account to private. “I think of them as women, they are respectful and are not misogynists. But I refuse to respect the pronouns of misogynists.”

He also pointed out he had recently signed a petition imploring LGBT charity Stonewall to address the conflict that exists between “transgenderism and sex-based women’s rights.”

The verbal warning is not a conviction but will appear on any enhanced criminal records checks and can be used as evidence in future proseuctions.