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17th Dec 2022

Theatre responds after hundreds sign petition to stop Katie Hopkins show

Charlie Herbert

Katie Hopkins

It has been labelled a ‘shameful’ booking

A theatre in Lincolnshire has responded after hundreds of people signed a petition calling for Katie Hopkins’ upcoming show at the venue to be cancelled.

The controversial media personality is booked to perform at Stamford Corn Exchange next year, but this has prompted a backlash, Lincolnshire Live reports.

The petition, created by Bret Allibone, asks the theatre to remove Mrs Hopkins from its programme and states “we do not believe that hate speech should be encouraged and profited from.”

It continues: “Hopkins has been heavily criticised in the past for her comments, including comparing migrants to cockroaches and claiming the photograph of a dead Syrian boy lying on a beach that sparked a wave of compassion across Europe was staged, as well as stating that people with dementia should not ‘block’ hospital beds.

“Recently, she has been criticising the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the government’s decision to offer free meals to children during school holidays, a campaign driven by the Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.

“Katie Hopkins has many times stood accused of displaying views that have been described by critics as Islamophobic, racist, classist, and misogynistic.

“Stamford does not want Katie Hopkins. We ask that Stamford Corn Exchange does the right thing and cancels this booking as does not entertain similar bookings in the future.”

At the time of writing 712 people have signed the petition.

When the venue posted about the show earlier this month, dozens took to the comments to criticise the venue.

 

One person commented: “Just awful. Why would @stamfordcornexchangetheatre think bringing someone that incites racism and hate is a good thing? Terrible decision.”

Another said: “You cannot be serious? Will absolutely ensure my family, friends & I never darken your doors again after this. What a shameful booking.”

The theatre has now responded to the petition, saying that Hopkins’ show had been the highest selling of the week, and that cancelling such a show would likely lead to the venue having to ‘close the doors for good.’

Theatre manager Judith Mackie said: “Our booking of Katie Hopkins has proven to be controversial. Some people have expressed concern dismay and outrage, that we, as an independent theatre, have chosen to host such a performance.

“However, were we to refuse to book a performance on the grounds that someone, somewhere might find the contents of that performance objectionable then we would likely have to consider closing the doors for good.

“If a performance falls within the remit of the licenses we hold, and – of course – within the law, we feel there would have to be extremely extenuating circumstances to warrant the cancellation of a show.

“When we were approached by a long-standing agent to put on this show, who we have worked with for 13 years and has never brought us a poor standard show, and has always delivered exactly what the biography of a production has been advertised, we had no concerns that the show will be anything other than the comedy show promised.

“We remain an inclusive venue, we do not discriminate against anyone, and we such tirelessly to create the most diverse programme we can achieve.”

Mackie explained that, due to Stamford Corn Exchange being a wholly self-funding charity, the venue must “put on a wide variety of shows that appeal to as wide a demographic as possible.”

Hopkins’ show is currently set to take place in May next year.

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