Home Entertainment Barry Humphries email reveals what he thought of being ‘cancelled’ by MCF

Barry Humphries email reveals what he thought of being ‘cancelled’ by MCF

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A leaked email written by the late Barry Humphries in 2020 reveals his private thoughts about being ‘cancelled’ by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The popular festival, which Humphries co-founded with English comedian Peter Cook in 1987, distanced itself from the Dame Edna Everage star over comments he made about transgender people in 2018.

The entertainer – who died last Saturday at the age of 89 – had described trans surgeries as ‘self-mutilation’ and referred to transgenderism as ‘a fashion’.

As revealed by Ben Fordham on his 2GB radio show on Wednesday, Humphries previously spoke about his own cancellation in an email about J.K. Rowling.

He spoke out in support of the Harry Potter author, 57, after she was accused of transphobia for objecting to a news headline with the phrase ‘people who menstruate’.

A leaked email written by the late Barry Humphries in 2020 reveals his private thoughts about being 'cancelled' by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

A leaked email written by the late Barry Humphries in 2020 reveals his private thoughts about being ‘cancelled’ by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 

Humphries’ letter read: ‘You have my signature [of support]. I’ve been banned by the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which Peter Cook and I launched.

‘I’ve been attacked and branded fascist and transphobic by the “they” brigade.’

Humphries also described the way Rowling was being treated as a ‘cowardly betrayal’ and wished her the best of luck.

It comes after Piers Morgan eviscerated the Melbourne Comedy Festival for ‘uncancelling’ the legendary comedian after his death aged 89 on Saturday.

The festival announced on Monday it was exploring ways to give the late comedian a ‘fitting tribute’, despite previously distancing itself from Humphries.

‘You gutless cowards cancelled him for standing up for women’s rights. You don’t get to un-cancel now he’s dead,’ the British media personality wrote.

Australian entertainment guru Peter Ford echoed this sentiment, responding to Morgan’s tweet by adding: ‘And to announce this two days after his death can only add to the grief of the family – who likely will be stunned and angered by the U-turn.’

Ford also branded the organisers as ‘unbelievable’, tweeting: ‘What a truly pathetic move. You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

‘I really hope [Humphries’] family ask you not to proceed with this idea after the heartbreak you delivered him.’

As revealed by Ben Fordham on his 2GB radio show on Wednesday, Humphries previously spoke about his own cancellation in an email about J.K. Rowling

As revealed by Ben Fordham on his 2GB radio show on Wednesday, Humphries previously spoke about his own cancellation in an email about J.K. Rowling 

Humphries died on Saturday aged 89 during the final weekend of the month-long annual festival. 

While event organisers acknowledged his death in a statement, the MICF initially decided against including an official tribute to the international star in the rest of its program.

This led to some people claiming the festival had deliberately ‘snubbed’ Humphries over his previous comments about transgender people.

But on Monday, the MICF told their social media followers they had not sidelined the comedic genius behind Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, and were in the process of developing a ‘fitting tribute’ to him.

‘The news of Barry Humphries’ passing in the last 24 hours of the 2023 Festival was momentous,’ they wrote.

‘From today we regroup and start to plan a fitting tribute to his comic genius and leading role in creating a global platform for Australian comedy.’

It comes after Piers Morgan eviscerated the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for 'uncancelling' the legendary comedian after his death aged 89 on Saturday

Pictured: Barry Humphries

It comes after Piers Morgan eviscerated the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for ‘uncancelling’ the legendary comedian after his death aged 89 on Saturday 

Meanwhile, festival director Susan Provan said they had never ‘cancelled’ Humphries and were continuing to celebrate his brilliance.

‘We have celebrated, and continue to celebrate Barry, an incredible comic artist who took Australian comedy global. We really value his contribution to the comedy festival,’ she said in a statement.

The renowned entertainer in 1987 helped establish the festival which has grown to be one of the world’s largest comedy events.

But Humphries had fallen out with organisers following uproar over comments he made five years ago that were seen to be ‘anti-trans’ – with comedians like Hannah Gadsby speaking out against Humphries on Twitter at the time.

Following his comments, Humphries’ name was removed from an award at the festival.

The Melbourne Comedy Festival announced on Monday it was exploring ways to give the late comedian a 'fitting tribute', despite previously distancing itself from Humphries over comments he made about transgender people in 2018. (Pictured: Humphries speaking at the MICF in 2016)

The Melbourne Comedy Festival announced on Monday it was exploring ways to give the late comedian a ‘fitting tribute’, despite previously distancing itself from Humphries over comments he made about transgender people in 2018. (Pictured: Humphries speaking at the MICF in 2016)

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