Those involved in the transgender movement are now 'far more powerful than the Catholic Church', Graham Linehan has claimed.
The creator of Father Ted was speaking as a Newstalk poll found nearly half the population does not believe teenagers who wish to transition should be given puberty blockers.
The Amárach research found that a similar proportion of people do not believe children should be offered gender affirming care, such as counselling and hormone replacement treatment.
The survey finds that 49% of people believe teens who wish to transition should not have access to puberty blockers, while 27% do and 24% don’t know or would prefer not to say.
Mr Linehan has been outspoken in his views on transgender rights in the past.
He told The Hard Shoulder comedy has suffered because of political correctness.
"I know that Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have stopped touring colleges because the audience just argues back to jokes," he said.
"They all want to turn it into a politburo meeting or something.
"I think there's a difference between tastes changing, which is usually a subtle and slow process, and people saying, 'You can't make jokes about that' - that's a different thing.
"I think the reason why it's different is because of the artificial, accelerated nature of the internet.
"Basically everybody's learning about the same things to be offended about, everyone's agreeing on the same lines.
"They're doing it by coordinating online; they're not doing it consciously, it's just like it's fashionable - it's another reason why it spread so far."
'Destroying people they don't like'
Mr Linehan said the internet makes it easier to destroy people.
"The means by which you can destroy a career, there's so many of them suddenly," he said.
"You can write letters to advertisers, you can do boycotts, you can do fake screenshots, which is something that happens to me.
"I get people faking screenshots where I'm talking about sharing dick pics with women... that's one of the things that was shared around about me.
"There's a kind of a core of people who just know their way around the internet, and they're kind of using it to destroy people they don't like."
'That charge of transphobia'
Mr Linehan said he has taken financial hits which have also affected his marriage.
"A guy called me one day and he asked me if I would like to direct a series that's on now, called Only Murders in the Building, with Steve Martin and Martin Short," he said.
"I've worshipped Steve Martin from the moment I became aware he existed.
"I was absolutely thrilled, so I put down the phone and went down and told my wife what was at the time a rare bit of good news.
"I walked back upstairs, sat down at my computer and found out the offer had been rescinded.
"I said to the guy, 'We've literally just put the phone down', and he said, 'Yeah sorry, someone else stepped in'.
"I know exactly what happened - he was kind of sitting on it and when he got it he went out to the office and he said, 'Hey everyone, we got Graham Linehan', and someone in the office said, 'He's a bigot'.
"If you hear he's anti-trans that word, that charge of transphobia or bigotry in that sense, that's enough just to get anyone to pull the plug."
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) November 16, 2023
Mr Linehan was asked if such scenarios make him question why he got involved in the transgender debate in the first place.
"I see this as simply another, rather like when we were writing Father Ted, as another religion that gripped not just Ireland this time but the world," he said.
"I always resent religious people having control over my life - it was one of the reasons why we wrote Father Ted.
"Even though it was silly and kind of attacked its targets with a big rubber mallet, it was still borne of finding beliefs in ridiculous things a funny topic.
"I think the same thing exactly of this movement, except with the difference that they are far more powerful than the Catholic Church were in the '90s when we wrote Ted."
Use of pronouns
On the use of pronouns, Mr Linehan said he has transgender friends who understand.
"I have trans friends within this... and I'll often say - for instance, Debbie Hayton - I'll often use he/him pronouns and then let him know later on 'Hey look I was interviewed and I used he/him pronouns'," he said.
"He totally understands because... [people] don't want to cause further distress to people who are already in distress.
"My argument is that I don't think it's helping a lot of these people."
Mr Linehan added that he would use preferred pronouns for his adult friends "in non-public places."
Graham Lenehan's book, Tough Crowd: How I Made and Lost a Career in Comedy, is out now from Eye Books.
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