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David Tennant Labeled ‘The Problem’ by U.K. PM in LGBTQ+ Rights Clash

David Tennant Labeled ‘The Problem’ by U.K. PM in LGBTQ+ Rights Clash

The British prime minister has weighed in on an LGBTQ+ rights clash between actor David Tennant and top U.K. government minister Kemi Badenoch.

The Doctor Who star, who recently returned to the long-running program for its 60th anniversary, was accepting a prize for being a celebrity ally at the British LGBT awards last week when he said he wished Badenoch, the country’s women and equalities minister, would “shut up,” adding that he hoped for a world in which she “doesn’t exist anymore.”

“If I’m honest, I’m a little depressed by the fact that acknowledging that everyone has the right to be who they want to be and live their life how they want to live it as long as they’re not hurting anyone else should merit any kind of special award or special mention, because it’s common sense, isn’t it?” Tennant said. “However, until we wake up and Kemi Badenoch doesn’t exist anymore — I don’t wish ill of her, I just wish her to shut up — whilst we do live in this world, I am honored to receive this.”

Badenoch, a member of the right-wing Conservative party, has voiced controversial opinions on the rights of the U.K.’s LGBTQ+ community and was once discovered to have described trans women as “men” in a secretly recorded meeting in 2018. She has also failed to quash conversion therapy in Britain and put pressure on the country’s Financial Conduct Authority to drop trans-inclusive work policies when she was a junior equalities minister.

After Tennant’s comments, Badenoch took to X to respond. “I will not shut up,” she wrote. “I will not be silenced by men who prioritize applause from [British LGBTQ+ charity] Stonewall over the safety of women and girls. A rich, lefty, white male celebrity so blinded by ideology he can’t see the optics of attacking the only black woman in government by calling publicly for my existence to end.”

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Rishi Sunak, who is soon expected to be ousted by the left-leaning Labour party in July’s general election, has now intervened and criticized Tennant. He posted on his X account on Wednesday: “Freedom of speech is the most powerful feature of our democracy. If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem.”

Badenoch added on her X thread that Tennant is “one of Labour’s celebrity supporters… Do not let the bigots and bullies win.” The Labour party, which takes a more socially progressive stance than the Tories, have not yet given any official statement in response to the argument.

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