A leaked email written by the late Barry Humphries in 2020 reveals his personal thoughts on 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 passed away last Saturday at the age of 89 – had described trans operations as “self-mutilation” and called transgenderism “a fashion.”
As revealed by Ben Fordham on his 2 GB radio show on Wednesday, Humphries previously spoke about his own cancellation in an email about JK Rowling.
He spoke out in support of the Harry Potter author, 57, after she was accused of transphobia for objecting to a news headline featuring the phrase ‘people who menstruate’.
A leaked email written by the late Barry Humphries in 2020 reveals his personal thoughts on being ‘cancelled’ by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Humphries’ letter read: “You have my signature (of support). I’ve been banned from the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which Peter Cook and I launched.
“I have been attacked and labeled a fascist and transphobe by the ‘they’ brigade.”
Humphries also described Rowling’s treatment as a “cowardly betrayal” and wished her luck.
It comes after Piers Morgan eviscerated the Melbourne Comedy Festival for ‘cancelling’ the legendary comedian after his death at the age of 89 on Saturday.
The festival announced on Monday that it was exploring ways to pay “appropriate tribute” to the late comedian, despite previously distanced itself from Humphries.
“You cowards canceled him because he stood up for women’s rights. You can’t undo the cancellation now that 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 will likely be stunned and angry by the U-turn.’
Ford also labeled the organizers “incredible,” tweeting, “What a truly pathetic move. You people should be ashamed of you.
“I really hope the (Humphries’) family ask you not to go through with this idea after the heartbreak you caused him.”
As revealed by Ben Fordham on his 2GB radio show on Wednesday, Humphries previously spoke of his own cancellation in an email about JK Rowling
Humphries died on Saturday at the age of 89 during the last weekend of the annual month-long festival.
While event organizers acknowledged his death in a statement, the MICF initially decided not to include an official tribute to the international star in the rest of its program.
This led to some people claiming that the festival had deliberately “disapproved” Humphries for his previous comments about transgender people.
But on Monday, the MICF told their social media followers that they had not sidelined the comedic genius behind Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson and were developing a “appropriate tribute” to him.
“The news of Barry Humphries passing in the final 24 hours of the 2023 festival was momentous,” they wrote.
“As of today, we regroup and begin planning a fitting tribute to his comedic genius and leadership in creating a global platform for Australian comedy.”
It comes after Piers Morgan eviscerated the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for ‘not canceling’ the legendary comedian following his death at age 89 on Saturday
Meanwhile, festival director Susan Provan said they never “cancelled” on Humphries and continued to celebrate his brilliance.
“We have celebrated, and continue to celebrate, Barry, an incredible cartoonist who has taken Australian comedy worldwide. We greatly appreciate his contribution to the comedy festival,” she said in a statement.
The famed entertainer helped create the festival in 1987, which has become one of the world’s largest comedy events.
But Humphries fell out with organizers after an uproar over comments he made five years ago that were seen as ‘anti-trans’ – with comedians such as 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 that it was exploring ways to pay the late comedian a “appropriate tribute,” despite previously distanced himself from Humphries over comments he made about transgender people in 2018. (Pictured: Humphries speaking at the MICF in 2016)