Robert Webb: Peep Show actor address backlash after slamming transgender charity Mermaids

David Mitchell and Robert Webb star in 'Remain Indoors' sketch

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Actor Robert Webb has opened up about his criticism against a transgender charity, after sharing an article slamming individuals who are trans. The Peep Show star supported an article titled “Trans ideologists are spreading cod science”.

They made sense to me at the time, and I retweeted it approvingly

Robert Webb

In the column written for a UK broadsheet in 2018, the author Janice Turner claimed that the charity Mermaids were “so out of step with NHS practise”.

Shortly after the article was posted, Robert, 48, took to his Twitter page, sharing the post alongside the caption: “This won’t make me popular in certain quarters but f*** it – I’m with Janice and I don’t say it often enough.

“Also @boodleoops also @bindelj I’ve talked to some really nice trans people here & they have my solidarity if they want it. But Mermaids sucks.”

After receiving a barrage of backlash from pro-trans supporters, the Boston born star swift deleted his post.

An extract of the article for The Times read: “The NHS protocol for children is ‘watchful waiting’ but Mermaids pushes for the US ‘affirmation’ model in which any child who declares that they are trans must be treated as such without examining any possible underlying issues, such as frequently undiagnosed autism, depression or sexual abuse.”

Three years later, Robert has spoken of his tweet supporting the article, which he says “made sense to [him] at the time” of publication.

Speaking on the NPR podcast Bullseye alongside David Mitchell, Robert said: “I can’t even really remember what [Turner’s] specific objections were but they made sense to me at the time, and I retweeted it approvingly.”

He went on to tell host Jesse Thorn, who is a father of two non-gender-conforming children, with one identifying as transgender: “There was this feeling that if you criticise a charity and the way it operates or its methodology, that is the same as criticising the client base.

“It’s like saying if I’ve got a problem with the way Oxfam is operating, it’s because I hate poor people in the third world.”

Robert continued: “The whole debate is really overheated and it’s impossible to really talk about this or say anything even remotely reasonable without what I say being used as a vehicle for another round of defamation and abuse, so it’s not a topic I tend to dive into anymore, at all really.”

Host Jesse admitted to the Fresh Meat star that his comments had been “kind of scary” after a charity similar to Mermaids had helped his own family.

When probed about whether he had spoken with people behind Mermaids following his tweet, Robert said: “It just wasn’t a conversation I wanted to carry on getting into, because the reaction was so strong. It was as if I said, ‘I hate trans children,’ which of course, I don’t.

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“Do I have to say… ‘OK, maybe I do’. That is not how I feel about the situation, it was critical about the way Mermaids was conducting itself.”

When asked whether he feels it is appropriate to state the gender identity of a child, he stated: “Sure, I think it’s on a case by case basis but I’m not really an expert, you’re a parent and you’ve got first-hand experience.”

Los Angeles native Jesse has since taken to social media claiming that a representative for Robert Webb had asked for the discussion to be cut from the final edit of the podcast, to which he declined.

In view of his 62,800 followers, he tweeted: “Their publicity team asked if we would consider dropping the last segment and re-recording, if Webb and Mitchell agreed. This would be against NPR’s ethics code, so we said no.”

Shortly after posting his initial tweet, Robert said: “Accusing me of picking on children is dishonest and low. I was different, as was my wife. I was a ‘queer’, she was a ‘tomboy’. 

“It turned out we were non-gender-conforming children. Many kids like us turn out to be gay. Others don’t.

“A tiny minority have dysphoria. That’s a medical condition and those children deserve respect, love, support and counselling. But telling all kids like me & Abbie that we were born into the wrong body & therefore need a lifetime of medication… that’s just wrong.”

Express.co.uk has approached a representative for Mr Webb for further comment.

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