Police speak to Norwich-based Father Ted co-creator after Twitter ‘transphobia’ row

PUBLISHED: 14:07 07 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 07 October 2018

Graham Linehan. Photo: Wikipedia/Schreibvieh/Graham Linehan

Graham Linehan. Photo: Wikipedia/Schreibvieh/Graham Linehan

Wikipedia/Schreibvieh/Graham Linehan

Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan was given a verbal harassment warning after being reported by a transgender activist over social media comments.

Undated handout photo issued by Stephanie Hayden of herself. Photo: Stephanie Hayden /PA WireUndated handout photo issued by Stephanie Hayden of herself. Photo: Stephanie Hayden /PA Wire

West Yorkshire Police spoke to the writer, who lives in Norwich, and told him to cease contacting Stephanie Hayden, who he has rowed with on Twitter.

Ms Hayden reported him for “transphobia” after he referred to her as “he” and for “deadnaming” her by referring to her by names used before she transitioned.

Ms Hayden first reported Mr Linehan to Norfolk Constabulary last month after he shared a post with his 672,000 followers which referred to her former names, examples of her online conduct, and financial history.

On Saturday, Mr Linehan told the Press Association: “The police asked me to stop contacting someone I had no intention of contacting.

“It was a bit like asking me to never contact Charlie Sheen.”

Last month he told The Times Ms Hayden was a “dangerous troll” and said he had shared the post because he believed “it’s important to shine a light on people like that because they are harming women and transwomen”.

Ms Hayden, a 45-year-old from Leeds, is also suing the 50-year-old Irish writer, known for being behind Black Books and The IT Crowd, in the High Court.

Mr Linehan has tweeted calling her “Stephanie/Tony/Steven”, references to her former names.

As included in her lawsuit, Mr Linehan also wrote: “I don’t respect the pronouns of misogynists, stalkers or harassers, and Tony is all three.”

Mr Linehan also accused Ms Hayden of doxxing his wife, which is publishing private or identifying information online.

He said she published details of his wife’s company in retaliation to his post and to “shut him up”.

The claims are refuted by Ms Hayden and said she could not be a troll as she tweets under her own name and is accountable for her actions.

Ms Hayden said: “I don’t take kindly to a public figure tweeting about me referring to me as a man and putting my legal name in quotation marks to suggest it’s not valid.”

Police can issue harassment warnings to deter individuals from further behaviour. They are not convictions or cautions, but do appear on enhanced criminal records checks.

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