"Comedian Rowan Atkinson has criticised hate speech legislation, saying that the House of Lords must vote against a government attempt to remove a free speech clause in a homophobic hatred offence.
The Blackadder actor, addressing a meeting of Lords on Tuesday, warned of creating a culture of "censoriousness" by removing free speech." - Pink News UK
I used to be, right up until this moment, a fan of Atkinson, be it for Mr Bean, Black Adder or Keeping Mum - but that is IT.
How is discrimination against sexual orientation in the form of HATE speech in any way different from racism? Is sexual orientation and gender identity not also an inborn trait like race? Hate is hate and I think Mr Atkinson has lost sight of that small detail.
People do not expect comedians to stop making good natured jokes involving GLBT - I enjoy a few, and even retell them myself. If we lose the ability to see the funny side of life then something is wrong somewhere - however, there is nothing funny about causing hurt to other people. Mr Atkinson is losing sight of the difference between good natured humor and actual HATE speech - which is what these new laws are all about.
Hate speech hurts people. If not their feelings, it injures their dignity and their pride and reduces their sense of self-worth. It also incites like-minded people to hate them and has been linked to hate crimes.
And yes, freedom of speech does not come free if it costs those at the receiving end - and what have GLBT people ever done to Mr Atkinson? For what reason does he choose to side with human rights abusers on this issue? Is this a joke? Are we not also fans?
I used to be, up until today.
How can I ever enjoy any of his work again, knowing that he has, unprovoked, taken a stand against people like me and decided to throw in his lot with bigots and fascists who protect their own rights, but not the rights of others whom they choose to look down on.
My dvd collection of his series is going out in the next garage sale. I may even consider the waste disposal. Regardless, I will never support him again and I hope no-one else does either.