'The wrong sort of feminist' | Comedian's show cancelled over student protests

'The wrong sort of feminist'

Comedian's show cancelled over student protests

Students have forced stand-up Kate Smurthwaite to cancel a gig tonight – because she’s the wrong sort of feminist.

Campaigners had planned to protest her performance because they disagreed with her views on decriminalising prostitution - even though her show had nothing to do with the issue.

Ironically, it was about free speech.

The issue arose from some students who disagreed with Smurthwaite’s support for the Nordic Model on prostitution, which decriminalises those who sell sex and criminalises the purchase of sex. The students, who belong to the college’s Feminist Society, support legalisation of the sex industry.

Because of this difference of opinion they threatened to picket the event – causing security to pull the plug because they ‘could not guarantee the safety of students’.

Goldsmiths Feminist Society held a vote on whether they should support Smurthwaite’s appearance. Although 70 per cent voted in favour of the show going ahead, the losing minority reportedly announced they were going to form a picket line anyway, prompting security fears.

Smurthwaite said: ‘The strangest thing is that my show is not about prostitution. I don’t even mention it. In a massively ironic coincidence my show is about free speech, it’s power and uses and abuses. It is also about Saudi prisoner of conscience Raif Badawi who is now being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.’

She added: ’I find it very strange that anyone would feel they couldn’t enjoy a comedy show unless they agreed with 100 per cent of the political views of the person performing’ – questioning whether previous performers had been grilled on their views about the likes fox hunting or all-female shortlists.

In a tweet, Goldsmiths Feminist Society said they had not denied Smurthwaite a platform to speak ‘and had nothing to do with the decision to cancel the show’. Goldsmiths Students’ Union said it was the comedy society’s decision to cancel the show.

The organiser of the Goldsmiths Comedy Society has not responded to Chortle’s request for comment, but a statement released online said: ‘Despite many complaints from students about the content of Kate’s act in the past we were planning to go ahead with the gig until Kate told me 24 hours before that there was likely to be a picket with lots of students and non students outside the venue. I couldn’t verify this. Up to this point we had only sold eight tickets so I decided to pull the plug.’

Tickets had been on sale for the show, entitled Leftie Cock Womble, for several weeks but the cancellation was only announced last night. And it had been advertised as free for members o the feminist society.

Published: 2 Feb 2015

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