F*ck Politeness

David Tennant won’t be apologizing anytime soon

Over the past week, Doctor Who star David Tennant has become the obsession of conservative politicians who, by all reports, are on their way out in the coming election. After Tennant suggested that a right wing politician “shut up” about the trans community, she is now demanding an apology.

On June 21, Tennant was accepting the Celebrity Ally award from the British LGBT Awards when he called out Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities. “Until we wake up and Kemi Badenoch doesn’t exist anymore,” he said and paused during the crowd’s cheers before adding, “I don’t wish ill of her, I just wish her to shut up.”

Badenoch has referred to trans women as “transexuals” and “men” in a leaked recording. In her role as Minister of State for Equalities, she blocked trans inclusive policies in government. When announcing plans to ban conversion therapy, she characterized gender affirming care as “a new form of conversion therapy.”

Badenoch has been criticized so badly in her role as the government’s safeguard for queer rights that three advisors from her LGBTQ+ advisory panel resigned, citing “worsening hostility towards our community.”

Following Tennant’s speech, Badenoch referred to Tennant as “a rich, lefty, white male celebrity” and accused him of “attacking the only Black woman in government.” Badenoch has previously disavowed identity politics.

Speaking on GBNews, Badenoch demanded an apology from Tennant, claiming most of the country was on her side. “I think he should,” she said. “I think he is probably regretting making those remarks given the uproar across the country. It has had a lot of cut-through. It shows the scale of the problem we have.”

Badenoch then explained that she invoked race to show the other side “are hypocrites,” suggesting that—according to her understanding of “identity politics”—individuals of a protected identity are free from all criticism, especially when they’re wielding major power in government. “By their own rules, they criticize other people for going after black women, but when it’s them, the rules suddenly change,” she said. “That is what I was highlighting.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with skin color. I don’t judge skin color, but they do, except when they don’t want it to matter, like they do in that instance.”

In another moment, Badenoch went after Labour candidate Dawn Butler. “What is even more extraordinary is a Labour MP, Dawn Butler, agreed with him,” she said. “I keep telling people that all these Labour MPs with really bad politics will come in. Keir Starmer has refused to condemn her.”

In the aftermath of Tennant’s comments, Butler tweeted, “Not all Black women think the same. I agree with David Tennant.” She further defended Tennant in an opinion piece written for Metro. “What I have noticed is that whenever I talk about race issues and Kemi Badenoch disagrees with me, she is elevated to this higher voice about race by those on the right, simply because she is a Black woman talking against race and talking about how race is no factor,” she wrote.

“But when it suits her – such as during an election – Kemi does want to talk about race, and everyone is expected to bow down and condemn people like David Tennant for disagreeing with a Black woman.”

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