Calls to cancel Roy Chubby Brown show at Wolverhampton venue

Calls have been made to cancel a Bilston show by controversial comic Roy Chubby Brown, which falls in the middle of Black History Month.

Roy Chubby Brown's booking at Bilston Town Hall has angered some
Roy Chubby Brown's booking at Bilston Town Hall has angered some

Councillor Celia Hibbert said she has been contacted by “appalled” members of the public over the comedian’s show at the Wolverhampton Council run Bilston Town Hall on Thursday.

Wolverhampton Council said it would review its future booking policies and procedures to ensure it reflects its values of being fair and inclusive.

Roy Chubby Brown – real name Royston Vasey – has sparked opposition to shows on his current tour and saw his Sheffield City Hall gig in September cancelled amid concerns over racist, sexist and homophobic material.

But the ban and protests were branded “ludicrous, unfair and disgraceful” by his tour manager Ritchie Hoyle, who added he had “never met a more generous, caring, selfless person in my life”.

On the Bilston Town Hall website, the advertisement for his £28.15-ticket show warns people to stay away if they are easily offended.

It says: “Roy Chubby Brown is back and he’s as naughty as ever. His choice of language and his politically incorrect jokes are all delivered with a cheeky grin and perfect comedy timing.

“Chubby Brown is a master of his craft and guarantees a regular supply of new jokes every time you see him.

“So if you’re not easily offended and want a good old fashioned laugh, book your tickets early to avoid disappointment. If easily offended, please stay away!”

But Councillor Hibbert said: “I have been contacted by several members of the public who are appalled that this event is allowed to go ahead in our City of Wolverhampton.

“The information I also have is that the majority of the people attending are from other regions where Chubby’s events have been cancelled.

“Personally I feel this event needs to be cancelled because of the potential for public disorder.

Councillor Celia Hibbert says the comedian's appearance should be cancelled

“Giving the current climate that we are in, we definitely do not need more hate propaganda; be it on women, LGBT community, race; which is generally the kind of slurs in the material Chubby Brown is well known for during his stage performances.

“Wolverhampton has over 40 per cent of ethnic minority population and the public sensitivity is high given that this is also Black History Month.”

She also said she had raised her concerns with the head of equality, diversity and inclusion at the authority.

Councillor Hibbert said she was telling the community to remain calm about the show but added she had talked to the neighbourhood safety coordinator asking him to relay concerns to police and ensure measures are in place.

A council spokesperson said: “Roy Chubby Brown has a long history of performing in Wolverhampton and earlier this year was booked to perform at Bilston Town Hall.

“The council understands the concerns raised and recognises that the comedian’s act polarises opinion, with many people finding it offensive.

“At all times, we strive to be a fair and inclusive council which reflects the diversity of the city we serve.

“As a result of concerns raised, we are urgently reviewing our booking policies and procedures for council venues to make sure they are true to our values, now and in the future.

“We are proud that Wolverhampton is one of the most diverse places in the UK and the council remains committed to promoting equality for all and celebrating the diversity of our communities as we are during Black History Month.”

In the statement posted on Roy Chubby Brown’s official Facebook page last month, Mr Hoyle said accusations of racism, homophobia and sexism were “incredibly hurtful and insulting”, adding the character is just an act not intended to offend.

He also pointed out to the veteran comedian’s history of charity work and fundraising.

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