Brendan O’Neill Brendan O’Neill

Róisín Murphy and the limits of the new authoritarianism

(Photo: Getty)

Has cancel culture finally met its match? Have the new blacklisters who hasten to erase anyone who gives voice to a view that displeases them finally had their comeuppance? The roaring success of Róisín Murphy’s new album, Hit Parade, suggests it’s possible. The digital inquisitors tried to silence the queen of new disco over her sinful utterances on puberty blockers, and yet she’s soaring up the charts. Meet Róisín the Uncancellable.

It is wonderful to see elitist intolerance of wrongthink crash against the shores of decency and liberty

All sorts of mud and insults were hurled at Murphy when it was revealed she is sceptical of puberty blockers. Pumping gender-confused kids full of hormone suppressants is… absolutely desolate’, she said on her private Facebook page.

Millions will nod in agreement with her fruitily expressed, eminently sensible comments. Not the trans lobby, though, or its legion allies among the bourgeois left. In their eyes, it is blasphemy to question the synthetic prevention of puberty in bewildered youths, and anyone who does so must be sent packing from polite society. Murphy was given her marching orders.

Her metaphorical tarring and feathering was as swift as it was brutal. Virtual mobs declared her finished. They swore not to buy her album. They damned her as a phobe, a bigot, a traitor to her LGBTQ fanbase. Her record company reportedly called off all promotions for Hit Parade. Some of her public appearances were cancelled.

Then there were the reviews. They gushed over her album – it really is as good as everyone says – while shaming its maker as a possessor of wicked beliefs. This record comes with an ‘ugly stain’, said the Guardian, sounding for all the world like a neo-religious crackpot. One reviewer branded Murphy ‘cowardly’ and ‘disappointing’ and suggested she ‘unlearn [her] ignorance’.

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