Image may contain: Face, Lecture, Thumbs Up, Finger, Clothing, Suit, Apparel, Overcoat, Coat, Speech, Audience, Crowd, Human, Person, Tie, Accessories, Accessory

Franklin Graham: Anti-LGBT preacher’s Sheffield talk cancelled

It sparked huge protests

An anti-LGBT preacher’s talk in Sheffield has been cancelled after outcry from campaigners.

Franklin Graham, who has called gay marriage a “sin”, was due to speak at the city’s FlyDSA Arena in June.

The US pastor’s talk sparked a wave of protests, with 150 people demonstrating outside Ponds Forge on Saturday to demand action from Sheffield International Venues, which owns the arena.

But now Sheffield City Council have confirmed the event has been called off following discussions with SIV managers Sheffield City Trust.

Council leader Julie Dore said: “All my life I have worked hard to fight discrimination and have worked with communities, especially in my time as leader, to make sure we have an inclusive, tolerant and cohesive city that embraces diversity.

“Franklin Graham, who has demonstrated his intent on creating divisions with his discriminatory and repulsive views, could affect the long-established values that we all hold so dear in Sheffield.”

SIV had previously defended inviting Mr Graham on the grounds of lawful free speech.

Image may contain: Road, Urban, City, Downtown, Town, Office Building, Building, Architecture, Convention Center

The FlyDSA Arena was set to host the hate preacher as part of his UK tour in June

The evangelical pastor, the eldest son of infamous preacher Billy Graham, once claimed the gay community are causing a “moral 9/11” and are “the enemy”.

A petition signed by more than 400 people calling for him to be banned last night posted an update hailing the announcement as a “victory”.

On Monday local councillor Ben Miskell demanded an “urgent meeting” with SIV chairman David Grey. In a tweet, since deleted, Mr Miskell announced the event was cancelled, citing a speech by a council officer at a Holocaust Memorial Day, but officials disputed this.

However, the council have now confirmed the event is not taking place.

Earlier this month 22 LGBT campaigners in Sheffield wrote to SIV urging them to reconsider, saying the event would “directly cause harm” to minority groups.

Sheffield Hallam University’s LGBT+ Staff Network tweeted in support of last weekend’s protest.

Mr Graham has been contacted for comment. He previously told The Tab Sheffield: “I’m not coming to Sheffield to preach against anyone—I’m coming to tell everyone about a God who loves them.”

Sheffield Against Hate said they were “glad” about the cancellation but urged other venues set to host Mr Graham’s “Christian revival tour”, including Newcastle, Cardiff, Birmingham and London’s O2, to follow suit.

On Sunday conference venue ACC Liverpool confirmed they too had cancelled Mr Graham’s scheduled appearance.