Writer Gareth Roberts has been dropped from a Doctor Who project after tweets he wrote featuring “offensive language about the transgender community” emerged.
Roberts – who has written Doctor Who episodes including Closing Time, The Caretaker and Planet of the Dead, alongside a series of Who books – had been commissioned to writer part of a new anthology of stories based on the TV show.
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The writer announced the news himself on Medium, saying he had completed and submitted his story before an “agitated” fandom and other contributors to the book had called for his removal.
“BBC Books immediately folded to these demands, and I was informed that although I would be paid, my story would not be published, as they judged – wrongly, in my opinion – that a potential boycott would make the book ‘economically unviable’,” wrote Roberts.
Roberts claimed the protests were due to two tweets he made about the transgender community, posts he described as “cheerful vulgarity”.
In 2017, he wrote: “I love how trannies choose names like Munroe, Paris and Chelsea. It’s never Julie or Bev is it?” adding, “It’s almost like a clueless gayboy’s idea of a glamorous lady. But of course it’s definitely not that.”
A spokesperson told RadioTimes.com: “Ebury Publishing will no longer feature Gareth Roberts’ work in the soon to be published Doctor Who: The Target Storybook.
“Comments made by the author on social media using offensive language about the transgender community have caused upset to Doctor Who fans and conflict with our values as a publisher.”
While some writers, such as Julie Bindel came forward to defend Roberts, others have supported his dropping. Writing on Twitter, author Susie Day said she was a contributor towards the anthology who questioned Roberts’ involvement.
“I raised my concerns, and said if he was in, I was out,” she wrote. “BBC Books made their decision. I’m grateful they took the opportunity to demonstrate that transphobic views have no place in the Whoniverse, both in and outside the stories.”
When I signed up to the project, I only knew of him as a DW TV writer. When the contributor list leaked, I learned his inclusion was incredibly hurtful to trans fans, and why. Being involved felt like a tacit endorsement of his views. Big nope.
— Susie Day? (@mssusieday) June 4, 2019
Doctor Who: The Target Storybook is expected to be released in October, featuring stories from Jenny T Colgan, Susie Day, Terrance Dicks and Matthew Sweet.