Peep Show Star Robert Webb Faces Backlash Following Interview About Past Criticism Of Transgender Charity Mermaids

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 15 Apr 2021 09:06
Robert Webb Faces Backlash Following Interview About Past Criticism Of Transgender Charity MermaidsChannel 4/PA

Peep Show star Robert Webb is facing a backlash in the wake of an interview in which he addressed his past criticisms of trans charity Mermaids.

In 2018, the actor shared an article by Janice Turner called ‘Trans ideologists are spreading cod science’.


Part of the controversial article read, ‘The NHS protocol for children is ‘watchful waiting’ but Mermaids pushes for the US ‘affirmation’ model in which any child who declares that they are trans must be treated as such without examining any possible underlying issues, such as frequently undiagnosed autism, depression or sexual abuse.’

PAPA Images

Webb then shared this article on social media writing alongside it:

This won’t make me popular in certain quarters but f*ck it – I’m with Janice and I don’t say it often enough. Also @boodleoops also @bindelj I’ve talked to some really nice trans people here & they have my solidarity if they want it. But Mermaids sucks.


He later deleted the post after the backlash he received.

Now Webb has been made to readdress the matter after being asked about it on the NPR podcast Bullseye alongside David Mitchell, in which he said Turner’s 2018 article ‘made sense to [him] at the time’. The podcast’s host, Jesse Thorn, has two non-gender-conforming children, one who identifies as trans.

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He said, as per the Independent, ‘I can’t even really remember what [Turner’s] specific objections were but they made sense to me at the time, and I retweeted it approvingly. There was this feeling that if you criticise a charity and the way it operates or its methodology, that is the same as criticising the client base. It’s like saying if I’ve got a problem with the way Oxfam is operating, it’s because I hate poor people in the third world.’


‘The whole debate is really overheated and it’s impossible to really talk about this or say anything even remotely reasonable without what I say being used as a vehicle for another round of defamation and abuse, so it’s not a topic I tend to dive into anymore, at all really,’ he concluded.

In the wake of his 2018 comments coming to light again, so has the criticism.

One person wrote on Twitter, ‘It’s hard to put in words how shaken and disappointed I was by Robert Webb’s attack on trans youth support groups and sharing of malicious information against Mermaids.’


Another person said, ‘As I recall, Robert Webb’s considered opinion was expressed as “Mermaids sucks” – isn’t it truly a wonder that people didn’t want to engage respectfully with a man who displayed such clear and real understanding of the work of a charity representing children & families?’

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Celebrity, LGBTQ+, trans


  1. Independent

    Robert Webb discusses past criticism of transgender charity Mermaids