Roy 'Chubby' Brown protest outside Sheffield City Hall draws just 20 after 35,000 people sign petition

A protest of calling for axed comedian Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown to be allowed to play Sheffield City Hall next year drew around 20 people today.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 2:23 pm
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 2:24 pm

The modest but vocal rally met in the city centre today, Friday, September 10, wearing masks of the foul-mouthed comedian’s face and dressed in his signature checkered suit and goggles. They carried banners to the town hall and blared ‘we want Chubby’ on a megaphone.

It comes after Sheffield City Trust cancelled the opinion-splitting performer’s 2022 show, citing it did not ‘reflect [the trust’s] values’.

More than 35,000 people have since signed a petition calling for ‘Chubby’, real name Royston Vasey, to play the hall. Out of 2,737 tickets available for the show, 300 had been sold before the show was cancelled.

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Supporters of Roy "chuuby' Brown protest at the decision to ban him from performing at Sheffield City Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

The divisive humourist has performed multiple shows in Sheffield in the past. He is known for deriding political correctness and frequently using racist, homophobic and sexist slurs on stage.

At the protest, self-styled ‘Chubbette’ Dave Johnson, dressed in the comedian's suit, called into a megaphone: “He’s not a sexist or a racist! He’s a jokist! He makes people laugh!”

When a woman passing by laughed and called the comedian a ‘foul-mouthed misogynist’, the crowd booed and called her a ‘snowflake’.

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Haley Madden launched a petition calling for the comedian to play the hall, which has since reached 35,000 signatures. Picture Scott Merrylees

One protester said: “If you don't like it, don't come in.

"It’s behind closed doors. It says on every poster, ‘if easily offended, please stay away’.

Supporters of Roy "chuuby' Brown protest at the decision to ban him from performing at Sheffield City Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

"I’ve seen Chubby on 10 occasions. He’s a people’s person.

"I talked to him when he was last here about certain areas of Sheffield that I pass through, and he turned it into a joke.

"He turns the truth into a joke. I won’t say it here, but what’s been happening, what you see on the mainstream media, he’ll turn that into a joke.

"I want him back. They’re ruining his career.”

Supporters of Roy "chuuby' Brown protest at the decision to ban him from performing at Sheffield City Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

Announcing the decision on August 26, SCT’s chief executive Andrew Snelling said: “We don’t believe this show reflects Sheffield City Trust values, particularly our ambition that our leisure, culture and entertainment venues are inclusive for all in Sheffield."

Sheffield City Council backed the trust in a statement, while Gill Furniss MP said: “This is the right thing to do. There is no place for any hate-filled performance in our diverse and welcoming city.”

In contrast, Liberal Democrat councillor and leader of the opposition Shaffaq Mohammed said the decision ‘smacks of of the nanny state’. He stressed that he himself was not a fan of ‘Chubby’.

Resident Haley Madden, who launched the petition calling for the comedian to be reinstated and which currently sits at 35,000 signatures, also attended the protest.

When asked why someone might not enjoy Brown’s stylings, she said: "Some people haven't got a sense of humour.

“I like his humour. He's just an all-round funny guy.

Supporters of Roy "chuuby' Brown protest at the decision to ban him from performing at Sheffield City Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

"It should be what the public wants. It’s a public-funded venue, we put money into the place, it should therefore be our choice.

"The number of people who have supposedly objected to his show isn’t out there, and I doubt it’s close to 35,000."

The protest broke up after a member of staff inside the town hall closed a door further inside the lobby. On seeing this, ‘Chubbette’ Dave Johnson announced: “We have just one question, city council – Why?”