A mayor in Liverpool has stated that advertisements promoting an event by American preacher Franklin Graham are “hate speech” and should be removed from the city’s buses.
Steve Rotheram of Liverpool City Region was “furious” that a “known hate preacher” was being advertised on Stagecoach and Arriva buses.
Mr Graham, who has previously called homosexual marriage a “sin,” will perform in Liverpool on May 14 as part of a UK tour.
The organizers of the event and the transport companies have been contacted for comment.
Mr Rotheram has written to the bus companies, requesting that the advertisements be removed immediately.
He wrote that the area “would never give in to those who wish to separate us” in the letter.
“To say I’m unhappy that the ideas of a well-known hate preacher – who has a horrifying track record of homophobic and Islamophobic beliefs – are being promoted anywhere in our city region is an understatement,” he added.
It was “inexcusable” to advertise the preacher’s beliefs on buses used by individuals who “belong to the same groups that Mr Graham focuses his racism and venom on,” he said.
Mr. Graham, the eldest son of the late preacher Billy Graham, is known for his divisive opinions.
On the 14th of May, Mr. Graham will talk at the ACC Liverpool site.
In 2020, a prior event at the venue was canceled after the company that organizes it was “made aware of a number of remarks that we deem to be incompatible with our principles.”
Mr Graham’s tour organizers and the venue have been contacted by the media for a response to Mr Rotheram’s remarks.
It’s not the first time that bus advertisements promoting the preacher’s programs have gotten in the way.
Blackpool Borough Council and Blackpool Transport Services banned bus advertisements for an evangelical rally with Mr Graham in 2018.
A judge eventually determined that the restriction violated the Human Rights Act by disregarding “the right to freedom of speech.”