Ebury imprint BBC Books has dropped author Gareth Roberts from its forthcoming Doctor Who short story collection following comments he made about transgender people on Twitter.
Roberts, who has written several episodes of the show and previous books, had been commissioned to write a story for Doctor Who: The Target Storybook. But he revealed in a blogpost that, once his involvement was made public, fans of the show “agitated for my removal” while other contributors threatened to withdraw.
He wrote: “BBC Books immediately folded to these demands, and I was informed that although I would be paid my story would not be published, as they judged – wrongly, in my opinion – that a potential boycott would make the book ‘economically unviable’.”
Roberts said the opposition centered around two tweets he wrote in September 2017, saying: “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.”
Commenting on the tweets, Roberts said: “These tweets in September 2017 were cheerful vulgarity. Like every other reasonable person I deplore and condemn any violence, intimidation or discrimination against any person for their beliefs or for how they present themselves, or indeed any other reason.”
Ebury confirmed his contribution had been axed from the title, which is due to be published in October.
A spokesman said: “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.”
One of those who spoke out against his inclusion was fellow contributor Susie Day, who tweeted she had told the publisher “if he was in, I was out”.
She tweeted: “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.”