All Together Now faces backlash for programming controversial speakers

Organisers issued an apology stating that the speakers “do not align with the views of ATN Festival.”

CMAT protesting controversial speakers at All Together Now.
Image: Twitter: @kDamo

All Together Now Festival took place over the August bank holiday weekend, with a wide range of exciting performers and speakers, including queer acts, on the lineup. However, organisers have faced backlash for programming an event featuring Rachel Moran and Stella O’Malley who have been widely criticised for their controversial views.

The pair hosted a discussion entitled ‘Sex and Intimacy’ on the Saturday of the festival, with concerned parties condemning the event due to Moran’s “anti-Trans” and “anti-sex worker” opinions, and O’Malley’s history being a “conversion therapy advocate”. 

Among those to speak out against the talk was rising Irish star CMAT who played to a packed crowd at the Waterford festival, despite not feeling “comfortable” with the situation. Not only did she display a huge Trans flag on screen, but she also gave an emotional and powerful speech ahead of playing her hit song ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby’. 

The 26-year-old tearfully explained how Trans people had connected with the track and the importance that the community has to her. She emphasised the importance of spreading love and kindness, before unleashing into the song and giving the crowd a passionate and wonderful performance.

Irish queer rockstars and former GCN cover stars Pillow Queens also made their thoughts on the matter clear, similarly screening a Trans flag in solidarity with the community. 

Many other LGBTQ+ people similarly expressed their views, taking to social media to do so. Spoken word performer Roxanna Nic Liam tweeted: “Love finding out that before I perform at a queer spoken word event at All Together Now, there is a TERF doing a talk. FUCK TERFS FOREVER AND EVER!!”

Wendy Lyon wrote: “Solidarity with any trans people who purchased tickets for @ATNfestival and were expecting a nice weekend only to find out about the TERFs speaking at it”.

Following the backlash, All Together Now organisers issued an apology over social media saying that the speakers “do not align with the views of ATN Festival.”

“We wholeheartedly and unreservedly apologise to all our festival community, artists and supporters for any hurt or anguish caused. We support trans rights. It’s as simple as that,” the statement continued.

“Our hopes for this festival is that it is a safe, supportive and loving environment for everyone.”

Both Moran and O’Malley have also spoken out about the backlash on Twitter, defending their discussion and questioning the statement from All Together Now.

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