Amanda Holden sparks outrage over Paul O’Grady comments
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Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden is facing backlash over comments she made about television presenter Paul O'Grady in the wake of his sudden death.
O'Grady passed away 'unexpectedly but peacefully' on Tuesday (28 March) at the age of 67, following a career which spanned more than 30 years.
Social media has been flooded with tributes for the presenter as well as his famous drag alter ego, Lily Savage, who helped propel him into the spotlight, and Holden was among those commenting on his death during her Heart Breakfast radio show.
The BGT judge said she 'adored' O'Grady and said he had 'so much energy', but many listeners took issue with one particular claim she made during the show.
Speaking to her co-host Jamie Theakston, Holden said: "You know what I loved about [O'Grady], he was not woke in any way." Theakston agreed, saying: "Nope, that’s for sure."
Holden then continued: "He had massive opinions on everything, which I love people like that. Really, really funny. Very witty, bitingly sharp. Everything that came out of his mouth was brilliant, and I absolutely adored him."
The belief that O'Grady was 'not woke' comes in contrast to the opinions many other fans had of him, and people were quick to make that clear as they criticised Holden's point of view.
Many Twitter users have questioned whether Holden really knew what 'woke' meant when she made the comment, with some even wondering if she was talking about the right person when she expressed her beliefs.
"What an awful tribute," one listener said. "Does Amanda Holden have any clue what the word 'woke' means. [O'Grady] was a socialist and a drag queen who fought for LGBTQ rights and against austerity. Ask Amanda what woke means."
Another tweet read: "I can’t work out whether she doesn’t know what woke means, or simply doesn’t know who Paul O’Grady is."
Throughout his life, O'Grady advocated for the LGBTQ+ community as well as helped to raise awareness for animals in need. He was outspoken about the neglect of care workers, and before rising to fame worked with children as a social worker.
TV presenter Carol Vorderman honoured all of O'Grady's achievements in a tribute of her own, in which she said: "He just fizzed, he was one of those people that just made you feel every part of you was alive.
"He exploded through the daft, made-up rules of society. He was a massive talent, but you can't forget he was a social worker when he was younger, he saved babies and young children from abuse, he lived in Soho before it was gentrified, he never judged the vulnerable, the weak, the misunderstood."
Holden hasn't commented on the backlash she's received over her comments, though she did also pay tribute to O'Grady with a photo of the two of them shared to her Instagram page, where she said she 'loved' the presenter.
Tyla has reached out to a representative for Holden for comment.