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Amanda Holden’s ‘woke’ comments about Paul O’Grady seriously divides opinion

Claire Reid

Published 
| Last updated 

Amanda Holden’s ‘woke’ comments about Paul O’Grady seriously divides opinion

Amanda Holden has come in for criticism after comments she made about TV personality Paul O’Grady following his ‘unexpected’ passing this week.

The well-loved comedian and TV star, who was perhaps best known for his drag alter ego Lily Savage, died on Tuesday (28 March) aged 67.

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Announcing the sad news, his devastated husband Andre Portasio said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.

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"He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.

"I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years."

His death was met with an outpouring of tributes from fans as well as his celebrity pals and those who had worked with him over the years.

Among them was Holden, who paid tribute to O’Grady during her Heart Breakfast radio show, where she praised him for being 'really, really funny' - but one comment she made ruffled a few feathers on social media.

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Paul O'Grady was an advocate for human and animal rights. Credit: Instagram/@paulogrady
Paul O'Grady was an advocate for human and animal rights. Credit: Instagram/@paulogrady

Speaking to her co-presenter Jamie Theakston, Holden said: "You know what I loved about [him], 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."

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However, Holden branding O’Grady as ‘not woke’ didn’t sit well with some fans who accused the radio host of not understanding what the word means.

Collins Dictionary defines ‘woke’ as: "Someone who is woke is very aware of social and political unfairness.”

Holden was criticised for saying O’Grady wasn’t ‘woke’. Credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo
Holden was criticised for saying O’Grady wasn’t ‘woke’. Credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

Taking to Twitter, one fan said: "What an awful tribute. 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."

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Another wrote: "I can’t work out whether she doesn’t know what woke means, or simply doesn’t know who Paul O’Grady is."

Someone else commented: "Amanda Holden on Paul O'Grady: ‘He didn't have a woke bone in his body.’ That would be the drag artist, AIDS campaigner, LGBTQ+ hero and anti austerity critic Paul O'Grady. FFS.”

Paul O'Grady died at the age of 67. Credit: Instagram/@paulogrady
Paul O'Grady died at the age of 67. Credit: Instagram/@paulogrady

A fourth person wrote: “Amanda Holden: ‘He was not woke.’ Paul O'Grady? As in Paul O'Grady champion for equality, particularly speaking out on behalf of the working class, LGBTQ+ (etc.), that guy, not woke?”

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During his lengthy career, O’Grady advocated for the LGBTQ+ community, of which he was a part of, and also showed his support for care workers.

As well as human causes, O’Grady was a staunch supporter of animal rights and worked closely with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, where he was an ambassador.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@paulogrady/@noholdenback

Topics: Amanda Holden, Celebrity, Paul O'Grady

Claire Reid
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