Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Sheffield City Council recognises the hard work and commitment of Sheffield City Trust (SCT) trustees and their decision to balance freedom of speech with community concerns about Franklin Graham’s visit to the FlyDSA Arena on June 6.
However, as a democratically elected body Sheffield City Council has a wider remit to represent the views of people from all parts of the city and we have reached a decision about the event.
Under the legal agreement between the council and SCT, we interpret that to go ahead with this event would be a breach of the covenant in our legal agreement, therefore the council has written to SCT to say it reserves its right to take action, if the event proceeds.
On this basis, Sheffield City Trust has decided to cancel this event.
Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said:
“All my life I have worked hard to fight discrimination and have worked with communities, especially in my time as leader, to make sure we have an inclusive, tolerant and cohesive city that embraces diversity.
“Franklin Graham, who has demonstrated his intent on creating divisions with his discriminatory and repulsive views, could affect the long established values that we all hold so dear in Sheffield.
“Following continued dialogue with the Chair of the Trust, I am now pleased that the council, Sheffield City Trust and trustees have reached common ground. I want to thank them for their hard work and commitment throughout this decision.”
Sheffield City Trust chairman, David Grey, said:
“This has been an exceptionally challenging time for Sheffield City Trust as we aimed to balance freedom of speech whilst promoting equality and freedom from hatred and abuse. We made our decisions as independent trustees and in the best interests of the Trust.
“Throughout it all we have been steadfast that we do not endorse the views of Franklin Graham. The matters for consideration were the aspect of freedom of speech, any breach of the law or potential public order implications.
“We thank all the partners we have been liaising with on this matter and in particular Sheffield City Council for their support and professionalism.”
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