Amanda Holden has been criticised following her tribute to Paul O’Grady.

The comedian, known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage and recently for presenting ITV’s For The Love Of Dogs, died on Tuesday (March 28) at the age of 67.

After his death was announced, Holden and Jamie Theakston reacted to the news during their Heart Radio show on Wednesday (March 29).

“I have to say I’m completely shocked,” Holden said. “Do you know what I loved about him? He was not woke in any way. He really had massive opinions on everything, which I love people like that.

“Really, really funny. Very witty. Everything that came out of his mouth was brilliant. I just… Oh my God, we’re all gonna miss him so much.”

Many listeners were critical of Holden’s use of the term “woke”, arguing that it misrepresents what the word actually means.

Paul O'Grady
Paul O’Grady pictured in 2022. CREDIT: Stuart C. Wilson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

In the Collins dictionary, being woke is described as someone who is “very aware of social and political unfairness”. The word originates from African American culture as a term to refer to someone who is aware of racial prejudices.

In recent years, the word’s meaning has been distorted by the political right as an insult against progressive principles.

Addressing Holden’s use of the term about O’Grady, one Twitter user wrote: “That would be the drag artist, AIDS campaigner, LGBTQ+ hero and anti austerity critic Paul O’Grady. FFS.”

“‘O’Grady was very woke indeed, and a perfect example of how you can be PC and say what the hell you want. He knew what free speech was, and used it,” another added.

You can check out more reactions below.

O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio said that he died “unexpectedly but peacefully” in a statement: “[Paul] will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.”

Others who have paid tribute to the comedian include Elton John, Suzy Eddie Izzard, John Barrowman and Lorraine Kelly.

The post Amanda Holden criticised after saying Paul O’Grady was “not woke” in tribute appeared first on NME.


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