Louise Redknapp accused of 'throwing Eternal bandmates under bus' in LGBTQ row

Louise Redknapp has been accused of throwing her Eternal bandmates "under the bus" following a row over performing at LGBTQ festivals and Pride events.

The band had been due to reunite next year but Redknapp pulled out of the reunion after claims Easther and Vernie Bennett had refused to play certain dates over objections to trans issues.

The fourth member of the original band, Kelle Bryan, also appeared to distance herself from the reunion, writing on Instagram: "My stance and allegiances have always been that I am an advocate for inclusion and equality for all."

Now Denis Ingoldsby, Eternal's original manager, has stepped in to defend the Bennett sisters, saying their views have been "misrepresented".

Ingoldsby, who manages Vernie and Easther Bennett, told Sky News: "Louise and her team have thrown them under the bus and everyone is totally appalled at their bullying behaviour by totally misrepresenting the situation to suit their own agenda.

"The girls sent an email to Louise's camp saying they loved playing Pride, and they loved the ethos of the event.

"For her camp to go on the record suggesting they are homophobic is utterly outrageous. This is nothing about gay rights."

Ingoldsby added: "The girls have played numerous LGBTQI venues their entire careers and have been inspired by the love and acceptance they have received.

"This is about the debate about the trans lobby and the erosion of the rights of women and children. Vernie said she had some concerns about the Pride movement being hijacked - and she is not alone - but this has now been weaponised against her, with Louise's team trying to get her cancelled.

"The fact that the public statements by Louise's team conveniently failed to acknowledge these concerns... once again shows how women are being excluded from the conversation."

Redknapp's publicist responds to criticism

Ingoldsby said the sisters had been "devastated" by the row, adding: "It's about the music, nothing negative, it's about entertaining people and nothing else."

The manager said both Easther and Vernie are still planning to perform future shows as Eternal, describing Easther as "our Beyonce".

Responding to the accusations, Redknapp's publicist Simon Jones told Sky News: "Denis Ingoldsby was not involved in the discussions about all four members of Eternal reuniting over the last two years.

"The fact remains that an email was sent saying that Vernie and Easther would only do the Eternal reunion if no Pride or LGBTQ+ festivals were included in the plan.

"Louise would obviously not agree to excluding the LGBTQ+ community from the band's touring plans, and as such notified the duo that she would not be taking part."

Read more:
Mini heatwave predicted in October
Train full of passengers forced to take 180-mile taxis

Jones previously told Sky News: "Louise is a huge supporter and ally of the LGBTQ+ community and both herself and Kelle told the duo they would not work with anyone who held these views, and as such the reunion as a four would not be going ahead.

"The team behind the proposed Eternal reunion are gay - including management, PR and tour promoter - and neither myself nor any of the team would work with artists who held such views about the trans community."

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts

At the weekend, Redknapp posted a picture of the Progress Pride flag to her social media feeds, captioned "Always & Forever" - the title of Eternal's first album.

The 1990s girl band - whose hits include Stay, Always & Forever and I Wanna Be The Only One - formed in 1992, and were the UK's answer to hit American girl band En Vogue.

Their debut album Always & Forever was the first album by a girl group to sell more than a million copies in the UK, and they went on to have 14 top 15 UK hits and four top 10 albums.

Redknapp left the group in 1995 to pursue a solo career. Bryan left Eternal three years later, briefly reuniting with the Bennett sisters in 2013 and performing a concert as a trio at London's Hammersmith Apollo in early 2014.

If the 2024 reunion tour had taken place, it would have been the first time the original four Eternal bandmates had performed together in 28 years.