Fearing her material might take the focus off gay issues, the Human Rights Campaign has rescinded its invitation to edgy comedian Margaret Cho (search) to headline a gay and lesbian unity event scheduled to coincide with the Democratic National Convention.

"We didn't feel that after speaking with Margaret's publicist that her material was in that spirit, so we decided to make another plan," said spokesman Mark Shields.

The Human Rights Campaign (search) is one of 10 gay and lesbian organizations hosting Monday's Unity 2004 event in Boston.

Cho had been preparing to use material from her new State of Emergency tour as part of the unpaid benefit performance. The material is a no-holds-barred interpretation of current events. At a recent performance, her comments on the Iraq prison scandal (search) prompted her to be escorted from a show in San Diego.

"They got scared, obviously, for whatever reason," Cho spokesman Ken Phillips said of the Unity 2004 organizers. "They're aware of Margaret's material for years. So why did they hire her?"

Comedian Whoopi Goldberg (search) sparked a firestorm after she was criticized for using President Bush's surname to make a sexual remark at a Democratic fund-raiser. Slim-Fast fired her as spokeswoman.

"I am not surprised at the reversal in light of how the Kerry campaign distanced itself from Whoopi's routine in response to the unrelenting media hype and Republican criticism," said Cho's manager, Karen Taussig, in a statement posted Wednesday on Cho's Web site

Shields said removing Cho wasn't a commentary on her material and that she still has a standing invitation to other Human Rights Campaign events.

"This is about wanting to keep the focus on the unity of the gay community," he said.