Julie Burchill : Transsexual Hate Speech

by duncanr

julie birchellWe have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers’ Editor will report on these issues at greater length. (Statement from John Mulholland, editor of The Observer)

Why did the editor of the Observor feel it necessary to take this action?

because a . . . storm of protest has erupted over a piece by Julie Birchill attacking tanssexuals

a bunch of dicks in chicks’ clothing”, “screaming mimis” and “bed-wetters in bad wigs” give a flavour of her article

Presumably she had editorial approval for this article in the first place. The editor knew it was likely to give offence to a great many people and provoke a strong reaction yet chose to run with it. Now he is backing down, claiming a mistake was made.


There is Free Speech and there is hate Speech

The editor knew this was an incendiary piece of writing and took the decision that free speech triumphed over hate speech in agreeing to its publication.

Now that the shit has hat the fan he has abandoned his support of free speech. One can question his wisdom in approving Birchells’s piece without suggesting she remove some of her derogatory prose but having O.K.’d publication to then pull the article once the shit hits the fan looks like the action of a weak-willed man lacking the strength of his convictions. Some might well question then whether John Mulholland might be better suited in another job?

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