Innocent fruit juice in display in a sandwich shop in London 24 July 2002. (Photo credit NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)
Artillery Row

Why has a smoothie brand publicly cancelled a pensioner?

Innocent Drinks has outed itself as latest brand to join the ranks of the virtue-signalling mob

Innocent Drinks have publicly cancelled a woman in her seventies because her views on women’s sex-based rights do not align with that of their preferred clientele.

On Tuesday morning the brand released this statement on Twitter to show that they “stand against discrimination”:

We’re working hard to make innocent as inclusive as possible. Over the years we’ve followed a lot of people on here, and from time to time we’ve unfollowed some too. The other day we unfollowed a Twitter account because content on their feed about trans people wasn’t in line with our values of inclusivity and respect. This made some people on Twitter quite cross.

We’ve still got work to do, but we believe that everyone should be protected from discrimination. We will continue to make sure that our social media channels remain fair and inclusive. It’s on all of us to make sure everyone can live happy, free lives and we will keep working towards a world where that’s a reality.

Not only is this statement infantilising, but it proves that Innocent’s definition of inclusivity is rather narrow. When they say that they believe “everyone should be protected from discrimination”, this clearly applies to everyone who isn’t a “cis-woman” exercising her legal freedom of speech. The ongoing witch-hunt and public outing of those who simply disagree with an ideology is far from “inclusive”.

Any sensible person knows that following someone on social media is hardly an endorsement of their views

This particular fall-out began when a random Twitter user pointed out to Innocent that they followed a “transphobic” Twitter account (the account belonged to Margaret Nelson, a woman who tweets about a wide range of topics from farm labouring to feminism). Innocent quickly rectified the matter by unfollowing Nelson on Twitter. You’d think that would have been the end of the matter, but no. The brand had to take it one step further and release a public statement, drawing as much attention to the non-issue as possible. As Debbie Hayton correctly summarised in her article on the subject for The Spectator: “This, it seems, is how the internet works. A false accusation of ‘transphobia’ is made. And a person – an ordinary pensioner, in this case – is condemned.”

The last time I checked, sex was still a protected characteristic under UK discrimination law. And yet women who fight for their sex-based rights have little protection from being openly ostracised on social media for holding and expressing views which fall outside of what is deemed acceptable.

As far as I’m aware, the woman in question was not a brand ambassador for Innocent Drinks, nor has she been affiliated with them in any professional sense. So why was there such a panic about the brand following her on a social media site, particularly when said brand follows over 30,000 others? Any sensible person understands that simply following someone on a social media platform is hardly an endorsement of their views.

As Josephine Bartosch recently pointed out, it is increasingly disconcerting that 0.3 per cent of the population (those who identify as trans) have an almost unlimited influence to change the law and restrict people’s freedom of speech.

I feel incredibly sorry for Innocent having to kowtow to this ridiculous groupthink. But I feel far sorrier for myself for having to read such a pathetic cutesy statement in the first place and have my attention drawn to yet more virtue-signalling nonsense.

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