Artillery Row

Why is Eventbrite obstructing my book launch?

Financial censorship rears its head again

I suppose I should be grateful that these “interesting times” in which we now live allow me almost daily opportunities to “perform my values”. I woke up again this morning to find myself cancelled for promoting “hate, danger and violence” — or, to be more specific, my proposed book launch on 2 December was removed from the EventBrite ticketing site for violating its Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. 

The 85 people who bought tickets have been smeared

The event had already sold out so on one level I haven’t lost anything much. On another level this is an extremely serious and continued assault on free expression and the rule of law, which demands respect for the protected “gender critical belief”. 

The book is called Transpositions — personal journeys into gender criticism. Together with my co-editor Al Peters, we asked people for their narrative account of how it was that they came to be involved in the “gender wars”. What made them stand up and be counted? We invited stories from men and women, but overwhelmingly it was women who responded — many talking about their increasingly horrified reactions to the events that have unfolded over the last few years. 

As I comment in the introduction, we thought this would be a valuable historical artefact. 

The power and reach of the printed word has been recognised for centuries — from Gutenberg’s printing press in the 1400s, to the attempted murder of Salman Rushdie in 2022 because of the words in wrote in 1988. We are very grateful to those who wanted to share their stories and we hope that in this book you will find much to interest, inspire, enrage and sadden you.

Our aim was to gather the responses of women and men in their own words, to find out what it was that woke them up, or made them more determined to object, and create a physical artefact to celebrate our “origin stories”. So much — good and bad — has been achieved online, but so much of that is ephemeral. Sometimes, what you need is to feel a book in your hands and hold the weight of the words.

There is, of course, nothing remotely “hateful”, “violent” or “dangerous” in this book. But I, all the contributors and the 85 people who bought tickets have been smeared as exactly that. There is no excuse for this. It has been clear beyond doubt since the decision of the EAT in Forstater in June 2021 that the holding and the manifestation of gender critical views are protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Anarchy might be a fun hobby for pink-haired teenagers

Only yesterday we had the benefit of yet another ruling against a decision to unlawfully breach a contract on discriminatory grounds. The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) was found to have discriminated against the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) by cancelling its event. Damages were an eye watering £97K, and the costs are likely to be much higher still. 

There is a word for those who show contempt for the rule of law or see themselves as above or beyond it. They are anarchists. Whilst anarchy might be a fun hobby for pink and blue haired teenagers who have never known a day of hunger in their lives, whose parents pay all the bills, it is rather more surprising to see companies like EventBrite, who rely on capitalism to secure their profits, so keen to throw away the rule of law and the functioning society that it protects. 

I have given EventBrite fourteen days to reflect, reconsider and apologise. Otherwise, I am crowdfunding to take them to court. I am told I have a probable cause of action in both breach of contract and breach of the Equality Act. I will do this because the consequences of such decisions go far beyond one small event or my hurt feelings. Contemptuous breach of the rule of the law is a direct threat to a functioning democracy and denial of material reality that should be a matter of concern to us all.

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