The parent company of Routledge, Taylor and Francis, has issued a public apology to Peter Tatchell over a factually incorrect article that had previously been published in its journal, Contemporary Politics.
The 2009 essay, written by Scott Long, the former Human Rights Watch (HRW) LGBT programme director, falsely accused Mr Tatchell and the campaign group OutRage! of belittling violent sexual assault and of blaming a teenage victim.
Mr Long’s article “Unbearable witness: how western activists (mis)recognise sexuality in Iran“ also accused Mr Tatchell of “going after” British Muslims and adopting a “bullying tone” towards the Muslim community – claims, which the human rights campaigner has always denied.
Mr Long apologised to Mr Tatchell in 2010 for similar slurs and untrue claims and subsequently left his position with HRW. He wrote:
“I respect Peter Tatchell’s contribution to human rights and apologise for any condemnatory and intemperate allegations made in haste and for any inaccurate statements.”
HRW also denounced the actions of Mr Long and said it was a personal attack on the human rights campaigner.
On Tuesday, Mr Tatchell revealed he had received a full apology from Roger Horton, the CEO of Routledge’s parent company, Taylor and Francis.
Mr Horton acknowledged “substantial inaccuracies” had appeared in Mr Long’s essay.
Mr Tatchell said: “The Routledge apology concerns factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations, not mere criticisms or differences of opinion. Mr Long has every right to criticise me. But he does not have the right to indulge in distortions and false allegations”.
He added: “My gratitude to Roger Horton and Routledge for this apology. Their willingness to acknowledge the wrong done is laudable.”