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Observer transphobic Julie Burchill article did not breach Editors’ Code of Practice says PCC

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  1. What the hell do they have to publish for it to be a breach? Would a Nazi Manifesto do?

    1. They would have had to have made disparaging references to a particular individual’s gender. In which case, the Observer would have been asked nicely to print a mealy-mouthed apology in tiny print somewhere at the bottom of page 16.

      Of course, if this article been broadcast on TV, Ofcom would have required a lengthy, strongly-worded apology to be broadcast on the same channel at around the same time of day, striking a blow at the heart of our nation’s cherished freedom of expression.

  2. So if the article would have been racist instead of transphobic and used “nigger” instead of the transphobic slurs, would it still have been judged not avbreach by these clowns? If so, then they’re probably right and should be sacked the lot of them.

    1. Someone who writes for the Observer should put this to the test. Seriously.

      1. Hodge Podge 21 Mar 2013, 5:59pm

        Not really, that would be horrible. Though I’d rather be black than trans walking through the town centre.

        1. Really sucks if one is black and trans then doesn’t it?

  3. This is EXACTLY why we need an independant watchdog with the power to fine large amounts and force papers to print apologies in a prominent position in their papers.
    Cameron should implement ALL the recommendations from the Levenson enquiry.

  4. Latest on O’Brien:

  5. how was burchill’s piece “accurate” (clause 1) and not “harassing” (clause 4) of trans women?

    Disappointed that the justification de-genders those to whom Burchill’s comments were directed trans Women. The PCC wrote referred to the article referring to “transgender people generally”. Which article did they read? I saw no mention of trans men or anything directed at them, or any other non-binary gender person.

  6. the code protects individuals, not groups. I didn’t read the article myself, but from what’s reported it should qualify as “hate speech” and should have been reported to the authorities that deal with that crime. But that’s European Human Rights law and would involve lawyers and money – not something an individual can tackle. Still freedom of the press should not be freedom to abuse minorities any more than it is freedom to defame or libel.

  7. Paula Thomas 21 Mar 2013, 11:04am

    Just shows how useless the PCC and its code is.

  8. This comes as no surprise! The PCC is a toothless lapdog of the worst regulated newspapers n the world. The Editors’ Code of Practice has the last clause which nullifies in effect any attempt at gaining redress to for privacy infringements. I should know because my complaint went against me too.

  9. Hope Winter Hall 21 Mar 2013, 11:13am

    She is, and always has been a bitch. So sue me, Burchill. It’s called a taste of your own bigotry.

    1. the so called woman is an absolute C*nt – so sue me Burchill you vile excuse for a human being!

      1. Nice. Complaining about her insulting trans people by calling her a misogynist name. You can’t even see your hypocrisy can you?

        1. Oh, grow up! Calling a wealthy, powerful person a C on a comments page somewhere is not exactly in the same league as a wealthy, powerful person writing articles in national newspapers vilifying and ridiculing a defenceless minority.

          She has no idea what it’s like to be a trans person in the real world and calling her a C doesn’t change that (unfortunately).

          1. I should grow up? Please – you’re the hypocrite. If you want to call JB a c*nt then you have to accept her calling trans people shims and shemales. Simple as that.

            Oh and FYI, women don’t have a great time in the world either.

          2. Staircase2 21 Mar 2013, 3:54pm

            @Andykins….you don’t get it do you…
            Ginger is entirely right

            Apoligies, Ginger, I accidentally tapped on vote down instead of vote up – now way to correct it after you’ve voted (buttons too close together when viewd on iPad)

  10. Garbage. If Burchill had picked any other group, used pejorative terms, and slung about every slander and offensive comment she could think of, she would be slammed. The PCC is a toothless worthless facile irrelevance. (Pretty much like the foul and odious Burchill herself).

    1. I think you’ll find you can say pretty much anything you want about bankers, or rich people, or Tories, or fat people, or working class people, or teenage mothers, or “chavs”, or benefit recipients without the internet having a collective attack of the vapours.

  11. Good. We’ve got enough assaults against free speech in this country going on without JB being sanctioned for expressing an opinion

    1. Staircase2 21 Mar 2013, 3:55pm

      I think the issue is the deliberately offensive way she chose to make what was essentially a really weak point to start with anyway…

      1. It’s not one of her best pieces, sure, and the language is immoderate of course but hell, immoderate language is what you’re probably going to get when you commission a JB piece. It’s the pathetic nature of the Observer’s editorship that annoys me more than anything else – they commission JB to send an Exocet into an already massively overheated internet bunfight, they get all the click-through traffic they could want and then when things get a little too hot, they pull the piece and issue a mealy-mouthed apology.

        However, what disturbs me from the comments on this site is how eager some people seem to be to jettison free speech, clearly believing that doing so will only hurt the “bad” people who say howwible things about the “right” people.

    2. Not much commitment to free speech on this website, I see. Hmm- be careful what you wish for.

    3. Ginger, you need to rethink what “freedom of speech” actually means. I’ve seen that you’ve used it a few times in these comments, and the way you are using it is a red herring: No one has actually asked the state to intervene. The PCC (which are voluntary, NOT state-owned) are supposed to represent the readers – who ALSO have the right to complain and say that the Observer should *not* be publishing hate speech in the first place. By belittling the peoples’ rights to complain, you are actually being hypocritical.

  12. dingledodie77 21 Mar 2013, 12:24pm

    “[The] clause does not cover references to groups or categories of people”

    Well, white supremacist groups are going to have a field day.

    We do need more press regulation. And incase anyone objects, I’d like to point out that the press regulation system in Finland involves statute. Finland is ranked number 1 in the world for press freedom.

  13. Not surprised. The PCC has been useless for ever. Maybe things will improve with Leveson.

  14. So, it appears “hate speech” is legal in the UK after all.

  15. Disgusting. So it’s official that anyone can write offensive remarks about someone who is trans and the PCC won’t do anything about it. Obviously the PCC are transphobic too.

    I’ll never buy another paper that she ever writes something in. The Observer is the first off my list.

  16. Patrick Lyster-Todd 21 Mar 2013, 2:51pm

    Just goes to show that the PCC is an ass and its vaunted Editors’ Code of Conduct as useless as Leverson has found it to be.

    1. Could an individual trans-person post a libel writ against this woman please? Or perhaps she should be prosecuted under Section 28 Crime and Disorder Act 1998 ‘publication of material likely to cause harassment,alarm or distress’ ?

      1. Which individual trans person did she libel?

      2. you don’t have to name one person in order to libel them if you print an untruth about a group of people an individual within that group could issue a writ, that person then has to prove they haven’t libeled anyone- see David Irving

        1. I think you’re somewhat confused about the laws around libel. And even if it were the case that whole groups of people could be libelled, the article would have to be presented as fact rather than opinion. It was an op-ed piece, an opinion.

          1. Ginger, most of the commenters on here have also missed the most important point.

            Having read the original article by JB, I am sure I remember that JB was criticising a certain group of trans gender women not all trans gender women. That is, those who attacked Suzanne Moore and in her view wrongly accused SM of being trans phobic in the first place.

            Those very people then attacked JB for the same, missing the point of her angry article.

  17. ‘Prejudices are what fools use for reason’ Voltaire

  18. Hmmmmmm……. I wonder how they would have judges the article if “transexuals” would be replaced with “blacks”, “whites”, “Jews”, “Asians” or any other minority…….
    After all, if it is attacking a group it seems to be acceptable, while attacking only one individual from one of these groups would not be……
    Stupidity gone mad, maybe???

    1. Did you read either of the two original articles?

  19. THIS is the danger of transphobic attacks from the media. Rest in peace Lucy Meadows. :( THANKS FOR NOTHING PPC

    1. Katie kool-eyes 21 Mar 2013, 6:34pm

      Just finished reading it. That’s so horrid :(

      It just goes to show that what some people seem as harmless reporting and baiting can be so devastating to a persons life.

      Sorry, Lucy Meadows :( x

  20. This is why we need a new press regulation system. The PCC has failed on virtually all accounts to give protection and serve justice for victims of press abuse, even if it’s not by an individual basis.

  21. Freedom of speech is important. Trans supporters who are trying to silence Julie Burchill are endangering everybody’s freedom of speech.

    Julie lost her cool trying to defend a friend. She hurts her own credibility in the process. Her article helps the trans movement. Except trans supporters who would threaten Julie and try to silence her hurt the trans movement. Net effect 0. Nobody wins and the cycle of hate continues.

    Well done, everybody looks like an idiot.

  22. Yeah – well, if it snorts like a pig and grunts like a pig – its probably Julie Burchill.

  23. So, bottom-line they’re basically saying it’s not acceptable to discriminate or be transphobic towards any one specific individual. BUT hey, if you do so to EVERY SINGLE ONE trans in one fell swoop, then that’s perfectly ok. – Wow, THEN that’s perfectly acceptable ?? How F’d up is that !? …
    -> Great, it seems it’s just downright impossible for ‘society’ to ever just NOT suck ! :( *sigh*

  24. The ruling doesn’t make her a better human being.

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