Reader comments · Stonewall co-founder: Ben Summerskill is damaging charity by attacking staff, trustees and sponsors · PinkNews

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Stonewall co-founder: Ben Summerskill is damaging charity by attacking staff, trustees and sponsors

  • JKDuganBrause

    To the Publisher and editor

    First, this is organisational change, and yes, Ben is likely unhappy. Ok. Move on.
    Other point. Your pop-up ads (to the right side of your e-paper) are so sensitive as to make my reading enjoyment of PN a chore. I actually avoid your site because of them constantly getting in my way. Oh, and that means, dear advertisers, I don’t like you.

    • MarkN

      If you want to avoid pop-up ads, install Adblock in your browser…works like a dream….

      • Rumbelow


  • Batty Brigade

    Stonewall have no interest in equality. When I asked them what percentage of their staff are heterosexual, they gave no reply. I then invoked the F.O.I act but was told they were exempt as they are a charity.
    Basically, they stonewalled me because it is doubtful that they practice what they preach in a universal sense. They are merely interested in the homosexual agenda, which is to take over the universe and make everybody fabulous.

  • TampaZeke

    “Going to damage his legacy”?

    That ship has sailed! I live in Tampa, Florida and even I know that Ben Summerskill trashed his legacy LONG before he left Stonewall. He spent YEARS fighting against marriage equality and being the “gay go-to guy” for every anti-marriage equality homophobe in the United Kingdom. Now he seems to have dedicated his remaining years to destroying everyone and everything he’s ever touched.

  • Robert W. Pierce

    Makes me wonder why he left StonewallUK. What were his reasons or was it suggested he leave?

    • dave

      This is just a guess, but it could be something to do with Newham College being placed in the Stonewall Workplace Index top 100 employers. It might have been the last straw, and the announcement he was stepping down as CEO came only a few days afterwards.

  • Jan Bridget

    I hope Stonewall will be taking the opportunity to recruit people to their Board who have relevant experience in LGBT issues (from different backgrounds, not just middle class) and not just because they are business people.

  • David Greensmith

    “In danger of damaging his legacy” with the charity? What legacy would that be? His opposition to marriage equality – handing ammunition to the anti-equality brigade by enabling them to say “even the leading gay rights charity opposes ‘gay marriage'”? Or would it be his legacy of an appalling track record on trans rights?

  • Lamia

    I think Ben Summerskill should keep repeating the weak quip about not being able to hear anything from where he is sitting. If he does it enough, it might eventually become witty.

    On second thoughts, he spent quite a bit of time not being able to hear the overwhleming support for marriage equality from other gay and straight supporters. So maybe he should give it all a rest and move on. I wish him well for that. In due course maybe Ben and others will be able to look back on his connection to Stonewall in a positive way. He’s making that hard at the moment.

  • Cal

    OMG, sooooo undignified. It’s frightening that this silly turd was in a position of influence for so long.

  • GulliverUK

    He complains about not being able to hear – I suspect his staff have been complaining that he never listens to them. If Ruth told him it would be better if he wasn’t there, then it’s probably because she knows what he’s like. He sounds petulant arrogant belligerent and demanding.

    It’s time to be quiet and go with a bit of grace, he can continue to help the LGBT community in other ways, but this behavior is quite destructive.

  • Claire McNab

    Ben’s public comments over the last few days have been ill-advised, and have not helped his reputation. But please can I ask people to go a bit easy on him?

    For 11 years Ben was a fairly astute leader of Stonewall, and a very successful one. He was one of the most visible leaders of the LGB community, and while many people have honourable reasons to dissent from some his actions, I hope that even his critics can acknowledge the massive achievements of Stonewall under Ben’s leadership. I worked with Ben at various stages of the campaign, when I was a V-P of trans rights campaign Press for Change, and I found him to be an honourable and effective ally who stood by us at some critical times. (He later made some judgements I would have opposed as being bad for trans people, but that’s politics. People rarely agree on everything.).

    The last 11 years of Stonewall’s work transformed the landscape of LGBT rights in the UK, and transformed the public attitude to our rights. Stonewall was not just Ben — many others did brilliant work under its banner — and the LGBT rights campaign was much broader than Stonewall. I sympathise with those who were concerned about the dominance of Stonewall’s voice, and I personally prefer a more diverse form of representation which better reflects the extraordinary diversity of our communities. But as one of the few people who had the privilege of an occasional inside seat in some of the behind-the-scenes processes, I was very impressed at the effectiveness of Stonewall’s work in shaping public policy and placing LGBT rights at centre of that policy. Ben was crucial to that success.

    Whatever your criticisms of Ben’s errors of failures, please don’t forget to acknowledge his achievements.

    Stepping down from such a high-profile and high-pressure job is not easy. Anyone doing that sort of job properly ends up eating, breathing and sleeping the role, and the abrupt end that comes eventually is hard to handle. (I have had that t-shirt, and it’s a very uncomfortable one). Maybe his departure was amicable, maybe it wasn’t; I don’t know any of how it happened, but it is rare for such a change of regime to be easy, and it is hardest on the person who finds themselves now labelled “former”.

    So, Ben, if you read this, please back off from the tweeting. It isn’t helping you or the causes you worked so hard for. You done a lot of good for a lot of people, and deserve to be known for that huge body of work rather than for a few hasty tweets.

    And everyone else … please cut him a little slack. The sooner this blows over, the better.

    • Jan Bridget

      Here, here.

  • Summerskill is perfectly entitled to tweet what he likes about Stonewall. There is so little tolerance of dissent amongst those supposedly supporting tolerance. These catty little spats pierce the deadening blandness of most charity shambles. Personally I can’t abide sanctimonious cant so this is great fun!

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