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Gay author who pressured Booker Prize to drop Baroness Nicholson apologises for transphobic slur in resurfaced tweets

Emma Powys Maurice July 3, 2020
Damian Barr

Damian Barr raised concern about the language used by Baroness Nicholson online. (David Levenson/Getty)

Damian Barr, the novelist who campaigned for Baroness Nicholson to be removed as an honorary Booker Prize vice president has apologised after a series of past tweets including a transphobic slur resurfaced.

Damian Barr led the charge of writers calling on the Booker Foundation to remove Baroness Nicholson from her honorary position after she launched a shocking attack on same-sex marriage.

Nicholson was subsequently reported to the House of Lords for bullying after retweeting racist and transphobic content about the model and activist Munroe Bergdorf. She has since apologised, and the Lords has confirmed no action will be taken.

Barr openly challenged the Booker Foundation on Twitter, saying: “As a gay writer I feel very concerned that a person who is actively and publicly propagating homophobic views holds a position of such power and prestige in your rightly esteemed organisation.”

However the author has now been accused of hypocrisy after Twitter users uncovered a series of tweets in which he refers to transgender woman as “trannies” and mocks a failed suicide attempt.

“The following month he referred to a “nice tranny charity”, adding: “Lady-man truckers unite”. In March 2013 he used the slur again when he tweeted that there was a “mad tranny going through my recycling bin”.

Barr appears to have used the transphobic language frequently on Twitter up until 2013, when he was advised that the word is highly offensive.

 

He told The Times that he accepted responsibility for the tweets but insisted he had used the slur “flippantly, not maliciously”.

“It is an unkind and hurtful word I’m embarrassed to have used,” he said. I apologised then. I remain sorry today. I listened and changed: I hope my solidarity and actions since speak louder than that word then.”

PinkNews reached out to Barr for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.

More: baroness nicholson, Damian Barr, munroe bergdorf, Twitter

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