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Equality watchdog commissioner liked tweet saying homophobe is a ‘highly ideological propaganda term’

Josh Milton November 30, 2020
Alasdair Henderson speaking tot he camera with the EHRC signage behind him

Alasdair Henderson, a board member of the EHRC, 'liked' several tweets seemingly at odds with the values of an equality watchdog. (Screen capture via YouTube)

A top official at the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) liked a tweet claiming that the word “homophobe” is a “highly ideological propaganda term”.

In the latest test for the embattled commission, board member Alasdair Henderson is facing scrutiny after The Guardian reported on his use of social media.

One post liked by Henderson, dated 3 September, read: “It’s amazing to me that Tory ministers still flounder and flub when some media moron incants the magic words ‘misogynist’ and ‘homophobe’, as if those are empirical statements about reality, not highly ideological propaganda terms.”

The EHRC, the government equality watchdog, monitors and seeks to protect LGBT+ rights, among other fundamental human rights.

Commissioners set out the body’s strategic direction, such as ensuring that the bedrock of equality legislation in Britain, the 2010 Equality Act, is enforced by government.

Henderson, a barrister at London’s 1 Crown Office Row, is one of nine commissioners for the EHRC and has been since 2018.

He led the body’s long-awaited antisemitism report on opposition Labour that stated the party “failed to investigate antisemitism complaints based on likes, retweets and shares on social media”.

Among other tweets liked by Henderson on Twitter included one that decried “offence-taking zealots” who accused philosopher Roger Scruton of homophobia after he said being gay was not “normal”.

Another, dating back to 2015, was by the magazine Spiked. It read: “Gay marriage is a product of therapy, not the era of civil rights, says Brendan O’Neil.”

O’Neil, the magazine’s editor, previously called marriage equality an “elitist campaign” and has said that transphobes have been “demonised” by the “Orwellian trans movement”.

An EHRC spokesperson said it will “be looking into [Henderson’s] use of social media and the issues raised.”

Outside of Twitter, in a blog post for the UK Human Rights Blog, run by 1 Crown Office Row, Henderson commented on the UK Supreme Court ruling in favour of religious bakers who refused to make a cake supporting marriage equality.

He called the judgement “a significant and welcome affirmation of the fundamental importance of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech”.

He described the judgment as “sensible” and hoped it will reassure “religious people that their deeply held beliefs about human sexuality are legitimate and they won’t be compelled to contradict them”.

PinkNews contacted Alasdair Henderson for comment.

More: Alasdair Henderson, EHRC, JK Rowling, Laurence Fox, lgb alliance, safe schools alliance

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