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BBC rejects claim it ‘cancelled’ and ‘boycotted’ anti-trans author Helen Joyce

Vic Parsons August 31, 2021
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Helen Joyce on Centre Stage during day two of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin

Helen Joyce on Centre Stage during day two of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile)

The BBC has firmly rejected claims that it “cancelled” anti-trans author Helen Joyce by not mentioning her book on air, saying that “lots of people want to appear on the BBC” but “we can’t feature them all”.

Joyce claimed she is being “cancelled” by the BBC in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

That newspaper also ran a two-week serialisation of her book, Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, in which Joyce, a cis woman, argues that trans people fighting for rights and equality are like a “new state religion” with “blasphemy laws”.

Joyce has a history of making anti-trans statements, including saying that the trans rights movement is “the new patriarchy“, and describing puberty-blocking medication, a life-saving and reversible treatment that some trans teenagers take, as “sickening”, “child abuse”, “mass experimentation” and a “global scandal”, according to the Daily Dot. She denies she is transphobic.

Now, she has accused the BBC of “cowardice” for not featuring her book on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, telling the Mail that “presenter Jenni Murray was forced out of the show because of this issue”.

Helen Joyce added: “She [Murray] wrote a newspaper column in 2017 arguing that trans women were not real women. That led to her being barred from covering this issue on the programme.

“I think the refusal to engage with me is down to a mixture of cowardice and the fact that the new presenter Emma Barnett, I think, disagrees with me. That is fine, of course – she can disagree with me. But why doesn’t she invite me on the show to challenge me?”

A spokesperson for the BBC told the Mail that there was no boycott or attempt to “cancel” Helen Joyce: “We know that lots of people want to appear on the BBC and the fact they haven’t doesn’t mean they have been boycotted or won’t appear if there is an appropriate editorial opportunity.

“Our wide-ranging book coverage often includes interviews with authors, but of course, we can’t feature them all. We include a broad range of guests with decisions based purely on editorial merit.”

Related topics: BBC, Helen Joyce, transphobia, Women's House

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