The Guardian Tries To Intimidate Me Into Retracting My Article About Transphobia in Their Newsroom
The paper demands retractions but has no leg to stand on
The Guardian’s Director of Editorial Legal Services Gill Phillips just contacted me this morning to demand a retraction. That’s not going to happen. I stand by my reporting.
Laws in the UK on defamation and libel are quite strict. It’s very easy to silence critical voices through the country’s legal system. But I’m based in the the US, so these veiled British threats mean nothing.
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Phillips complains that by noting that workers described lead opinion writer Susanna Rustin as a “militant and obsessive anti-trans activist,” I somehow defamed her.
The email, which I’ve reproduced sans identifying information below, uses implication and acrobatic wordplay to claim that because Rustin is named in the article, the entire piece is defamatory toward her specifically. This is ridiculous.
The letter also demands I remove the screenshot of a leaked email from Rustin to her union representative in which Rustin complains that people in the newsroom are criticizing her over her views on trans rights.
“It is malicious, demeaning, unfair and false of the article to single Ms Rustin out in this way, not least given the concerns and anxieties that she expresses in her email to her union representative,” Phillips writes.
I will not be removing the screenshot.
You’ll notice in the email’s sign off and postscript that Phillips claims that “all rights are reserved” and that the content “'is confidential and may contain information that is legally privileged or exempt from disclosure under applicable law” and “should not be disseminated, distributed, copied or disclosed to third parties without our express authority.”
These comments are legally meaningless and carry no weight with respect to my journalistic ethics. I made no agreement not to publish the content of an unsolicited emailed threat.
The Phillips email:
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