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Mulholland pulls Burchill’s ‘disgusting’ transsexuals rant: ‘We got it wrong’

By Andrew Pugh

The Guardian website has pulled a controversial column condemned as a “disgusting rant” against transsexuals.

A column by Julie Burchill – headlined 'Transsexuals should cut it out’ – was first published in The Observer newspaper on Sunday and also appeared on

But Observer editor John Mulholland told readers yesterday evening that he had decided to withdraw the piece from publication, admitting the paper had "got it wrong":

The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate.

The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views.

On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece.

The Observer Readers' Editor will report on these issues at greater length.

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But in the latest twist to the story, blogger Toby Young has republished Burchill’s piece in full. Young said he had permission from the writer to publish the article in its entirety.

Burchill’s piece was originally penned in defence of Burchill's fellow writer, Suzanne Moore, who came under fire on Twitter after suggesting in the New Statesman that women were expected to look like "a Brazilian transsexual". 

Burchill wrote that "screaming mimis" had accused her friend of "white feminist privilege" and forced her to leave the social networking site.

Former Lib Dem equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said the Burchill piece was “absolutely disgusting” and “a bigoted vomit” – and calling for Burchill and Mulholland to be sacked.

A Guardian News and Media spokeswoman said yesterday: "We acknowledge the strong reaction to Julie Burchill's piece published in The Observer. 

“As indicated by Observer editor John Mulholland on Twitter, we are taking such reactions extremely seriously and we have asked our independent readers' editor to urgently investigate the matter."

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