View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

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 Guardian.co.uk.

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.

Content from our partners
Pugpig named best media technology partner of 2024 by AOP
Cannes Lions: The world's best creativity all in one place
L'Equipe signs content syndication deal with The Content Exchange

But in the latest twist to the story, Telegraph.co.uk 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."

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network