X Close

Arts Council England agrees to pay compensation to feminist

Denise Fahmy at the #SaveWomensSports rally in Hyde Park, London. Credit: YouTube

September 20, 2023 - 4:10pm

An Arts Council England (ACE) employee who won an employment tribunal over her gender-critical views in June has this week settled her case. Denise Fahmy made the announcement on her CrowdJustice page, which raised a little under £50,000 before the judgement. Saying that “any people working in the arts are deeply affected by the intolerance within the sector,” the feminist expressed “hope” that “my case has helped shine a light on that.” No settlement amounts were specified. 

The June tribunal unanimously ruled in Fahmy’s favour, concluding that her claim of “harassment related to the protected characteristic of religion or belief is well-founded and succeeds”. At an internal online meeting in April 2022, colleagues alleged without substantiation that staff at advocacy group LGB Alliance were “openly discriminatory” and “transphobic”. When Fahmy defended the group’s work, she was targeted with similar language, called a “parasite” who, in her words “needed to be stamped out”. 

Supporters of the group and the gender-critical movement more broadly were also labelled “neo-Nazis, homophobes and Islamaphobes”. In May of the same year, a petition was circulated among ACE employees on the staff intranet, attacking those who believe that gender is predicated on biological reality. Part of it read, “this cancer needs to be removed from our organisation. Hatred of others for their differences should not be tolerated.” Fahmy claimed that she was held up as a “threat” who needed to be “re-educated” over her views.

She eventually felt compelled to resign before the final employment hearing took place. ACE’s status as a publicly-funded body meant that the defence for the case was paid for by the taxpayer. In 2022, the organisation distributed a little under £900 million in public money.

Fahmy follows in the footsteps of Maya Forstater, who last year won her case against her former employer, the Center for Global Development, after a three-year court fight. Forstater’s gender-critical views were ruled to be a protected belief under the law, and this year she was awarded over £100,000 in compensation for loss of earnings, injured feelings and assorted damages.

In her statement this week, Fahmy claimed that, “thanks to Maya Forstater, people that believe sex is binary and immutable and cannot change should no longer be harassed at work for saying so”. Concluding, she said that “I will continue to fight for freedom of expression in the arts”.

Responding, an Arts Council England spokesperson said:

We respect the findings of the judgment and are sorry that despite the actions we took at the time, a member of our team experienced harassment at work. We are committed to making sure that similar instances do not happen again, and that we are an organisation where every staff member, no matter who they are, or what beliefs they hold, is treated with dignity and respect.
- Arts Council England

Speaking to UnHerd this afternoon, Fahmy disclosed that she will now be setting up a new organisation, Freedom in the Arts, alongside the dancer and choreographer Rosie Kay. “We’re looking to stand up for artists who meet with intolerance,” she said, “so that more women in the industry feel comfortable with coming forward.”


is UnHerd’s Deputy Editor, Newsroom.

RobLownie

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

52 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
9 months ago

And the taxpayer coughs up to cover the bigotry of these employees at ACE. How about those who distributed the petition and those who so idiotically accuse with such vile language pay for a change?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

Too bloody right.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

The trouble with state-subsidised art is that what you get is state-subsidised art.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If the state has to subsidize your “art”, it’s only because no one is willing to buy it voluntarily.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

And state-subsidised ideology.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

Agree completely. This is effectively state subsidised bigotry and as such, no deterrent.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Dalton
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

Senior staff should face financial penalties for using public funds to defend their bigotry. Where were ACE lawyers in supporting shocking and illegal practices?

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
9 months ago

A financial settlement is of little value if Denise Fahmy doesn’t get her job back and is rendered unemployable in the arts sector. Others will still be afraid to speak out. The bullies are winning. A Conservative government presided over it all, and Labour will make things worse.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I’ve felt for some years now that they really need to change the party name to ‘So-called Conservatives’.

Waffles
Waffles
9 months ago

“Hatred of others for their differences should not be tolerated”.

She thinks differently to the Hive Mind. Persecute her! Cast out the unbeliever!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

And that’s the strangest thing about Diversity initiatives. You must be assimilated or risk being cast out.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You really don’t understand how DEI works.
Some simple research will help. Maybe avoid GB News and Breitbart for a while too.

Last edited 9 months ago by Champagne Socialist
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
9 months ago

Simple research is all anyone can expect from you.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Seems more than enough to correct you lot!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago

Seems more than enough to correct you, ‘Poo Fash!

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Conservative wit and wisdom!

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
9 months ago

I don’ t quite see your point?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

What’s confusing you, sport?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago

I think we all know how DEI works.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I do.
However, I very much doubt that you have the first clue about how DEI works. You’re not exactly well informed, are you?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

I’ve worked with university DEI offices in the past. It didn’t go down well when I once suggested that perhaps we get rid of one of our chief DEI officer position in order to put the six-figure annual salary it would have cost the university toward scholarships for underserved student populations.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I love that you share your fantasies here with the group!
Let us know if any of these things ever actually happen!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago

You really don’t understand how DEI works.
Some simple research will help. Maybe avoid the Guardian and Novara for a while too.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

This guy is regular Oscar Wilde!

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Obviously Diversity cannot mean a wide range of opinions from people who hold very different ideas and values; for that would be, preposterously, to pretend that there could be a level playing field between, on the one hand, those in rightful possession of the moral and cultural high ground and, on the other, the morass of wrongthinkers who are only intent on spreading their various mis-, dis- and mal-information as widely as possible.
No, Diversity means that as many different shapes and sizes of people as possible should be singing harmoniously together, and all discordant voices suppressed. I believe that (as so often) the Germans have a word for this, or used to: Gleichschaltung.

Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago

I congratulate Denise Fahmy. This is more than just a victory for gender critical feminism. It is a victory for freedom of speech, the keystone of all our freedoms.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
9 months ago

Why is Fahmy described as a feminist, rather than a woman?

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

I wondered the same. And it’s not only feminists, or even only women, who are being hounded by the zealots. Look at what has happened to Graham Linehan.

Chris Carter
Chris Carter
9 months ago

Great news.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
9 months ago

Excellent. This is happening time and time again. Case law building nicely in.favour of women. Indeed, i.would say there’s a nice sideline to be had here given a woke corporations’ preparedness to ignore the law.

Sophy T
Sophy T
9 months ago

Why did the bullies who harassed her remain anonymous in the hearing?

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
9 months ago

Trans bullying is, as usual, off the charts. Trans are deluded psychopaths. To maintain this delusion, any threat to the delusion must be met with extreme measures.

Those who are “reality-based” need to speak up. Don’t buy into the trannie insanity. Don’t do the pronoun nonsense. Don’t agree that trans are bullied. Do agree that no child is born in the wrong body.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

I got thrown out of a woke shop a couple of weeks ago for saying aloud that there are only two genders. I told the creatures to their faces that they were pimping for sadistic paedophilia.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

You sound absolutely delightful!
I would really love to see you actually trying this – because of course this a fantasy for the likes of you and your bigoted pals but you’d never have the gumption to actually do it – and how badly it would end for you!

j watson
j watson
9 months ago

Importantly she won at the ET. That’ll ripple to Employers and good that it does.
She can never be fully compensated. But it does not mean an inexorable slide underway. The push-back at the more outlandish diversity twaddle can be done sensibly and with appropriate balance.
Nonetheless being respectful of colleagues in the workplace, whatever one’s personal views remains a requirement. Focus on the ability of the colleague to do the job well.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The reason the push back against diversity twaddle is failing is that it is done ‘sensibly and with appropriate balance’.

The people responsible for this travesty ought to be sacked and compelled to pay the damages themselves. Instead we punish taxpayers and leave the guilty men an women in place to find even more corrosive ways to conduct what is essentially a form of class war.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

We owe the woke scum no respect whatsoever.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Such a charmer!!!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

We owe the woke skum no respect whatsoever.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Where did you find three numbskulls to upvote this little bon mot?

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
9 months ago

Will the newly formed group – “Freedom for the Arts” – also defend those whose views do not conform with their founders on other (non-feminist) issues such as standing against women-only or race-based grants etc.?

Guy Austin
Guy Austin
9 months ago

Why does the headline refer to feminist? Fahmy’s views are just normal mainstream.

Malcolm Powell
Malcolm Powell
9 months ago

So. Has anybody got any idea how this should be stopped

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
9 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

Increasing awards of damages, leading to bankruptcy of a big university or a charity would be the best way to stop it.
It is justified. Court decisions are the law, since they are precedent.
So if the University of Oxford St. Wendy-Up-The-Spoons vilifies an LGB Alliance supporting staff member, years after the Maya Forstater or Alison Bailey cases, they’ve ignored long established law.

A nice big award of damages in the tens of millions may be justified.

Failing that, you run some kind of a group case for a few volunteers or employees to rack up the amount of damages.

Aim is to kill the university / charity.

Unemployment is the only way to hit the anonymous, squeaky-bottomed Widmerpools who implement this crap. So they’ll never work in the sector again, like the folk they persecuted.
It’s not as if many of these institutions contribute much to world knowledge, or ending suffering.
And they are guiltier than most of spreading gender ideology.
The death of one seems reasonable.

Last edited 9 months ago by Dumetrius
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Kudos for the A.Powell reference.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

Make the bureaucrats responsible pay the damages themselves. Then sack them.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

With bravery, determination and the deliberate causing of offence to the woke skum.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago

Feminists and trans activists at war. Garcon, popcorn!

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago

Gender critical women have found a new source of income.

Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

On the whole I reckon they would have preferred not to have been hounded out of their careers and forced into doing the heavy lifting of defending the freedom to dissent from fashionable irrationality.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

What’s wrong with that?

brian knott
brian knott
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I think you mean trans bigots have found a new way to s***k taxpayers money up the wall