by Julie Bindel
Thursday, 17
March 2022
Explainer
16:33

Why York University de-platformed me

Supposedly, I am a safety threat
by Julie Bindel
Screengrab from the Student Solidarity network

In January this year I was asked to speak at an event organised by York Free Speech, part of York University. I love engaging with open-minded students and I was delighted to accept the offer. The topic was feminism, specifically a critique of what I call ‘feminism for men’, which is currently the only topic that gets an airing at most universities.

I sat and waited. I knew that it wouldn’t be long before certain trans lobby groups tried to get me de-platformed. Almost every time I am invited to speak at universities, there is a massive fight between those that want to hear a genuinely feminist perspective, and those who think that my mere presence will cause the death of transgender and ‘sex working’ people on campus.

I didn’t have to wait long. A couple of weeks ago I received my first email from the University LGBTQ+ Network Committee accusing me of transphobia and telling me that I was likely to break the university’s code of conduct. ‘Our number one priority is the safety of the students,’ read the email, adding ‘as much as trans issues are something which can be discussed by everyone, we do not want this to infringe on the safety and well-being of students’.

I have no idea why they were emailing me as I had not intended to speak about the trans issue at all. It seemed that they were threatening me to keep quiet about anything that they might consider to be contentious. I told them I would be talking about feminism and refused to engage further.

Two days before I was due to travel to York, the event was cancelled. Days earlier the student union had removed the details of the event from the website, mumbling about ‘thorough risk assessments’. Essentially, they’re worried about spending more money on security for these events, so the organisers then usually cancel because they are then liable for the additional cost incurred.

This group of airheads have decided that I would be their maximum of 5/5 likelihood to breach the university’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy. The fact that I am a woman of working-class origin, an out lesbian, and a lifelong feminist is obviously irrelevant to these privileged kids who think being pansexual or non-binary is an oppression.

Some choice quotes from student activists on the Student Solidarity Network Instagram account include: ‘Julie Bindel’s whole career is founded in supporting the mass homicide of sex workers.’ I was called a ‘bigot’, ‘dangerous’, and someone that regularly peddles hate speech and incitement to violence against marginalised groups. I was also labelled a homophobe and a misogynist, with over 40 years of my campaigning against male violence and women’s oppression dismissed.

If this anti-democratic, censorious bullying is allowed to continue, universities will become nothing more than breeding ground for men’s rights activists. We must put an end to it.

A University of York spokesperson told the York Press: “This isn’t about no-platforming, but all the appropriate practical steps to make an event safe had not been put in place for the event to go ahead at this time – such as stewarding, suitable ticketing, event chairing and any necessary security.

York University have been contacted for comment.

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Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
8 months ago

Something has gone badly wrong with tertiary education in this country. It seems to comprise a very large number – i.e. many thousands – of bigoted and, frankly, stupid students studying worthless subjects and being taught by equally bigoted and stupid staff, at fifth rate institutions, yet at the same time the tax-payer funded liability for student debt grows into the hundreds of millions (is it a billion yet?). We should get a grip on this.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Full sheepskin, half-education.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Spot on…thick as mince half of them. David Lammy has a degree apparently but his Mastermind appearance was beyond parody.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago

I’m assuming Julie wasn’t intending to assault anybody. So the LGBT body assessed the risk of the LGBT body creating trouble, as too expensive to steward!

Last edited 8 months ago by Martin Bollis
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You’ve hit the nail on the head!

Joy Bailey
Joy Bailey
8 months ago

Since when can a lesbian be a homophobe and a misogynist? How did these students ever get to university … sigh.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
8 months ago

Julie Bindel is often intensely irritating, generally awful to men but she has integrity and is worth listening to. Even the nasty bits!

She should definitely never be prevented from speaking to people.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
8 months ago

Quite. I mean, you don’t HAVE to listen.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
8 months ago

I was all in until Julie said “nothing more than breeding ground for men’s right activists”. Talk about pot complaining about kettle. She makes lots of good observations, but is blinded (Bindled) to the part of feminist rights activists, herself amongst them, leading the charge from the front, has influenced and inspired the activism that she now seems to so abore.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

New here, are we?
Bindel writes exactly one article, over and over again in slightly different words. It’s always the same – a cry of anguish asking why her old virtue points don’t work anymore, asking why she’s suddenly on the receiving end of the sword she’s been wielding for decades.
These articles are mostly good for black comedy. Unlike a lot of other stuff you find on Unherd, Bindel’s writing never provokes thought, just schadenfreude like this: Welcome to the men’s club, Julie! Don’t worry. We’ll accept you even if you don’t pretend to be a man. Now you know what it’s like to be constantly accused of being a misogynist despite having done nothing wrong. Does it make you feel bad about all the times you called men’s rights activists misogynists? No? Oh. Well then. Maybe after another decade of ending up with the same “rights” that we have, you’ll find out you have more in common with those activists than you think.

Skip Simonds
Skip Simonds
8 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

The phrase she is “hoist with one’s own petard” comes to mind.

David McDowell
David McDowell
8 months ago
Reply to  Skip Simonds

Every time she opens her mouth

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

I’m not sure how your comment got past the moderators given that the last time I simply queried a rather startling statement of Julie Bindel’s my post was deleted by the moderators. The name’s not Norman Powers more like Super Powers.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
8 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

From a feminist point of view, and I have been a feminist for a few more years than Julie, you don’t seem to get it. Yet another man criticising a feminist for having a feminist point of view. It is refreshing to read some of the other comments where me say they don’t necessarily agree with what Julie says but that they are willing to support her right to say it. Unlike yourself, hypercritical about something that is very important to very many women.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
8 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

That;s weird…I just exemplified what your are saying in another reply..and then read yours…

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Unfortunately, Ms Bindel does have a tendency to gratuously add these anti-male bits even when her arguments are sound. I think that she would be better off all round leaving such things out, unless, of course, she can show that it was indeed a men’s rights group involved, then it’s relevant. Perhaps, being female, I find it easier to just ignore these bits and get on with reading the rest of what she is saying, but I would recommend that you try doing the same.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

“Ms Bindel does have a tendency to gratuitously add these anti-male bits”
It is absolutely at the core of everything she believes. Of course it is easy for you to ignore because you are not on the receiving end.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago

I did say that perhaps it’s easier for me as I’m a woman. But perhaps you can understand what it is like for a woman to hear continued anti-female rhetoric, even if it is easier for you to dismiss because you’re not on the receiving end. I must make clear that I’m not in anyway saying that you. personally, post anti-female comments, however, they often appear in the comments section of this site.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

I do not recall seeing any anti-females comment on this site. What I do see is that anything vaguely critical of feminism is denounced at misogyny.
At the same time we seem to get article after article that are misandrist at their core. Unherd would dare print anything written by a man that put the reverse point of view.
Someone did refer me to the below tweet. So there is at least one woman who gets it.
“Women are finally experiencing in one part of society what men have been experiencing for decades. Being pushed out of their own spaces or being forced to accept the mentally ill. Congratulations on “equality”, ladies. You earned it.
“Perhaps next time men speak about the importance of allowing them to have their own spaces, you’ll listen instead of complaining about inclusivity and declaring you’re “just as competent as them at x hobby or thing so why won’t they include you?” Remember this.
” If you cannot read this without thinking “well I didn’t personally ask for it”, then you are lost. Neither did I. I’m asking people to realize this cycle has been repeated over and over again and the only reason people are finally paying attention is because it’s about women.”

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 months ago

I believe she is equivacating tran’s rights with men’s rights. That is tran’s rights is just a means of men expanding their own set of rights.
I don’t know if she honestly believes that the men’s rights activists who spend their time discussing things like family court issues are the same people wanting suggesting that male born self-identified women are, and should be regarded, exactly as women. I very much doubt she honestly believes the former group are given any traction at universities.

Last edited 8 months ago by Andrew Dalton
Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

I do believe that women are smarter than men, and this proves it. The men in this thread are lamentable, and I apologize for them, Julie. They don’t get what you are saying. When you disparage “men’s rights activists” you are dead on the money.
Folks, men don’t need rights. We are born with them. Men have always enjoyed all the human rights on offer. Men are born to be strong, purposeful, responsible and free. Men don’t need to wonder if they should focus on child-rearing or making a career. They only have one avenue: their career. Make a success of that, and you win.
Women are far more complicated. Not only do they have thousands of years of cultural oppression to overcome, they have no set value of what it means to be the ideal woman. That’s all up in the air. Women are the only way that another generation can come into existence, yet they struggle to know their purpose. Just being a woman in a man’s world is purpose enough!
Women deserve support in learning to prosper in a man’s world with the choices that should be available to them. Some men fear this. They fear that they can’t compete with a woman who might be better than them in the office. Weak men were threatened, so they came with the idea of gender fluidity. If a man can identify as a woman, then all the support that feminism has brought women is theirs for the taking, as men. So the greatest opponents of true feminism are the trans rights activists who truly fear biological women. Don’t be one of those.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Abhor

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago

This a piece of safety first bureaucracy reaction just as we have to suffer a dodgy automatic moderating system checking comments here as a cost effective means of avoiding offensive comment so the University is taking a safety first cost effective course of action when LGBTQ+ violence is threatened.
Of course in a civilised society Julie Bindel’s views should be available to whomever wished to hear them without interruption. No one is forced to hear her or read her articles. Unfortunately today any group is able to shut down debate by someone they deem unacceptable by threatening disruption and violence and instead of the police being asked to intervene and prosecute such threatening behaviour the extremist group gains its ends.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago

‘Julie Bindel’s whole career is founded in supporting the mass homicide of sex workers.’

If the above was actually posted it would, I assume, be libellous, and Ms Bindel would be within her rights to sue. This is a serious accusation and should not be allowed to stand.

Last edited 8 months ago by Linda Hutchinson
Warren T
Warren T
8 months ago

It is utterly mind boggling what is allowed to stand these days vs. what gets de-platformed or canceled.

Tom May
Tom May
8 months ago
Reply to  Warren T

Completely agree with you. It’s firetrucking ridiculous on its face and yet someone said it with serious intent. And some believe it.

Warren T
Warren T
8 months ago

Regardless of how much I would disagree with Ms. Bindel, I would never, even for a moment, think of shouting her off a stage or prevent her from speaking. It is quite ironic, however, that the loudest shouting seems to come from those who need the free speech protection of a democratic society the most.

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
8 months ago

Too much is unexplained. Why had ‘appropriate practical steps to make the event safe’ not been put in place? Was to because the organisers expected the event to be cancelled? Or because the threats to disruption meant that the necessary security would have cost more than could be afforded? Could Julie Bindel’s critics be challenged to give a coherent and fully explained statement of their criticism? And be challenged to an in-depth debate on the issues raised?
Could York Free Speech have turned the event into a webinar? With lots of time for questions, either live or through the chair? Recorded or not, according to choice.

William Shaw
William Shaw
8 months ago

Julie Bindel always undermines her own case, even when she has a valid point, by engaging in extreme and blatant misandry.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
8 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

My thoughts exactly. I was with her until the last paragraph.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago

There’s plenty of people complaining about Ms Bindel in these comments. They don’t like her apparantly. So what? Is this a reason to ban her, or anyone, from speaking? Our “Unis” are a disgrace.

Michael James
Michael James
8 months ago

Public intellectuals should boycott universities as unsafe spaces.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
8 months ago

Julie, couldn’t you sue them for these slanders? If you need money to sue them I’m sure it would be well supported by crowd sourcing.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

If it was in written form it would be libel. As the statement that her career is founded on the mass murder of sex workers is so obviously ridiculous it would no doubt be passed off as a joke in bad taste not to be taken seriously like Jo Brand’s battery battery acid “joke”. But most importantly there is no point in suing unless you at least recover your legal costs which most students, even those with well healed parents, usually don’t have the means to pay.