Owen Jones faces harassment via transphobic Twitter mob

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After asking about the sourcing of an article regarding a trans issue; The Guardian’s Owen Jones has been trending on Twitter under #OwenJonesIsABully. He has since issued a statement; “I will not be intimidated.”

Owen Jones has come under-fire from anti-trans activists who have engaged in their usual bullying tactics, such as defamatory posts claiming he wants to dox a teenager and spamming a hashtag into the trending tab. This because the only remaining gay columnist at The Guardian criticised the sourcing of an article in The Times which claimed a girl had been ‘driven out of school for questioning trans ideology’.

The story goes that a House of Lords member visited a school, which the article makes sure to point out is a private girls school and a Stonewall diversity champion, and gave a talk which included talking about transphobia. An 18 year old student challenged those views stating that “biological sex is real” and was subsquently hounded by up to 60 other pupils at the school and “treated like a heretic” to the point of having to leave the school.

The girl claims she was shouted at, screamed at and even spat at. She said she escaped and she collapsed, unable to breathe properly. She claims teachers were initially supportive but withdrew that when other students accused her of transphobia. She was then told she would have to work in the library if she said anything provocative in lessons and faced bullying and harassment before leaving to study at home in December.

Part of the article is informed via the student in question speaking to The Times directly, however it also cites known anti-trans group Transgender Trend. Which includes comment from presumably the same teacher cited in The Times article too. “John Rickards” and also “Craig Rickards” do not appear on Google or LinkedIn under an extensive search for teachers with that name, and I can only assume its a pseudonym. In more detail than The Times and making sure to name drop the likes of Maya Forstater and JK Rowling, he gives his account of events.

Owen Jones criticised the original piece for having not done journalistic due diligence of including comment from the school or those accused of allegedly having ousted this 18 year old from sixth-form for being transphobic, who I remind you are students at an all girls school and sixth-form. He asked for someone from that school to reach out with comment or statement. Not least due to the fact that The Times have had to issue multiple corrections for poor journalistic practice in the past, including on trans issues in particular.

For this he has faced accusations of attempting to dox a teenage girl, again forgetting that the article itself states she is 18 years old and therefore an adult who first went to transphobic groups and the press to get her version of events out. Also forgetting that the original article, with enough time and effort, gives enough information to narrow down the location of this school pretty easily. I very much doubt there are many schools who fulfill all three of the following criteria; private all girls school with sixth form, Stonewall diversity champion, and visited by a baroness in October.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Owen Jones is defiant and states he will not be intimidated by anti-lgbtqia+ campaigners such as those who support Transgender Trend or any of the other far right associated groups who have targeted him previously. He says that he believes he was right to criticise the sourcing of this article and lays out his reasons for that in numerous tweets.

The article has since been updated and rather suspiciously changed almost entirely. Now referencing JK Rowling’s tweet about the original article, which doesn’t exist anywhere except for archive websites.

Gemma Stone
Gemma Stone is a transgender writer who has been covering the rise of transphobic hate campaigning in the UK. She has written hundreds of articles dissecting aspects of transphobia including debunking blatant disinformation. She is very tired and trying her best, and hopefully having a positive impact on such a beautiful community.

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