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Author Topic: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail  (Read 1000 times)

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Offline RhapsodyTopic starter

Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« on: March 26, 2013, 06:12:33 AM »
I woke up to this in my inbox this morning, from one of the activist groups I get emails from:

Quote
This week, a schoolteacher took her own life, a tragic result of media bullying that was egged on by a right-wing columnist for the UK’s 2nd-largest paper.

Lucy Meadows just wanted to quietly teach her students, but Richard Littlejohn of the notoriously inflammatory Daily Mail led a nasty witch-hunt against her. In a hit piece mockingly titled "He's not only in the wrong body... he's in the wrong job," Littlejohn began a wave of harassment that drove Lucy from teaching. Two months later, she would be dead.

Lucy’s death sent a wave of shock and anger across the UK, with tens of thousands of people demanding that Daily Mail fire Richard Littlejohn. The Daily Mail is one part a of huge global media conglomerate, and if people around the world stand up to hold the paper accountable, it will send a clear message that the media can’t peddle this kind of bigotry and get away with it.

Lucy was raised male, but recently underwent a transition to live as female -- which for Littlejohn was reason enough to attack her in his column. The vile article led to a witch-hunt targeting Meadows. Newspapers offered to pay parents for a picture of her, and she complained of having to leave home by the back door and arrive early to school to avoid the packs of journalists.

Throughout the hit piece, Littlejohn callously referred to Lucy as “he”, and claimed that getting gender reassignment surgery showed that she didn't care for the children she taught.

Richard Littlejohn has a long history of using his perch at the Daily Mail to mock and harass others, including people of color, the LGBT community, and people with cerebral palsy. Littlejohn is a disgrace to journalists, but the Daily Mail is defending him. The paper released a statement that “it is regrettable that this tragic death should now be the subject of an orchestrated [attack on us], fanned by individuals... with agendas to pursue.” Disgustingly, the Daily Mail thinks that it is the victim in this situation.

Trans people face a horrifying level of discrimination and violence around the world. If we want to make the world safe for the trans members of our community, we need to act together to ensure that major institutions like the Daily Mail aren’t contributing to this climate of hate.

Littlejohn claimed that children don’t have the capacity to handle a gender transition -- but kids are smart and don’t carry the bias that adults have absorbed over the years. Just take the experience my partner Max had when he came out to his little cousin as a transgender man. The cousin said, “Oh, that makes sense. I always thought you were a boy. Now can we go play Legos?” Gender transition is only an issue for kids when the adults in their lives -- many egged on by these sorts of offensive opinion pieces -- make it out to be a problem.

Everyone has the right to say what they think, but mainstream publications like the Daily Mail shouldn't promote this sort of hate. The Daily Mail needs to ensure that this never happens again -- by not only yanking Littlejohn’s column and apologizing for the paper’s decision to run the hateful opinion piece, but also instituting an editorial review policy that prevents discriminatory writing from ending up in its paper again.

Tell the Daily Mail that newspaper columns cannot be used for bullying and hate, and that Richard Littlejohn has no place in the papers.

Thanks for fighting for basic human decency,

Kaytee and the rest of us

There's a petition to have this man removed from his job.

Offline Blythe

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2013, 06:18:27 AM »
Aaaaaand petition signed. I read about this, and I was utterly appalled about the tragedy of Miss Meadows. She should have lived a long good life as a fine educator.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 06:46:44 AM »
As a transwoman who is studying to become a teacher, I found the fact that this could happen scary as fuck D:

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 06:47:48 AM »
Petition signed.  Responsible journalism is something that should be brought back, not dismissed as a nuisance.

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 07:53:03 AM »
Petition signed.  Responsible journalism is something that should be brought back, not dismissed as a nuisance.

Couldn't have said it better. Signed the petition, I was disgusted when I read about the bigot crap of that guy and the consequences it led to.

Offline Koren

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 08:22:51 AM »
I shall sign it the very moment that I get my internet back :)
But yes, pumpkin seeds said it best

Offline Mithlomwen

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 09:14:15 AM »
Petition signed. 

Offline Oniya

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 09:20:39 AM »
Had already signed it from another link (might be on some of those same activist lists), but I wanted to comment that 'Daily Mail' and 'responsible journalism' are hardly ever said in the same breath.  Every time I've seen an article from the Daily Mail linked, I expect to see 'journalism' of the quality of the Weekly World News.

Now, the press reporters that started hounding her and offering to pay parents for pictures?  They should get a nice fat slice of the blame as well.

Offline Wolfy

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 09:41:41 AM »
:/ Sounds like Littlejohn as a LittleJohnson, to me.

.....Buuuut seriously, what a prick. >_>

Offline Kythia

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 11:00:50 AM »
Yeah, Litttlejohn is literally the worst person in the world

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 11:23:51 AM »
I read on this... And I want to talk to this man and his editors.  With a big stick.  Till my arms are tired.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 12:18:41 PM »
*connects stick to flywheel and generator.*

There.  Now you just have to refuel periodically.

Offline DeadCell

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 02:03:40 PM »
Happily signed the petition. Sort of thing makes me sick.

And you know what, the part about kids not being able to handle a gender change? I disagree, kids can be and have been known to be more accepting than anyone else on such matters.

I hope this guy gets sacked.

Offline RhapsodyTopic starter

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 02:25:04 PM »
Happily signed the petition. Sort of thing makes me sick.

And you know what, the part about kids not being able to handle a gender change? I disagree, kids can be and have been known to be more accepting than anyone else on such matters.

I hope this guy gets sacked.

That's a line that truly bothered me. I can understand the knee-jerk reaction because, as a parent, anything you feel is a threat, you want to protect your kids from. But in the end, it's not the children who are being threatened; its the parents, because they don't see how the kids can understand something they themselves cannot fathom, so it's easier to say that the kids are too young.

My kids are six, seven and three. They're fairly young. I'm fairly sure they're cis but not 100% positive because of their age, and they're a little young to be expressing orientation. But one thing they are NOT too young for is explanations about identity and happiness. One thing they are NOT too young for is lessons on tolerance and acceptance. One thing they are NOT too young for is learning basic human decency.

Because Miss Meadows could very well be one of my kids. My sister. My brothers. My nephews or nieces. My friends. And at the end of the day, my kids are NOT too young to learn how "different" does not always equate to "evil".

Offline Azrael

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 04:51:30 PM »
it is absolutely tragic.  there is a reason the paper is known as the 'daily fascist' if it isn't the lgbt community it is the immigrant community, or the non-white community, or women...

Offline Question Mark

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2013, 06:50:32 PM »
Frankly, I'm not sure if I should sign the petition or not.

On the one hand, Littlejohn's article was more than a little abrasive and insulting towards trans folk.  On the other, it wasn't nearly as venomous or hateful as the quote at the top of the page initially led me to believe.  (BTW, for those of you who want to read the original article: linky)

Personally, I'm all for the equal and fair treatment of trans folk in the public and legal theaters.  The discrimination and bigotry they face now is very similar to the persecution gays and lesbians faced in the past.  This article is proof of that unfortunate reality.

However, and this is where my hesitation to sign the petition comes in, I'm sure that the majority of people who've signed the petition did so in a knee-jerk reaction.  "What's that, a conservative fear-monger drove a transwoman to suicide?  I better grab my pitchfork pen and sign this petition!"  The email Rhapsody quoted struck me as incredibly biased against Littlejohn; then again, it's an activist piece, not meant to be held against journalistic standards.  Still, it prompted me to do some digging and get his side of the story.

So, if you read the original article (again: linky), you'd find that Littlejohn's tone is insensitive and coarse, but with the exception of calling out Ms. Meadows by name in the headline, he doesn't really step over any lines in my opinion.  He's a social conservative writer; of course he's going to sound like an abrasive, ignorant bigot.  He's there to attract the pageviews, not the high-brow readers.  That's not really much of a defense, I know, but he didn't call for Ms. Meadows to be sacked or targeted; he just tried to use her situation as a setpiece for his own agenda (whether or not he truly believes the situation is bad for the schoolchildren is unknown).  Or maybe he's just seeking out hot-button topics to get those much-needed page views.  Despicable, yes, but not something to fire him over.

To be honest, this whole thing reeks of a "reverse" witch hunt to me.  It's like the left-wing, appropriately disgusted by Lucy's death, is just looking to stick someone's head on a pike, and that someone happens to be Littlejohn.  Never mind trying to solve the deeper problems that led to her death!  No no no, they want blood.  Besides, in my brief dig, I found no solid evidence that his article caused her suicide.  Lucy could have already been in a rough spot before this whole thing started, and it was simply a catalyst that accelerated her underlying mental problems.  Or maybe not; I don't know, and that's why I don't feel comfortable signing this petition.

In short, until I have reasonable proof that Littlejohn's article led to her suicide, I just don't feel comfortable signing a petition for him to be fired, even if I think he's an ignorant asshole.

PLEASE NOTE!  I don't want this to be taken the wrong way and devolve into coarse words, so let me say it clear: although I'm hesitant to sign the petition, I'm not trying to defend Littlejohn's words or actions.  I'm just trying to bring the opposite side of the controversy to the table and at the same time shed light on my opinion concerning the matter.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 06:53:37 PM by Question Mark »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 07:44:42 PM »
He's there to attract the pageviews,

This is why I haven't signed the petition.  I mention this in case you read this post before the one above.  Littlejohn's job is to attract page views to the Daily Mail.  His payslip may say journalist but his job is attracting page views. 

What he did was despicable, but all the storm of controversy is going to do is feed traffic to the Daily Mail website.  Which is precisely what they want to happen.  You ask how this was allowed to happen, why there was no editorial stop?  Because his hateful and opinionated pieces bring money in to the Mail.  I don't think for one second her or anyone else planned on driving that poor girl to suicide but now it has they will be rubbing their hands in glee.  Their "how many times has this website been looked at" counter doesn't care whether you agree with the piece or think its horrific, it just cares that you have. 

Things like the petition don't say, IMHO, "Get rid of this man" they say "The entire internet is talking about your columnist and generating free publicity for your newspaper."

He's the worst person in the world, he really is.  But signing the petition just makes it more likely he'll stay.

Offline Scribbles

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 07:46:57 PM »
Question Mark,

First off, thanks for giving me pause and the time to step back and actually take stock of the situation. The article is a lot less incendiary than the headline would suggest.

That said, I still believe the petition is a good idea. Littlejohn could have easily made his point without naming and shaming the poor woman on a national scale. I can't imagine such a change is easy and the last thing I think she needed was to have the spotlight over such a personal matter, one which should have been dealt with by the students, teachers and parents involved rather than the entire population. I'm hoping that this petition will encourage more responsible journalism, or even opinion, by the media.

Offline Question Mark

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 07:52:18 PM »
This is why I haven't signed the petition.  I mention this in case you read this post before the one above.  Littlejohn's job is to attract page views to the Daily Mail.  His payslip may say journalist but his job is attracting page views. 

What he did was despicable, but all the storm of controversy is going to do is feed traffic to the Daily Mail website.  Which is precisely what they want to happen.  You ask how this was allowed to happen, why there was no editorial stop?  Because his hateful and opinionated pieces bring money in to the Mail.  I don't think for one second her or anyone else planned on driving that poor girl to suicide but now it has they will be rubbing their hands in glee.  Their "how many times has this website been looked at" counter doesn't care whether you agree with the piece or think its horrific, it just cares that you have. 

Things like the petition don't say, IMHO, "Get rid of this man" they say "The entire internet is talking about your columnist and generating free publicity for your newspaper."

He's the worst person in the world, he really is.  But signing the petition just makes it more likely he'll stay.

They hired him to do a job, and he's doing it.  Like I said, it's despicable, but getting him fired (which won't happen) won't change a damn thing.

Also, you mentioned earlier that he was the worst person in the world, and at the end of this post you mention it again.  Hyperbole?

Question Mark,

First off, thanks for giving me pause and the time to step back and actually take stock of the situation. The article is a lot less incendiary than the headline would suggest.

That said, I still believe the petition is a good idea. Littlejohn could have easily made his point without naming and shaming the poor woman on a national scale. I can't imagine such a change is easy and the last thing I think she needed was to have the spotlight over such a personal matter, one which should have been dealt with by the students, teachers and parents involved rather than the entire population. I'm hoping that this petition will encourage more responsible journalism, or even opinion, by the media.

No problem, thanks for doing so :)

I don't think the petition will accomplish anything.  There will always be nutjob columnists; they're a dime a dozen.  One guy getting fired might make some step a little more lightly, but they'll ramp it back up again once the dust settles.  Really, the petition just does more harm than good.  It's becoming a bandwagon, and the right-wing will paint it as a bandwagon going forward, not as retributive justice.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 08:44:42 PM »
The article linked was ignorant and opinionated, but aside from that, I wouldn't call this article in itself harassment.  I would be interested in seeing more information about the alleged "witch hunt" which is what presumably drove her to suicide. I was under the impression from the op it it was not the article, but a pattern of harassment that was to blame. If this is so, then you need to ask how much is the fault of the writer, and how much is the fault of those who joined in.







Offline Oniya

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2013, 08:55:09 PM »
Now, the press reporters that started hounding her and offering to pay parents for pictures?  They should get a nice fat slice of the blame as well.

I totally agree.

Offline Athos

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2013, 09:47:07 PM »
Petition signed. What an asshole.

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Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2013, 02:34:19 AM »
it is absolutely tragic.  there is a reason the paper is known as the 'daily fascist' if it isn't the lgbt community it is the immigrant community, or the non-white community, or women...

I thought the Daily Mail had long been aiming towards (getting and exploiting) a mostly female readership? /irony/

Would agree that the real job of people like Littlejohn is about shoutability, creating strong "yeees!" or "noooo!" reactions that feed into numbers of page views. I still think he and the paper deserve to be called out on this one though. Rebekah Brooks' career came out of the same kind of general u-turn, which has nothing to do with journalism.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 02:37:40 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Formless

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2013, 04:06:50 AM »
Signed.

Harassment in a public way such as this goes past any morals or ethics. Regardless of the point they want to sound.

And quite frankly Littlejohn is a sample of what most journalists want to be.

If this goes without a resounding echo. Then expect it to spread around the whole Journalism media. People will attack people in public media based on something that may not even be considered wrong.

Regarding the departed. May her soul rest in peace.

Offline !silence

Re: Trans* Teacher's Suicide & the Daily Mail
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2013, 12:02:00 PM »
Signed.

This is just terrible and unfortunately not the only trans-phobic piece which has been published recently. Another one was published online, quite possibly on the Daily Mail's website though I may be wrong, filled to the brim with hate speech. I cannot believe this sort of behaviour is still happening. It really does disgust me.