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India Willoughby: Bigot Dame Jenni should be fired for attack on trans women


Dame Jenny Murray was writing in The Sunday Times Magazine

Dame Jenny Murray was writing in The Sunday Times Magazine

Dame Jenny Murray was writing in The Sunday Times Magazine

Transgender news journalist India Willoughby has branded Dame Jenni Murray a "bigot" and called for her to be sacked by the BBC for her controversial remarks about trans women.

Dame Jenni cited Willoughby an an example when she questioned whether someone who has enjoyed the privileges of growing up as a man could really be a woman.

The broadcaster wrote about meeting the journalist in The Sunday Times Magazine, saying: "India held firmly to her belief that she was a 'real woman', ignoring the fact that she had spent all of her life before her transition enjoying the privileged position in our society generally accorded to a man.

"In a discussion about the Dorchester Hotel's demands that its female staff should always wear make-up, have a manicure and wear stockings over shaved legs, she was perfectly happy to go along with such requirements.

"There wasn't a hint of understanding that she was simply playing into the stereotype, a man's idea of what a woman should be."

But Willoughby said: "I pointed out the rule applied to men and women but Jenni was fixated on leg shaving.

"She and Woman's Hour have subsequently tried to portray me as someone who believes all women must have perfectly shaved legs at all times, which quite frankly is ridiculous.

"Fake news but it suits the storyline that she and Woman's Hour like to project. Namely that women like me don't understand women like her.

"I called Jenni transphobic that day - and I haven't changed my mind since."

Willoughby described Dame Jenni's article in the magazine as a "patronising, nasty and bitchy attack on the trans community", adding: "A Dame? Only in the joke pantomime sense."

She continued: "Jenni talks about trans women growing up with 'male privilege'. As if we have a great time and, then on a whim, jump ship.

"Honestly, I wouldn't wish being trans on anyone, even Jenni. 'Male privilege' was never a privilege to me and is not something I benefited from.

"Sadly, bigots who hold these sort of deluded views are on every corner, so you just have to feel good about yourself and live your life positively in the hope that one day soon people like Jenni will be replaced by a new generation of open-minded, kind-hearted, intelligent people who will want to draw a line under this sort of behaviour once and for all.

"The fact that she's still allowed to host Woman's Hour while spouting this bile is ridiculous and she should finally be sacked.

"The world has changed and, as a public-funded broadcaster the BBC know that more than anyone, Jenni Murray is a dinosaur and we all know what happened to them.

"Let's hope a similar extinction is coming for her in the not too distant future."

Representatives for Radio 4 and Dame Jenni have been contacted for comment.

A BBC spokesperson said: "Jenni Murray is a freelance journalist and these were her own views.

"However, we have reminded her that presenters should remain impartial on controversial topics covered by their BBC programmes."

PA Media