Cancel all the things

You read about one no-platforming and learn of another, so you read about that one and learn of another, so –

– it may be that the loop goes on forever.

I was reading Derrick Jensen’s response to his no-platforming, and found a generalized reference to another:

I’m not alone. All over the world women and their male allies routinely get blacklisted and much worse over this issue. An entire conference in the UK had to be canceled after death and rape threats against the owners of the venue–who were bystanders in this: they merely owned the venue–because one of the presenters believes that women should be allowed to have their own spaces.

So I tried Google, and found a story in the Camden New Journal from May 2013:

A COMMUNITY centre has abandoned plans to host a controversial “radical feminism” conference amid fears for public ­safety.

The London Irish Centre, in Camden Town, said it did not have the “manpower” to deal with the RadFem conference after receiving threatening phone calls over its initial decision to accept the booking. It has contacted police and warned activists not to turn up in June.

There have been angry debates online about the nature of the conference, the tone of which has raised alarm.

While RadFem campaigners insist it should go ahead at the Camden Square building, demonstrators, including those who label themselves “men’s rights activists”, say the conference must be stopped.

In one of the more bizarre points of debate, some men’s rights activists claim RadFem wants to reduce the male population of the United Kingdom to just 10 per cent.

But it wasn’t just MRAs, in fact MRAs may have just latched onto the “debate” to hitch a ride.

There have been vociferous debates about RadFem’s decisions not to allow transgender women into their groups, with some members claiming they are men trying to infiltrate their work. The centre said it could not risk being unable to “safeguard the area” around Camden Square.

The centre’s decision follows a controversy at Conway Hall, in Holborn, last year when a booking for the conference was torn up because of “issues around discrimination and equality legislation”.

So then I had to Google for that one. It was July 2012:

In consultation with the organisers of RadFem 2012 and our legal advisors, Conway Hall has decided not to allow the booking in July 2012 to proceed. This is because it does not conform to our Terms and Conditions for hiring rooms at Conway Hall. In addition, we are not satisfied it conforms with the Equality Act (2010), or reflects our ethos regarding issues of discrimination.

We had sought assurances that the organisers would allow access to all, in order to enable the event to proceed at the venue. We also expressed concern that particular speakers would need to be made aware that whilst welcoming progressive thinking and debate, Conway Hall seeks to uphold inclusivity in respect of both legal obligations and as a principle.

In the absence of the assurances we sought, the event in its proposed form could not proceed at Conway Hall*.

That said, we recognise the breadth of debate to be had amongst the feminist and transgender communities and it is our sincere hope that there will be constructive and positive dialogue on these matters going forward.

In response to Sheila Jeffreys’ online Guardian article in their ‘Comment is free’ section, dated 29th May 2012, we would like it to be known that Conway Hall has in the past made clear that speakers / attendees at events for other hirers will not be permitted where we have felt that these individuals have expressed and may express (on our premises) views which conflict with our ethos, principles, and culture; the reference to David Irving was simply one of the examples given.

Related: The Scarlett Alliance in Tasmania has failed in their campaign to have visiting Professor Sheila Jeffreys banned from speaking at a Staff Seminar at the University of Tasmania Law School and a Public Forum at the Friends Meeting House in Hobart.

See what I mean? It could go on forever and ever…

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