In breach of our own risk assessments

The Guardian two days ago:

The NSPCC has offered the trans activist Munroe Bergdorf a “full, frank and unreserved apology” for abruptly cutting ties with her in the face of social media criticism of her appointment.

The child protection charity announced last week it would have “no ongoing relationship” with Bergdorf, 48 hours after she told her Twitter followers how proud she was to have become the first LGBT+ campaigner for its counselling service Childline.

Bergdorf, a model, said she had not been contacted by the charity before it issued its statement abruptly ending their relationship with her and, in a letter seen by the Guardian, nearly 150 NSPCC employees spoke of their “embarrassment and shame” at their employer’s decision.

The story does eventually get to why the NSPCC dropped Bergdorf, but it’s way down the page.

[Peter] Wanless [the CEO] said the decision to cut ties with Bergdorf – which was made by the charity’s board of trustees – was nothing to do with the fact that she was transgender.

He explained: “The board decided an ongoing relationship with Munroe was inappropriate because of her statements on the public record, which we felt would mean that she was in breach of our own risk assessments and undermine what we are here to do.”

Bergdorf had been been criticised for inviting children to get in touch with her directly on social media. The NSPCC had also faced criticism on social media that she was an inappropriate “sexualised” role model for children, and accusations that she was a “porn model”.

Does Bergdorf seem ideal as an ambassador for a child protection charity? Not to me. There are people who groom children for prostitution or personal rape or both, and having a sexualized (without scare quotes) trans woman as a child protection ambassador looks a tad grooming-like. (Why a trans woman especially? Because it’s mostly not women who groom children into prostitution.)

So why did the NSPCC invite Bergdorf to be an ambassador in the first place? Apparently it was the idea of the NSPCC’s Celebrity and Talent manager, James Makings.

Meet James Makings:

Earlier this week the news broke on Twitter that James Makings, Celebrity and Talent Manager at the NSPCC, had made rubber-themed pornography at work.

One film linked to the leading children’s charity employee was titled ‘Cub Pisses and Wanks in Rubber at Work’ – a still from the film features a childish cartoon animal placed strategically over what seems to be Makings’ penis.

This was a new act in a larger drama that has seen the NSPCC attacked from all sides. Makings was responsible for recruiting controversial transgender activist and glamour model Munroe Bergdorf as an NSPCC ambassador.  The appointment of Bergdorf, who has no background in child protection, attracted a raft of criticism after it was revealed the model was found to have advised children struggling with their sexuality or identity to ‘drop me a message on insta’.

Ok but surely we’re not going to kink-shame this nice fella, are we?

Many of those who accused the NSPCC of transphobia following the decision to drop Bergdorf have now rallied to support Makings, the Celebrity and Talent Manager and amateur pornographer at the charity. Those who have raised concerns about the employment of a man who makes pornography from the offices of a children’s charity have been smeared as homophobic, as if being gay absolves one from the responsibility of behaving appropriately at work.

Coverage of the issue from Pink News identified a tweet in which Makings was called a ‘perverted narcissist’ as evidence of apparent homophobia.

In a statement the NSPCC said: ‘We have been made aware of the images. The NSPCC has guidance for social media and if there was a problem, we would take action.’ One might ask why making pornography at work is not seen as a ‘problem’ and why the NSPCC are standing by someone who has such disregard for sexual boundaries.

See, it’s at work. At work at the NSPCC. In a multi-cubicle toilet. With film posted online.

High profile figures, including Guardian journalists Owen Jones and Dawn Foster, stepped in to support the NSPPC in standing by their employee- as if filming oneself masturbating in office lavatories while wrapped in PVC was an intrinsic part of being gay. To my mindset, the old trope that gay men are fetishist perverts is in itself homophobic.

Arguably, what is most fascinating about this case is how acceptable it has become to perform fetishes in public, and how male sexual behaviour that clearly over-steps the bounds of acceptability, is ignored for fear of accusations of ‘phobia.’ That not one outlet has to date covered what is in affect a national safeguarding scandal at the heart of the UK’s biggest children’s charity is a testament to the power men hold when they protect one another’s interests.

Boundaries? What boundaries? Away with all boundaries!

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