On July 6th, 2023, The Sun published an article titled, “Sick trans activists smashed up restaurant just because JK Rowling attended a Ukraine charity event there“. However, look deeper into this story, and there are serious flaws.
Perhaps look no further than the story’s author, trans-hostile Gender Critical (GC) journalist Julie Bindel?
“Gender-critical feminism, also known as trans-exclusionary radical feminism or its acronym TERF, is an ideology or movement that opposes what it refers to as “gender ideologyGender Ideology A made-up term used by Gender Critical and Anti-Trans organisations.”, the concept of gender identity and transgender rights.”
“These views have been described as transphobic by other feminists and some scholars and are opposed by many feminist and LGBT rights organisations.”
Bing AI chat says this about GC people:
“Gender-critical people deny trans people’s lived truth and oppose trans people’s rights”.
While Google’s Bard said:
“The term “Gender Critical” is often used to describe people who believe that gender is a social construct and that there are only two sexes, male and female. Some people who identify as Gender Critical may also hold transphobic views, but this is not always the case. Transphobic views can manifest as discrimination, harassment, or violence against transgender people.“
The history of GC ideology goes back to the 1970s, with one of the founders of this movement, Janice Raymond, writing this about trans people: “The problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence“.
According to Julie Bindel’s article in The Sun, trans activists started attacking Il Portico after its owner James Chiavarini hosted a charity dinner attended by several GC people, and there is certainly evidence to show a charity event did take place, raising £18,500. Ms Bindel then writes this:
“When James exposed this on Twitter, one activist responded with “Julie Bindel retweeted it!”, presumably to “expose” James as my friend and seal his fate. James was called a homophobe, Nazi and bigot by trans activists — all for hosting a charity event for children in Ukraine.
But worse was to come. Later that week, James arrived at the restaurant to discover broken glass on the pavement. He said: “Someone, I’m guessing the trans activists, had smashed the windows, gone into the restaurant and rummaged around for a few minutes before leaving empty-handed.”
However, when James Chiavarini tweeted the news of his restaurant being damaged, he used different words, saying:
“In the same week as the online accusations of being homophobe for sticking up for JK Rowling and Suzanne Moore, followed the fake bad reviews, now someone has smashed in the windows at portico and ransacked the place. Could obviously be a coincidence, but what a few days!
Note in his tweet; there was no allegation of trans activists being involved at all.
Chiavarini says he’s puzzled by the whole thing. “Am I transphobic? No! I couldn’t give a monkey’s. Besides, we literally exist because we welcome everyone; it’s how we pay the mortgage. Challenging transphobia and standing up for trans rights are both fundamentally important, now more than ever”.
Now to be clear, the attack on Il Portico occurred in June 2022. However, skip forward to May 27th, 2023, and LBC re-hashed the story publishing an article suggesting trans activists were leaving Il Portico false consumer reviews.
Did they publish any evidence?
Their article said:
After Il Portico’s sister restaurant teamed up with JK Rowling to raise £24,000 for those affected by Ukraine, James says he became the target for activists who disagree with the author’s views.
In June last year, Il Portico had its windows smashed following the fundraiser, though James was unable to prove exactly who carried out the attacks.
Note the £18,500 raised at the charity event had inflated to £24,000 and confirmation that no one knows who attacked Il Portico in June 2022.
Indeed, according to the Home Office, there were an estimated 40,000 acts of shop window vandalism in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022. Most of these occurred in urban areas, with London having the highest rate of shop window vandalism.
TransLucent.Org.UK condemns acts of vandalism towards all business owners, including James Chiavarini, and we note that his consumer reviews are high on all review websites. We also acknowledge that the GC movement includes some more reasonable people who may be described as “soft GC.” Not everyone wants trans people mandated of existence. We reached out to James Chiavarini by email on the 10th and 13th of July, asking these questions:
At this stage, could you kindly confirm:
(1) Is there any evidence trans activist extremists made the attacks against you?
(2) Has anyone been charged?
(3) What incidents (if any) have occurred in the last three months?
(4) Are you quoted correctly in The Sun article, and do you stand by those comments?
(5) Do you welcome trans people at your restaurant?
Sadly, to date, Mr Chiavarini has not replied. We were also going to ask him why he follows many influential gender-critical and horrifically transphobic people on Twitter? An error? Perhaps eventually, he will let us know?
We believe The Sun’s headline is prejudiced against the trans community and, by definition, transphobic – not that they will care because the fact is most newspapers, including The Sun, are not independently regulated means they can publish almost anything without accountability.
But not always.
As an organisation, we must question why Julie Bindel wrote an article about an event that occurred 13 months ago. We note her story in The Sun does not mention the date of the window being damaged, and we suspect this was intentional so to cast the trans community in a bad light, making the vandalism look like a recent event.
We condemn all newspapers and journalists who drive transphobia, which has resulted in trans hate crime being at record levels – indeed, in the last year, hate crime against the trans community has rocketed by 56%. Newspaper articles are much to blame for the increase in hate crime, and the fact is that in the last decade, trans-hostile reports like that written by Julie Bindel and published in The Sun have risen by an incredible 12000%.
We believe The Suns’ article is discriminatory and, because of the time-lapse, amounts to harassment of a marginalised, demonised, and targeted community.
The Suns’ article could be considered as instigating hate and possibly harassment of a protected group, and we have already reported it to the appropriate authorities. Indeed, The Sun has a history of being highly controversial and has been fined many times.
Transphobia must always be called out, and TransLucent will always do that when possible. In the meantime, if you are part of the LGBT community or an ally, when in Kensington, perhaps be careful where you eat?
We asked The Sun for a comment, but at the time of publication, they had not replied.