Following a day of growing anger at the article written by Julie Burchill and published by the Observer on Sunday, January 13, John Mulholland the editor of the Observer has withdrawn the offending article on line and issued the following statement.
“We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers’ Editor will report on these issues at greater length.”
Former equalites minister, Lynne Featherstone MP led the calls for Burchill to be sacked by the Observer from writing her regular column.
Toby Young a regular blogger on the Telegraph website said the decision by the Observer to withdraw the article was “a disgrace”. He reproduced the article unedited on the Telegraph website saying: “Julie Burchill has given me permission to reprint the article the Observer has seen fit to unpublish. This is the full text”.
Burchill got herself embroiled in the controversy after defending her friend, writer Suzanne Moore who had upset many people by her comments about “Brazilian transsexuals”. Burchill piece was titled “Transsexuals should cut it out.” and in it she called transgender people “screaming mimis”, “bed-wetters in bad wigs” and “dicks in chicks’ clothing” among other unpleasant phrases.