Hundreds of staff and contractors at the Guardian have signed a strongly worded letter to the editor in protest of the newspaper’s “pattern of publishing transphobic content”.
The letter, which was sent to Katharine Viner on Friday night, has 338 signatories from across multiple departments at the title, and in every region — from senior editorial staff in the UK, the US, and Australia to employees in the commercial, digital, and technical departments.
It has been passed to BuzzFeed News on the understanding that the individual names would not be published. Among the signatories are household names with international reputations and long-standing tenures at both the Guardian and its sister Sunday title, the Observer.
The letter, which was organised over the last few days in response to a column by Suzanne Moore that has been widely criticised as anti-trans, said the staff were "deeply distressed" by the resignation of a transgender member of staff who said they'd received anti-trans comments from "influential editorial staff" and who criticised the publication of the Moore's column at the editorial morning conference.
The column was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the trans employee said, following a series of pieces that pitted trans people against women and against women’s rights. One leader article — the publicly stated position of the newspaper — claimed that trans rights are in “collision” with women’s rights.
The letter points out that this was the third trans staff member to resign over alleged anti-trans bias.
Earlier on Friday, Viner, along with chief executive Annette Thomas, emailed all staff defending its decision to publish pieces that “never shy away from difficult or divisive subjects” and pledging to represent “a wide range of view on many topics”.
The editor and CEO then castigated staff for publicly criticising the work of coworkers: “It is never acceptable to attack colleagues whose views you do not agree with, whether in meetings, on email, publicly or on social media.”
This is the full letter from staff to the editor:
As employees across the Guardian, we are deeply distressed by the resignation of another trans colleague in the UK, the third in less than a year.
We feel it is critical that the Guardian do more to become a safe and welcoming workplace for trans and non-binary people.
We are also disappointed in the Guardian’s repeated decision to publish anti-trans views. We are proud to work at a newspaper which supports human rights and gives voice to people underrepresented in the media. But the pattern of publishing transphobic content has interfered with our work and cemented our reputation as a publication hostile to trans rights and trans employees.
We strongly support trans equality and want to see the Guardian live up to its values and do the same.
We look forward to working with Guardian leadership to address these pressing concerns, and request a response by 11 March.
Below is a list of 338 of Guardian employees globally who signed this letter at the time of writing.