Lorraine Kelly praised for calling out professor who quit over trans row: ‘You’ve not really been cancelled’

Professor stepped down from her post at the University of Sussex last month after facing protests from students

Louis Chilton
Monday 08 November 2021 16:14
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Lorraine Kelly shuts down claims that former university professor was 'silenced' over trans row

Lorraine Kelly has been praised for an interview with controversial academic Kathleen Stock in which she shut down the idea that Stock had been “cancelled”.

Stock recently stepped down from her role as a philosophy professor at the University of Sussex, after being criticised for her stance on transgender rights.

Appearing on Kelly’s ITV morning chat show Lorraine, the professor spoke with Kelly about her views on trans rights legislation and free speech, telling the host that it was “good that we’re talking about this now”.

She added: “I think people have looked at my situation and said ‘hang on a minute, how has this happened in a university, which is supposed to be about exploring ideas?’ But on the other hand, there’s still a bunch of people out there that really don’t want me to have this conversation. And they are influential too.”

Later in the conversation, Kelly said: “There’s this whole thing, isn’t there, about ‘cancel culture.’ But you’ve not really been ‘cancelled’. Because you walked away from your job. You did resign. Why did you not stay? Because the university in the end supported you, didn’t they?”

She added: “Again, with the cancel thing... You’re talking to me, you’ve been on Woman’s Hour. Your book’s been reprinted. You actually, in a way, have more of a voice now than you probably did before.”

“And I’m gonna use it,” replied Stock, after agreeing with the host.

Viewers shared their praise for the interaction on social media.

“@reallorraine doing sterling work on @lorraine calling out the fake ‘cancel culture’ claim often used by ‘gender critical’ transphobes,” wrote one person.

“Dr Kathleen Stock OBE finally met her match in Lorraine Kelly. Probably thought she was just a cosy daytime TV host who was going to fawn all over her, like Woman’s Hour did. Wrong!” wrote someone else.

“Quitting your job and then appearing all over daytime TV and massively boosting your profile in the process is not being ‘cancelled’. Credit where its due to Lorraine Kelly for doing actual journalism,” wrote another viewer.

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Posting on Twitter after the interview, Stock wrote: “Thanks @reallorraine for having me. I can see Twitter dissent but I think it’s totally fine for us to disagree - that’s what we want, don’t we, open discussion? Otherwise I’d be no better than those who want me fired.”

Last month, Stock stepped down from her position at the University of Sussex after students had called for Stock’s removal in a series of peaceful protests.

Among the reasons for their calls for Stock to step down was her endorsement of a controversial declaration by the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (WHRC).

The document, published last year, had a stated aim to “reaffirm the sex-based rights of women and girls”. Critics of the declaration have condemned it as an attack on trans rights, with one legal academic and human rights specialist characterising parts of its contents as a “call for the removal of transgender persons from public life”.

Stock is also a trustee of the LGB Alliance, an organisation which has been heavily criticised by many LGBT+ people and organisations for its stances on trans issues. Earlier this year, the Labour party’s equalities chief Taiwo Owatemi said that the organisation should be “rejected by all those who believe in equality”.

At the start of 2021, the decision to award Stock an OBE was protested in a letter signed by more than 600 academics.

Stock has strongly denied she is transphobic. Announcing her decision to leave the university, she said that the last few years had been “very difficult”, describing it as “an absolutely horrible time” for her and her family.

The Independent has contacted Stock’s representative for comment.

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