Laura Kuenssberg: Petition calling for BBC political editor to be sacked removed over misogynist abuse

The campaign group 38 Degrees say the petition was hijacked by sexist trolls

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 10 May 2016 15:21
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The campaigner who initially posted the petition has distanced himself from the trolls who hijacked the campaign
The campaigner who initially posted the petition has distanced himself from the trolls who hijacked the campaign

A petition calling for BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg to be sacked has been taken down after it became a focal point for sexist abuse.

The petition, which was signed by more than 35,000 people, claimed the 39-year-old Scottish journalist was biased against Labour in her coverage of the May elections and her wider political reporting.

But Campaign group 38 Degrees said the petition became dominated by misogynist abuse and they decided to take it down with the agreement of the person who initially started it.

“I am really concerned that a petition hosted on the 38 Degrees website has been hijacked, and used as a focal point for sexist and hateful abuse made towards Laura Kuenssberg on twitter,” David Babbs, the Executive Director of 38 Degrees said in a statement given to The Independent.

“That is totally unacceptable and, with the agreement of the petition starter, we’ve taken the petition down to prevent it being used in this way,” Mr Babbs added. “There is no place in the 38 Degrees family for sexism or any form of discrimination or hate speech.”

The campaigner who posted the petition has distanced himself from the trolls who disrupted his campaign. “I would like to reassure everyone that I am a passionate advocate for equality in all areas, not just gender equality,” he said in a statement posted to 38 Degree’s website.

“This petition has precisely zero to do with gender. As a result of the sexist trolls who have attempted to derail my petition, I have decided to take it down.”

On Sunday, Labour MP Jess Phillips argued the campaign to get Kuenssberg sacked was underscored by misogynism.

“I have to say, I think attack on Laura Kuenssberg is underlined with institutional sexism by people who dont even know they are perpetrators,” Ms Phillips wrote on Twitter.

The decision to take down the petition down has drawn a mixed response. While some commended the decision to remove it, others said the emphasis should remain on her reporting.

A representative for Kuenssberg declined to comment.

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