BBC cuts transphobic porn star from reviled anti-trans article – but refuses to delete it

·4-min read

The BBC has removed its platforming of transphobic porn star Lily Cade and admitted that it was aware of “inappropriate behaviour” before its infamous anti-trans article was published.

On 26 October, the BBC published an article that claimed trans women were pressuring cisgender lesbians into sex, and included an interview with Cade, an openly transphobic former porn performer and director who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault.

Despite an open letter, signed by more than 20,000 people, slamming the story for suggesting that “transgender women generally pose a risk to cisgender lesbians in great enough numbers that it is newsworthy” when the reality is this is “a matter of incredibly rare, isolated experiences”, the broadcaster has stubbornly continued to defend the story as “worthy of investigation”.

But this week, Cade went a step too far even for the BBC, releasing five blog posts overflowing with extreme hate speech, including calls for trans women to be “executed” and “lynched”.

Over a week after the story was first published, on Thursday (4 November) the BBC removed references to Cade from the article, yet has still refused to take down the piece.

An addendum now added to the article reads: “We have updated this article, published last week, to remove a contribution from one individual in light of comments she has published on blog posts in recent days, which we have been able to verify.

“We acknowledge that an admission of inappropriate behaviour by the same contributor should have been included in the original article.”

The “inappropriate behaviour” refers to sexual abuse allegations made against Cade over the years, by a number of women, which were mentioned by Cade herself in her blog posts.

She wrote: “If a rapist is someone who is accused in public of sexual misconduct, then I am a rapist.

“So, too, are three of your last four presidents, the men who sit in your halls of power, and the men who make judgments over your laws. So are all of your heroes, and you know it, and you don’t care.

“If a rapist is someone who pays women to have sex that they don’t actually want to have, then I am a goddamn f**king rapist, and your world is run by rapists.”

Trans sex worker and activist Chelsea Poe, who the BBC interviewed for the story but deemed irrelevant, previously told PinkNews that she made the broadcaster aware of the allegations against Cade.

The BBC published the story anyway.

The BBC maintains that its one-sided, anti-trans story is an ‘important piece of journalism’

Despite the fact that the almost 4,000-word story does not contain a single interview with anyone that disagrees that lesbians are being coerced into sex by trans women, the BBC doggedly insists that it abides by its own impartiality rules and was subject to a “rigorous editorial process”.

A BBC spokesperson told PinkNews: “This is an important piece of journalism that raises issues that should be discussed.

“We have updated this article, published last week, to remove a contribution from one individual in light of comments she has published on blog posts in recent days, which we have now been able to verify.

“We acknowledge that an admission of inappropriate behaviour by the same contributor should have been included in the original article.”

Trans Activism UK, which released the initial open letter against the BBC article, issued a statement titled: “The BBC quietly removing Lily Cade isn’t enough.”

The group said: “While the BBC have removed the quotes and statements by Lily Cade from the article, they did not mention Lily Cade by name in the retraction, or the nature of her genocidal transphobic manifesto in the days following the BBC’s article, the nature of the sexual assault allegations against her by cisgender lesbians, how they undermine the core point of the original article (that sexual assaults of cis lesbians are specifically being done by trans women as an overall societal group), or that Caroline Lowbridge was well aware of those allegations prior to the publishing of the article and chose to bury that information, as alleged by Chelsea Poe.”

It added: “By choosing to remove all mention of Lily Cade, rather than contextualise her as a cisgender lesbian accused of the same crimes levied in the piece against trans women, the BBC is again choosing to bury the rebuttal arguement that anyone from any background can be an abuser, and that to paint this as a trans woman specific issue is painting a minority group with a single brush stroke… This is not sufficient as a correction, or apology.

“The BBC needs to own up to the fact they have published something deeply dangerous, platformed dangerous individuals, and should not be allowed to quietly sweep this under the rug.”

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