To Maya Forstater


Dear Maya,

I hope you don’t mind me writing to you here, but as you’ve commented previously on my blog, I thought I’d use this as an occasion to correct a conspiracy theory which you (and other people) have been sharing about me online.

On 7 December 2022, you wrote on Twitter that I had “recorded Allison Bailey’s private phone conversation in order to shop her for wrong-think”:

This is a common belief among Gender Critical feminists; however it is untrue.

Part 1 (of 4): Showing that it is a lie

The best way for me to show that it is untrue is by referring you to the judgment in the Bailey case. Of the 400 paragraphs in the judgment only one of them refers more than in passing to me. This is what that para says in its entirety:

If you look at it now, you’ll see that what you wrote on Twitter was untrue. Did I “recor[d] Allison Bailey’s private phone conversation”? No. Did I “shop her”, i.e. share anything with her employer? No. Leaving aside the fact that we’re barristers and there is no employer – I spoke to one other member of chambers – a junior member of chambers like me, with no position of authority. I said that Allison Bailey’s behaviour in criticising fellow members of chambers to the press had been inappropriate, and when I was asked whether I wanted to go further with that said, No. After that, nothing happened.

Did I criticise her “for wrong-think”? In the final, bracketed sentence, the Tribunal was saying that they heard what my evidence, that I had been annoyed by my colleague speaking inappropriately in our room, that was all that had been going on, and they believed me.

I appreciate that you have only read a small part of the documents from the case, and that you have been simply repeating what you read online. But the untruth you have been sharing has been using by other people to cause me harm.

Part 2: Origins of the conspiracy theory

My marginal involvement in Allison Bailey’s case received no significant online discussion until 5 May 2022, when a person I will call “BT” posted the following message on Twitter:

I invite you to look again at that final sentence and read it yourself a couple of times.

The tweet was widely read, with 950 likes within a day, 163 retweets and led to a thread containing discussion of the case and speculations about my identity.

Part 3: BT tried (again) to summon a mob against me

BT waited a week, and then she posted again. On 12 May, she wrote:

In response, other Gender Criticals called me, “the Stasi”, a “fucking grass,” a “stool pigeon,” a racist, a “snitch,” a “stoolie,” an “idiot,” a “shit,” and “vile”.

BT’s tweet of 12 May was (again) widely read, with again over 900 likes, over 250 retweets and led to her followers sleuthing about me, my full name, my family, who I might have known at school or in later life, my career as a barrister. etc.

BT had coined the verb “spy”, and you can see its use and development by other people who responded to her and denounced me:

I have also had to endure BT’s followers writing to my chambers and calling, in not very coded terms, for them to remove me.

Part 4: A member of BT’s audience made death threats against me

One of the tweeters – who I’ve chosen not to anonymise – fantasised about shooting me:

That message was still on BT’s wall, not challenged or corrected, a week after she had originally posted.

In conclusion, I hope you will understand that by continuing to share this message, you have awakened what has been an unpleasant moment for me.

Obviously, there are lots of other places where we disagree. But I am sure you would accept that the way I have been treated since May has been inappropriate, and I would ask you to retract your tweet about me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s