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The Royal Academy and Belief Discrimination

Sex Matters has written to the Royal Academy about Jess de Wahls. You can download our letter.

Jess de Wahls is a textile artist. Her work tackles feminism, misogyny and fetishism. She has expressed her gender-critical views, most notably in an essay she posted in 2019, and since then has been targeted by activists.

The flood of hate-mail I received, the never ending attempts at emotional blackmail, the name calling and general vibe of a modern-day witch-hunt was palpable. It was nauseating.

They drove her out of her part-time gig as an independent hair stylist at London’s Soho Theatre:

The pressure mounted and despite having held a friendly relationship with many who worked there for many many years, the bullies kept circling in, the threads of a social media campaigns against Soho Theatre kept growing, and my days working there were absolutely numbered..,There were staff-meetings and even a board meeting held about the Heretic that was me (it stills baffles me…) and then finally, after a long chat with the management, I offered to leave, and I did.

Now a full-time artist with a flourishing career, she wrote last year:

I am now in a position to make art, be loud, ask uncomfortable questions, without having to worry about anybody contacting my place of work.

But recently activists found out that her work is being stocked by the Royal Academy shop and sought to do the same thing, sending and posting accusations of “transphobia”.

The Royal Academy quickly buckled, putting out this statement on Instagram.

This is belief discrimination, and breaches Jess Wahls’ rights under the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. We have written to the Royal Academy, and to the Charity Commission and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which support it, to raise the issue and to highlight Jess Wahls’ human rights, which they have ignored in their rush to appease the mob.