Former Brexit Party MEP Baroness Fox of Buckley has been banned from delivering a talk at a university about cancel culture – for retweeting a joke by comedian Ricky Gervais deemed “transphobic”. The peer, formerly known as Claire Fox was left baffled and angry after being disinvited by the debating society at Royal Holloway, University of London, and aired her grievances in a speech delivered to the House of Lords last night.
Baroness Fox had been scheduled to speak on “the importance of debate” in the society’s first in-person talk since the pandemic, having been cleared to do so by the Royal Holloway Students Union after what yesterday told fellow peers were “onerous checks” which concluded there was “no evidence I was a hate monger or a threat”.
However, just a week before she was due to speak, the debating society cancelled her scheduled appearance.
She added: “What happened? Once the event was advertised, the same student union bureaucrats claimed that six societies that raise concerns about me coming on campus the evidence for which was that I retweeted a clip from a comic on Netflix.”
Baroness Fox read an email she said had been sent to the debating society by student union president Maia Jarvis asking officials if they had “thought about the impact of bringing a person who is an advocate of hate towards trans people and publicly ridicules them, and the whether you are comfortable with the fact that that is the message your society is sending out to our trans students”.
The 62-year-old ex-Revolutionary Communist Party member continued: “This email was used as a form of coercive control and pressure to badger the debating society to cancel my talk, based on the specious slur that I have a history of sustained hate speech.
“The message to the debating society was clear – my presence on campus would cause trouble and would damage the reputation of the debating society’s officers.”
She continued: “The Student Union bullied a society into disinviting a speaker they wanted to listen to.
“This is not about me. Yes, my freedom of speech was curtailed, but much, much more significantly, while the student union didn’t formally cancel the talk their hostile reaction created a situation in which students who are keen to hear different opinions were denied the right to do so on a university campus.”
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Baroness Fox said she subsequently invited a small delegation of students to Parliament “for tea and cake”, adding: “We talked through this issue and their frustration was totally real and their anger too.
“One young woman he described herself as a trans ally, had always believed that cancelled culture was an exaggerated culture was true.
“She told me that she knew I had bigoted views, but they weren’t that bad and at least I was tolerant.
“She came to see me and said that she was horrified at the events.
“She said that she would have taken me on in the debate, and that was the very point of inviting me in the first place, that we’d have a debate and a discussion.”
The offending tweet, posted on May 24, she shared a clip of a joke by the former Office star in which he compared “the old-fashioned women, you know, the ones with wombs” with “new ones we’ve been seeing lately with beards and c****”, which he aired in SuperNature, his last Netflix special.
Baroness Fox commented: “Whole trans-identity ideology skewered in a mere 1, yes 1, minute.
“And all delivered through the prism of an exasperated ridiculing of ‘old fashioned’, ‘dinosaur’ women with wombs, like me. I own up. And I laughed. Kudos to @rickygervais for this.”
Express.co.uk has contacted both the RHSU and Royal Holloway, University of London for comment.