Julie Burchill’s book on cancel culture pulled over Islam tweets
Publisher says critical comments were ‘not defensible‘
Journalist Julie Burchill’s book on cancel culture has been scrapped by her publisher for what it said were Islamophobic comments.
Ms Burchill and Hachette confirmed the company was pulling out of the deal to publish Welcome to the Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics, which was promoted as a “characteristically irreverent and entertaining” indictment of the “outrage mob”.
Cancel culture – also known as call-out culture – is a form of ostracism in which someone is excluded from professional or social circles, either on social media, in the real world, or both.
Hachette subsidiary Little, Brown and Company said Ms Burchill’s comments on Islam were “not defensible from a moral or intellectual standpoint”.
The writer previously made comments critical of Islam and on Sunday became embroiled in a Twitter spat with journalist Ash Sarkar, a Muslim.
Ms Sarkar tweeted: “Julie Burchill, who once I suppose was a well-regarded journalist, has quite openly subjected me to Islamophobia on here. I’m a big girl – it’s not going to upset me – but I do find it strange that none of her colleagues or friends in the industry seems to have a problem with it.”
Little, Brown said in a statement: “We will no longer be publishing Julie Burchill’s book. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We believe passionately in freedom of speech at Little, Brown and we have always published authors with controversial or challenging perspectives – and we will continue to do so.
“While there is no legal definition of hate speech in the UK, we believe that Julie’s comments on Islam are not defensible from a moral or intellectual standpoint, that they crossed a line with regard to race and religion, and that her book has now become inextricably linked with those views.”
Burchill has been a well-known writer in the UK and further afield since the 1980s and is a correspondent at The Sunday Telegraph.
Updated: December 16, 2020 05:15 PM