Anthony Watson, millionaire advisor to UK Labour on LGBT issues and ‘diversity’ tsar, has been getting increasingly annoyed at what he peremptorily decided was ‘transphobia’, deciding, in his self-righteous rage as guardian of the undefended, that he must call out and denounce all who had the nerve to offer dissenting opinions on trans-activism. To that end, he put together an open letter pledging his undying solidarity and that of gay men, to trans-activism, and hundreds of gay men signed on.
So far, so good.
But Mr. Watson wasn’t done. Having published the letter, he naturally moved on to trying to condemn and demonise all those with ‘gender-critical’ views, that category of women dismissed as ‘TERFs’, and decided the first object of his wrath must Ms. Helen Joyce, Finance Editor at the Economist. Consistent with the current culture of tagging employers on social media and hounding them to fire or get rid of any employee whom online activism decides to target, he sent out the following tweet, revealing to the Economist that their finance editor was a feminist with gender critical views, more appropriately named by trans-activism as a ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’, a term oozing with misogyny and male entitlement in every syllable–but that’s a discussion for another day.
But Anthony wasn’t done. After another day of tweets in which he smeared Martina Navratilova as also being transphobic, a Twitter user suggested he should actually confront, in a civil debate, the men and women he was liberally painting as ‘bigots’.
Helen Joyce, the most recent object of his ire, agreed.
Ms. Joyce, keen to keep the conversation public since Mr. Watson had previously shown he was willing to caricature her positions to her employers, also offered to collaborate on any dates so that all interested could attend.
But Mr. Watson it appears, has a very specific idea of when and where he can be debated. He launched a series of tweets (some of which he has since deleted) where he peremptorily demanded that she debate him at #EconPride–an event she insists she won’t be invited to and has no influence over–and derailed into a full-blown tantrum in which he repeated that he would debate her at that event, and only that event. For the rest of Twitter, this was a hilarious display of both raging entitlement and the arrogance of a man who realised that he could not get what he wanted–especially free tickets. The conversation is worth memorialising.
Since Ms. Joyce is an Editor, and not an Executive and therefore had no control over the high-profile event Mr. Watson was suggesting, she explained the same.
Joyce reiterated that she had no control over the event he was referring to, but was more than happy to have a debate at a time and place that they could mutually agree upon. But Watson, strangely, did not seem to want to debate at any time or place other than that, and went on to insinuate that since Joyce held a senior position, she could easily wrangle free tickets for him.
Bizarrely, Watson did not seem to want to talk anywhere but at #EconPride and even though Joyce repeated that she’d be happy to have a public debate, Watson did not seem to think anyone but the audience at #EconPride would fit.
Joyce continued to tried to reason with him, but he was having none of it. And in the next series of tweets, Anthony Watson decided that the conversation was a great opportunity to reveal exactly how he treats women whom he feels are obligated do something for him.
He also insisted on communicating completely via DM, while Helen Joyce made it clear that as he’d already tried to get her fired, she wasn’t enthusiastic about a private conversation. Watson, predictably, decided it was a great idea to deny the same.
Third time’s a charm, or so Helen Joyce hoped, and tried to clarify that she didn’t want to be DM’ed, and had no control over #EconPride
To which, Watson, predictably responded… at #EconPride!
Anthony Watson again insisted that Helen Joyce rustle up tickets for him. Her repeated clarification that she was unable to do so were obviously details he didn’t want to pay attention to.
Watson kept talking, showing himself to not just be opportunistic in his cynical use of his position to silence women, but as being equally capable of scrounging free tickets to a high priced affair that he also feels is somewhat objectionable on the grounds that the prices amounted to ‘profiteering off the LGBT community’. These tweets have since been deleted.
It got even more interesting. Watson was clearly obsessed with the price of the tickets. When Helen Joyce offered any other venue or event, Watson essentially refused, arguing instead that he had offered to debate her at an event that he coincidentally knows is extremely expensive (he cites the £660 price). It became even more clear that the price of the event, to which he felt he could not be invited to as a speaker, was a big issue in his mind, as he went on to point out that it would $985 even when booked in advance.
To the baffled amusement of other users, Watson seemed oblivious to the fact that it was plain he was neither interested in a debate nor meeting with Joyce at any event other than #EconPride, an event he felt, coincidentally, was extremely expensive. He also seemed to genuinely believe his lack of good faith was not transparent.
The ultimate kicker? The next #EconPride, as a user pointed out, wasn’t in London or in the UK, it was in Hong Kong. It is not due to return to London in two years, this vaunted event at which Anthony Watson insisted he would debate a feminist woman who disagreed with him and which, coincidentally cost £660 pounds a piece, a price he dictated Helen Joyce should arrange for. The man who knew how much the tickets cost, in both pounds and dollars, even when booked in advance, did not seem to know that the event isn’t due in London for years.
So really, what Anthony Watson was trying to accomplish, other than show himself up as a bully who tried to get a woman fired, then ordered her to arrange tickets for an event that she clarified she had no control over, remains a mystery.
Or maybe not.