A gender-critical editor says she has been canceled after saying the idea someone with a “heavy five o’clock shadow” could identify as a woman “blew her mind”.
Sibyl Ruth, 63, says she has been working as an editor for three decades, but was dropped by her consultancy after questioning the view that “a perm and lippy and a bag with gold chains = woman” on Twitter.
Ruth, from Birmingham, says she is now planning on taking legal action against Cornerstones. She says they “took objection to the gender-critical views I expressed”.
The writer says she believes “sex is immutable and determined from conception”. Her case is being supported by the Free Speech Union.
Ruth says she was part of a stable of regular editors at Cornerstones, a company that offers writers services, such as one-to-one mentoring, copy editing and proofreading.
But in 2022 she commented on a tweet containing a picture of a transgender person, questioning how women regularly have their appearance questioned.
She wrote: “I do believe that people should be allowed to wear what they want etc etc… But what blows my mind is the idea that with heavy five o’clock shadow, a perm and lippy and a bag with gold chains = woman.
“While us boring biological women get derided if we have one or two faint chin hairs.”
Her legal team claims the tweet was flagged to Cornerstones. While Ruth says she was subsequently told her ongoing work with a client was stopped and that her profile had been removed from the Cornerstones website.
She claims to have then been sent a copy of the company’s values and information about being mindful online. Ruth says she questioned why her work dried up, but was told “it’s unlikely that we’ll feed any more projects your way”.
The Free Speech Union says a subject access request revealed how staff discussed how her online comments could cause reputational damage to the firm.
Ruth told the Telegraph: “I don’t believe organizations should have the power to control what we say at home, when we talk to friends, or when we’re discussing topical issues on social media. All of us are different.
“We have various views about what equality means and need to be able to explore these differences, without being at risk of losing our jobs.
“The overreach of companies into the private lives of individuals is a danger to democracy and freedom.”