The New York Times has done what the UK press has refused to do: it’s exposed disgraced Observer and Private Eye columnist Nick Cohen as an alleged predator.

Cohen has written multiple articles and posts accusing trans women of being a danger to women while, according to the NYT, sexually harassing multiple women. When the NYT put the allegations to him, he claimed it was a stitch-up by the Russians and trans people.

Cohen’s behaviour was apparently an open secret in media circles: he had the nickname “The Octopus” and many women journalists have said other women warned them about him. The publications that knew about the allegations but chose not to expose him included those notable “we must protect women” publications The Guardian and The Observer – who let him go amid much secrecy – and Private Eye.

It’s interesting, and predictable, to see who’s rushing to defend him. In a now-deleted tweet, former Guardian/Observer anti-trans columnist (now Times anti-trans columnist) and long-time Woody Allen defender Hadley Freeman was quick to excuse his serial harassment on the grounds that he was probably drunk when he did it, which makes it all okay, and anyway he said sorry. It’s a good example of Freeman’s tendency to write what she’d like to be true rather than what’s actually true: some of the allegations refer to harassment that he did long after he stopped drinking, and he hasn’t said he’s sorry.

And also on Twitter, @euanyours is providing a list with citations of the “protect women” crowd who rushed to Cohen’s defence when Good Law Project head Jolyon Maugham attempted to get people to believe women. That list includes a who’s who of very high profile anti-trans voices of the I’m So Silenced variety. If they regularly appear in the right-wing press, they’re in the list.

Mark Berry on Twitter:

Hi, I’m a cishet Times/Observer journalist, privately educated, and am here to tell you why everything my friend Nick Cohen did both does not matter and was entirely the fault of Jeremy Corbyn and trans people, who must answer for it.

The glee with which trans people – including me – are sharing the story is for a simple reason: it exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of anti-trans journalism, which may pretend to be about protecting women but which has no interest in protecting women from actual sexual predators. People who have written multiple columns about the need to remove human rights from entire marginalised groups to “protect women and girls” are on the side of the abusers, not the abused. And that’s because the so-called gender critical movement has never been about protecting anybody from anything; it’s about eliminating trans people from society.

Also on Twitter, @scriblit puts it beautifully:

Please support my campaign to get all opinion columnists banned from using public toilets and changing cubicles in case they’re ALL well known predators getting enabled by the industry (this might get some non columnists beaten up but collateral damage is acceptable)



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