Free Speech

Woman Mocked for Being Sexually Attracted to a Chandelier Loses Claim

before UK independent press standards tribunal.

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From Liberty v. The Sun, a decision by the UK Independent Press Standards Organisation Complaint Committee handed down Mar. 24; as best I can tell, the IPSO is an industry self-regulatory organization, but one that was set up in part as a result of governmental processes.

[1.] Amanda Liberty complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sun breached Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined "'Goops! it's my highs & lows of 2019" published on 18 December 2019.

[2.] The article was a columnist's annual "awards" page, rounding up notable stories and events from 2019. It focussed on people or events she considered to be hypocritical or worthy of derision – for example it awarded prizes to the "Eco Hypocrite Of The Year (aka Hotly Contested Hot Air Award)" and "Nancy Doolally-o Award For Services To Delusion". The columnist awarded the "Dagenham Award (Two Stops Past Barking)" to a woman named and pictured as having married a chandelier-style light fitting. It said that she was an "objectum sexual" and asked whether she was "Dim & Dimmer?"

[3.] The article also appeared online in the same form with the headline "[NAMED COLUMNIST] My annual award winners from Eco Hypocrite to Virtue Signaller Of The Year".

[4.] The complainant was the woman named and pictured as having married a chandelier. She said that her sexual orientation is an attraction to objects, described in an academic paper as "objectum sexual". She said that by awarding her the "Dagenham Award", as a result of her relationship with a chandelier, as well as positing whether she was "Dim & Dimmer" the article was pejorative to her sexual orientation in breach of Clause 12. She also raised concerns that the article referred to a chandelier style light fitting, when in fact, she was in a relationship, not a marriage, with a chandelier.

[5.] The publication did not accept that the terms of Clause 12 were engaged. It said that it did not doubt that the complainant's attraction to chandeliers was genuine, however it said that sexual orientation in the context of Clause 12 covered people who were attracted to people of the same sex, the opposite sex, or both. It noted that this was the definition of sexual orientation given by the Equality Act 2010, and used by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Stonewall – for example, the complainant was not legally able to marry the chandelier and it would not be legally discriminatory to prevent such a marriage. It was not aware of any reputable definition of sexual orientation which included objectum sexual. For these reasons, the publication said that Clause 12 did not cover attraction to objects.

[6.] The publication also noted that the complainant had already put extensive details of her attraction to objects in the public domain via previous interviews and article. It said that just as the complainant had exercised her freedom of expression in speaking about her then engagement to the chandelier, the columnist was entitled to comment on it.

Relevant Code Provisions

[7.] Clause 12 (Discrimination)

[i] The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

[ii] Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Findings of the Committee

[8.] The Committee recognised that the complainant found the article to be offensive and upsetting. However, it was mindful that the Code does not cover issues of taste and offence; newspapers are free to publish information as they see fit as long as the Editors' Code is not otherwise breached.

In determining whether the terms of Clause 12 were engaged, the Committee took into account the Equality Act 2010 which defines sexual orientation as a person's sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex or persons of either sex. The Committee considered that Clause 12 provides protection to individuals in relation to their sexual orientation towards other persons and not to objects.

As such, the complainant's attraction to an object did not fall within the definition of sexual orientation as provided by Clause 12 and the terms of Clause 12 were not engaged….

NEXT: California Appellate Court Rejects Sealing of Alleged Libel

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  1. That’s nice but can we get a blog about the President’s statement about adjourning Congress.

    1. That was already blogged about.

    2. With it now breaking that the ChiComs DELIBERATELY sent the Wuhan Virus to the US — an Act of War with Pelosi allegedly implicated — things likely will get quite interesting quite quickly.

      1. The US, and the rest of the world? Heh.

        1. I’d rather have seen it reduced to writing with hyperlinks to the articles he cited, but Boston’s Jeff Kuhner just laid out the case for Chinese guilt in what would be a deliberate Act of War.

          1. Dr. Ed,

            Would you consider just …. stopping. I mean, you spout off a lot of dangerous nonsense. That you do so without irony, retraction, or a sense of proportion is, perhaps, a feature and not a bug.

            But let us assume for now that this is 100% BS, just like any rational person knows it is. Right? So, at some point in the future (or in the past, if you actually want to do real research yourself), you will know this. You will know that, again you have been lied to. You have been used. You are a useful idiot.

            What do you do then? Do you just continue on? Do you go to the next nonsensical point, reiterating it, forgetting completely about the countless lies you have propagated? Or do you stop?

            So let’s make this more interesting. Since I started looking at VC again, you have been outspoken and all over the place, claiming that this is no big deal, a hoax, media lies, and basically parroting whatever BS has been given to you by crazy sources, never even noticing that what you say one week is often the exact opposite of the prior week.

            How about we look back at this … and see how it pans out. We can say that you, Dr. “ChiCom Act of War Wuhan Virus” Ed have been beating this drum, and see how it turns out. And if, as with pretty much everything you’ve been saying, it turns into a big ol’ bag of lies and BS, you just …. shut up for a while and re-evaluate what terrible thing happened in your life to drive you to this point.

            Good? Good.

              1. +1

                Wrong. +1,000.

          2. It’s looking like it got out of the lab as an accident…not on purpose, and they covered it up. If the Chinese were smart, and they sorta are, why would you not just send it over to the U.S. via some “tourists” and release it over here rather than in their own country first?

            1. Well, yes. The argument for “deliberate” is that they realized, “Hey, we’re screwed.” and decided to make sure the rest of the world was screwed, too, instead of facing the strategic disadvantage of being the only country screwed over by this virus.

              So, instead of giving the world due warning of what was going on, they made sure it spread, instead.

              It’s not that they deliberately released it in the first place. They just made sure everybody else would share the misery after it got loose.

              1. Damn, my well thought out detailed reply lost to the aether of a jerky internet connection due to the strain on it.

                In short…they deliberately covered it up, and deliberately tried to blame the U.S. Army, and deliberately drained the world of medical supplies only possible because they covered it up. But there is no evidence that deliberately let the rest of the world be infected. As a consequence of a bad or impossible fight against the virus, they let travelers FROM China go everywhere in the world, but that was a consequence of covering it up, not a effort by design to infect the rest of the world, though they knew it had to happen.

                1. “There were doctors and journalists who were “disappeared” warning of the spread of the virus and its contagious nature and human to human transmission. China moved quickly to shut down travel domestically from Wuhan to the rest of China, but did not stop international flights from Wuhan.”

                  https://www.foxnews.com/politics/coronavirus-wuhan-lab-china-compete-us-sources

                  1. Yes, I know, we know, everybody knows.

                    Was not shutting down those flights a deliberate (on purpose, by design) effort to infect the rest of the world (cue evil laugh), or a consequence of covering up the spread of the virus? I suspect the latter. They knew the rest of the world would get the virus, sure.

                    Let me ask, then, what does China get out of spreading it on purpose?

                    1. Destroying everyone’s economy, not just their own.
                      Outside of Wuhan, how much of China’s economy *ever* shut down?

                    2. And Control-Z often brings back lost text.

                    3. Take a look at this map. Can you tell me why the cases are located precisely at the center of each state?
                      https://www.abccolumbia.com/content/uploads/2020/03/CoronaSpreadGIF_v09_KA_hpEmbed_16x9_992.jpg

                    4. It’s how they made the map, not where the cases are from in the state. What are you getting at?

                      I don’t know, Ed, how much of the Chinese economy outside of Wuhan didn’t shut down?

                    5. Take a look at this map. Can you tell me why the cases are located precisely at the center of each state?

                      The sad thing is, Poe’s Law means I have no idea if this is a serious question or a mocking one.

                    6. It’s a troll. Maybe someone will think the Chinese planted the virus in the middle of each state. The conspiracy theories are just too much to tolerate. I’m not on team China, it’s just that the theories are unbelievable.

            2. It’s looking like it got out of the lab as an accident

              In what way is it “looking like” that?

      2. That is not “breaking.” That isn’t even being suggested by anyone not wearing faulty aluminum foil on their heads.

  2. I’m happy for them. They’ll make the perfect match.

    1. The jokes just write themselves:

      “As soon as I touched it, I could tell it was turned on.”
      “When we met; there were sparks.”
      “When I saw it; there was immediate electricity.”
      ” I know some folks might find our relationship shocking.”
      “I’ve always been attracted to bulb-ous physiques.”
      [To a reporter, asking questions] “Watt did you just say?”
      “I’m dating it to amp up my sex life.”
      “We’re current-ly still dating.”
      “Wire we still dating? Because this relationship lights up my life.”

      1. One more: If the light fixture happens to be Jewish; does that make the article a shande-leer?

        1. Come on, they’re just puns. They aren’t directed at her character.

  3. That’s a switch from the usual dim bulbs populating these types of complaints.

    1. Ah, nice; that’s a double one.

      1. Not triple?!? I was trying for triple. What are the rules on this? Do puns have to be separated by non-puns, is that where I messed up?

        1. I see ‘switch’ and “dim bulbs.” (Since “dim bulbs” is an actual expression, it’s definitely one pun, in my book.)

  4. Is there another section that excepts this when a minor is involved?
    It was the UK Daily Mail, using a reporter who lives in Washington, DC, who broke the story of Anthony Weiner sexting the 15-year-old, which would appear to be in violation of this.

    As would any coverage of Roy Moore’s past…..

    IMHO, this provision is more intended to prevent reporting on the extensive racially-based crime being perpertrated by Muslim immigrants in a country that lacks a First Amendment.

  5. In the seventies, a friend and I had matching BSA Spitfire motorcycles, lovely voluptuous machines with gorgeous compound curves. One day he told me that he became tumescent every time he beheld his bike. One day he had had a sip or two and walked toward my bike and I told him with a smirk, “Don’t you do it. You get away from my bike!”

    I do believe there are some people who would fall in love with a motorcycle, or a sheep even. I always loved my BSA Spitfire and found her sexy, but it was more like agape love. She was more of a way to attract girls, but not a girl herself.

    1. Yeah, maybe.

      Or maybe that was your quickly-concocted explanation, when your girlfriend walk in on you at 2:00 a.m., in your garage, naked and sitting on your bike, leering at the centerfold of ‘Road & Track.’

      Don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all been there. You do you. Proudly.

      1. Lady, you got half-watt incandescent bulbs in your chandelier?

  6. It’s easy to mock the woman, but let’s realize that she’s not doing anyone an injury. A chandelier can’t get raped or harassed, so that’s not an issue. She can’t have children with the chandelier, but even if she married it children are no longer recognized as a special purpose of marriage requiring special protection. In fact, it’s bigoted even to make such an argument.

    It may be annoying to see her exhibit her eccentric hobby, but it’s always possible to ignore her – I don’t see why the newspaper couldn’t.

    It’s just that her eccentricities don’t have protected status, which is purely a matter of political and media influence, it doesn’t speak to the worthiness (or lack thereof) of her preferences.

  7. I’m glad she found something meaningful, and wish her well.

  8. This shows why we need a First Amendment.

    Bob thinks that a woman marrying a chandelier is silly and says so.
    Bill thinks that a woman marrying a woman is silly and says so.
    Betty thinks that a woman marrying a man is silly and says so.

    To be logically consistent, all of them or none of them should be punished — but the reality is, nobody would support a law punishing all of them.

    So the law is written (or in this case, a law-like policy enforced by a pseudo-governmental agency) to punish Bill and Betty.

    In fact, though, Betty is privileged so only Bill will be punished.

  9. The complainant was the woman named and pictured as having married a chandelier. The woman never heard of sex shops and dildos?

  10. A Calder-on of desire, perhaps.

    Mr. D.

  11. I’m confused about the Debenham award. Debenham is claimed to be two stops past Barking, but if you look at the District line map, it appears to be at least THREE stops past Barking.

    Is it an old expression? Did they add stops along the line?

    Just by the way, I was in London last month (it seems ages ago now of course) and was staying in a Hotel by the Earl’s Court stop on the District line, so this reminded me of that visit, which was lovely.

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