The Guardian readers cancel subscriptions over ‘misleading’, ‘transphobic’ Sarah Everard coverage

A picture of The Guardian and The Observer logos at the newspapers' London offices

People are cancelling their subscriptions to The Guardian and its sister newspaper The Observer over a controversial article about the murder of Sarah Everard and single-sex spaces.

On Sunday (3 October), The Observer published a column by Catherine Bennett titled: “You can’t opt in and out of taking violence against women seriously”.

In her article, Bennett linked the brutal rape and murder of Sarah Everard in March to the ongoing debate among “gender critical” feminists about whether trans women should be excluded from “single-sex” spaces.

The debate – which has played out in national newspapers and on social media – has seen anti-trans commentators baselessly argue that allowing trans women into all-female spaces such as women’s refuges would pose a threat to cis women.

Writing for The Observer, Bennett criticised David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, for comments he made about violence against women on Twitter after Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life order for the rape, murder and abduction of Sarah Everard.

Following the verdict, Lammy tweeted: “Enough is enough. We need to treat violent against women and girls as seriously as terrorism.”

The Guardian and The Observer have been accused of ‘exploiting’ Sarah Everard’s murder

In her article, Bennett drew attention to earlier comments made by Lammy, where he suggested that anti-trans “feminists” were “hoarding rights”. 

“Lammy, along with some Labour colleagues, simultaneously denounces male violence, then, taking victim-blaming to as yet unprecedented levels, is furious with any women concerned about losing the few places that individuals he depicts as terrorists can’t access,” Bennett wrote.

Many Guardian and Observer readers shared their frustration on Twitter after the article was published – and some announced that they had cancelled their subscriptions over Bennett’s article.

Sarah Morgan, a screenwriter, tweeted: “Cancelling my subscription to @Guardian @ObserverUK today in response to the Catherine Bennett article that attempts to link the murder of Sarah Everard to trans-inclusive safe spaces and recent remarks by David Lammy.”

She continued: “As a lifelong reader and sometime Guardian contributor, I try to ignore their ‘gender critical’ platforming (rather than legitimise the idea of ‘debate’), but I can’t conscionably support the exploitation of a horrible tragedy by this dangerous nonsense.”

Morgan’s tweet has been liked more than 4,000 times – and many others weighed in to say that they had taken her lead and cancelled their subscriptions over the article.

PinkNews has contacted Guardian News & Media for comment.

Bennett’s article is just the latest controversy to engulf The Guardian and its sister newspaper – both have faced criticism in the past for their coverage of trans issues.

In September, The Guardian faced a wave of backlash after it retrospectively edited an interview with feminist philosopher Judith Butler.

In the original article, Butler and interviewer Jules Gleeson discussed the links between gender critical feminism and the far-right – but an entire section of the piece was later removed by editors.

In a statement, The Guardian denied accusations that it had censored Butler. Instead, it said the section of the article was removed because new facts had come to light concerning an incident discussed in the interview.