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Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, a prominent name in the world of publishing, has issued an apology and agreed to pay “substantial” compensation to Sibyl Ruth, a 63-year-old editor who was let go from her position in the aftermath of a tweet she posted in May.
The tweet in question had Ruth reacting to a photograph of a transgender individual. “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,” Ruth tweeted. She went on to add, “While us boring biological women get derided if we have one or two faint chin hairs.”
Shortly after this tweet was highlighted to Cornerstones’ management, Ruth’s ongoing projects were halted and her profile was taken down from the consultancy’s official website. The abrupt removal left Ruth feeling “shell shocked” and marginalized, reflecting on the experience as a moment she “just disappeared.” Describing the sudden turn of events, she said, “They took me off a project. It was just a bit strange.”
Emphasizing her position, The Telegraph reported, Ruth clarified that her stance wasn’t against progressive views, stating, “This is not a fight against wokeness. It is simply fighting for freedom of expression.”
Cornerstones, in their public apology posted on Twitter, acknowledged their oversight, confessing that the dismissal was due to her expressing opinions that clashed with the views of the Cornerstones team. They further admitted that while they were concerned about potential backlash from the broader publishing community, their reaction to the situation was hasty. They conceded, “Cornerstones ought to have more firmly encouraged an open dialogue with her before taking any action.”
Furthermore, the company recognized Ruth’s feminist beliefs, stating they are “worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
Ruth, having served Cornerstones for 18 months, was among the consultancy’s group of freelance editors, providing invaluable mentoring, copy editing, and proofreading services to various authors.
Cornerstones’ actions prompted Ruth to launch a crowdfunding campaign for her legal expenses, eventually raising £16,000 ($20,000). In her statement on the site, she expressed her gratitude towards her legal team, notably the lawyers from the Free Speech Union, and the overwhelming public support she received.
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