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Amidst an escalating discussion on freedom of speech, editor Sibyl Ruth recently announced a crowdfunded legal undertaking against her past writing firm, Cornerstones, on allegations of being dismissed due to her controversial public statements regarding gender. Ruth stirred the pot with a tweet that critiqued the interpretation of gender identity. She expressed incredulity over the notion of someone with a “heavy five o’clock shadow” being viewed as a woman.
Ruth said: “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.”
Her actions stem from a firm conviction of biological sex being immutable and defined at conception. Ruth postulated that the fear of reputational damage from her tweet led Cornerstones, renowned for providing aspiring writers with critical editorial assistance, to sever business ties with her. She was summarily removed from the company’s online presence post the incident.
Ruth has engaged the backing of the Free Speech Union for her case, asserting that the right to freely express personal opinions, even if they may be contentious, should not be thwarted.
Future employment prospects within Cornerstones also took a hit post her tweet with the company indicating her potential exclusion from later projects. The editor maintains a stance that organizations should not dictate or control the free speech of their staff members, insisting that diversity of opinions should not warrant job insecurities.
Her legal representatives have highlighted that internal communications from Cornerstones indicated how to best communicate her dismissal to her. Ruth penned in her crowdfunding campaign, “I am headed to the Employment Tribunal on 14 September 2023 to argue the first limb of my case: that I deserve Equality Act protection.”
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