NSPCC staff complain over decision to drop transgender campaigner

12 Jun 2019 News

A backlash against NSPCC's decision to drop transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf has continued with staff expressing disapproval and supporters cancelling donations. 

A letter from 148 members of staff at the charity reported in the Guardian yesterday said: “We are deeply disappointed about the treatment of Munroe by the organisation. 

“In particular, we are concerned at the NSPCC’s decision to replicate the experience that many trans children and adults experience in being subjected to abuse and ridicule and subsequently abandoned.

“Overall, there is a feeling of embarrassment and shame about how this has been handled and what it means to be an employee of the NSPCC.”

NSPCC has refused to explain what its policy for working with celebrities is, why Munroe Bergdorf’s video was deleted from its YouTube channel or whether it plans to continue with its Pride campaign.

The charity has nearly 1,700 members of staff. 

Cancelled donations

Twitter uses have been tweeting NSPCC to let them know they will be or have already cancelled donations.

“I have just cancelled my monthly donation… I don’t give money to transphobic, homophobic etc companies… that’s £50 that I will be donating to a LGBTQ charity instead… and no I’m not LGBTQ I’m straight white male…” said one Tweet.

There have also been calls from Twitter users including Guardian columnist Owen Jones to stop using the Pride rainbow branding on its social media.

 

But other social media users have renewed claims that Bergdorf is racist based on comments she made several years ago about white privilege.

Commentary also lingers around the appropriateness of Bergdorf working as a children’s ambassador after her previous work in modelling.

In support of Bergdorf, there have been reminders about models Melinda Messenger and Abbey Clancy also campaigning for NSPCC in previous years.

Lack of explanation

NSPCC dropped Bergdorf and claimed she had never been an ambassador for the charity in a statement made on Friday.

It continues to face backlash both for the decision to drop Munroe, who it said: “will have no ongoing relationship with Childline or the NSPCC,” and its lack of answers for why the decision was made.

An NSPCC member of staff speaking to the Guardian said: “The decision of our trustees reflects on us, but it’s an inaccurate impression.

“If the trustees make decisions like that without consultation from people who have lived experience or who know this work, then where does that end?”

Bergdorf insisted that the cause for her being dropped by the charity was transphobia and told the Guardian: “I’m hoping that this is a teachable moment in how transphobia poses a real threat to the progression of our community and our individual emotional wellbeing and livelihoods.”

Peter Wanless, the charity's chief executive, said in an internal memo to staff, printed in the Guardian: “Of course we regret any hurt caused to Munroe Bergdorf following her support of our most recent Childline campaign.

"Those involved will take learnings from this situation going forward.”

Bergdorf told the BBC yesterday she was not notified of NSPCC's decision before the statement was released on Friday and has heard nothing from the charity since.

She said: "I called Childline days before this happened and I said: ‘Guys, you’re probably going to get some pushback'.

“They were like: ‘Don’t worry, everything’s fine, we’re fully prepared and we knew what we were getting into when we asked you to be on board.’"

Civil Society Media's Charity People & Culture Conference takes place in September and this year the overall theme is 'Wellbeing & inclusion in modernisation'. View the programme and book online here.

 

 

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