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Statement on the change.org petitions regarding Meghan Murphy

| May 5, 2015
Statement on the change.org petitions regarding Meghan Murphy

An important number of organizations and individuals, many of whom have a close association to rabble.ca, have asked rabble.ca to dissociate from Meghan Murphy, who is a volunteer blogger and a part-time worker on the the site.  A petition was started on change.org that, in particular, references a blog  she published on her own web site, saying her work is transphobic, racist and anti-sex worker. The petition now circulating asks rabble.ca to fire Murphy.

A second petition was created on change.org in support of Meghan Murphy. rabble.ca has recieved many communications on both sides of this issue.

This poses a serious challenge to rabble.ca and we are taking it very seriously.

rabble.ca stands in solidarity against the oppression of trans communities and against racism.  Our position and policies concerning racist and transphobic commentary on the site are clear. Our journalistic policy reads: “rabble.ca does not support the broadcast of racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic ideas unless that discussion is being analyzed or challenged in the context of promoting human rights and social justice.”

The article which sparked the petitions was not published at rabble.ca. Had the article been submitted to rabble.ca, it would have been vetted in light of our policies and either edited or rejected according to those policies, but the article was not published at rabble.ca. While rabble.ca is not able to define the parameters of what writers publish elsewhere, we take all complaints we have received on this matter seriously and we are examining all the allegations in the petition in detail.

rabble.ca exists to create a platform for many points of view among progressives. There are few issues where there is full consensus on approaches; from debates over direct action vs. peaceful marches in protest of the Vancouver Olympics or the G20, to debates over the best approach for our government to take on sex work, rabble.ca presents a variety of viewpoints. As a result, we face critique from many corners. The debate on sex work is one of the most polarized among feminists, and Murphy takes a strong position on the abolitionist side of that debate.

Firing someone for what they write sets a dangerous precedent for a space like rabble.ca, which encourages the sharing of ideas on issues of importance to progressives. That is why we are taking time to examine the allegations closely.

In Murphy’s paid contractual role at rabble.ca, she occupies the role we call PST Editor. The PST editor spends an hour each evening reviewing new blog posts, copyediting and placing those blogs into the queue for promotion. The exception to this is Murphy’s own blog which, as for all content by rabble.ca workers, is evaluated by other editors in the rabble.ca team.

In her role as an unpaid blogger, Murphy reprints some of the material from Feminist Current at her rabble.ca blog. Murphy’s writing on sex work is particularly controversial. However, those views are also a thread in Canadian feminism and rabble.ca strives to represent the wide range of viewpoints within feminism.

We are currently reviewing the complaints, and in light of the past weeks' events. rabble.ca is also considering a number of issues: how rabble.ca responds to our writers, collaborators, and contributors outside the rabble.ca environment, and how to make our policies related to trans rights and our editorial policies in general, more visible on the site.

We appreciate and value the engagement of our readers, writers and contributors on this issue, and we will continue our work exploring the ideas and activism that work toward social justice and equality rights.

For readers seeking coverage on trans issues, race issues and feminist issues, you can find it on our LGBTIQ issues page, and our anti-racism issues page, and our feminism issues page.

While we have closed comments on this blog post, you can join the discussion at babble.

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