Remove Petition to Fire ‘White Lives Don’t Matter’ Prof After 20,000+ Signatures

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A petition to fire Cambridge professor Priyamvada Gopal, who was promoted after tweeting that “White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives”, has been removed by after receiving over 20,000 signatures.

Professor Gopal posted her provocative “White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives” message around the same time as Burnely Football Club supporter Jake Hepple had a banner reading “White Lives Matter Burnley!” flown over a match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, shortly after three white people were stabbed to death in Reading, England.

Hepple was fired for the stunt, with Blackpool Airport and the local government authority which operates it also saying they were “outraged” by the banner and branding its message “offensive”.

Professor Gopal, meanwhile boasted that the University of Cambridge — which defended her right to express “lawful opinion”, although it has previously cut ties with academics attacked by left-liberal mobs — had actually promoted her after the controversy around her tweet.

More than 20,000 people had signed a petition calling for her to be fired for what it described as “racist and hateful” statements — before it was taken down.

The professor had claimed she was “not personally especially fussed” by the petition — describing the comments attached to it as “a wonderful tale of white supremacy triggered” — but suggested that “those who wish to report the ‘petition to Cambridge’ to fire me can be reported to for harassment [sic]” and later told people where to find the link to do so.

Professor Gopal has taken a combative posture throughout the ongoing controversy, insisting “I stand by my tweets, now deleted by Twitter, not me”.

The professor also appears in a list of users who ‘liked’ a tweet thanking her for for “taking the fight to the #patriarchy and the whites” and branding them “a disease that needs to be cleansed from the earth, starting with decolonising their books”.

The message also appears in the list of ‘liked’ tweets on her own page — although ‘likes’ on Twitter cannot necessarily be interpreted as endorsements, and the account which shared it appears to be a parody.

The legality of such messages in the United Kingdom, which does not enjoy the same constitutionally protected free speech rights as the United States, is questionable. There are several examples of people being convicted for sending messages deemed “grossly offensive” under the Communications Act of 2003 — with YouTube comic Markus Meechan, aka Count Dankula, being one of the most (in)famous.

Thousands of people petitioned for a British Free Speech Act in 2018, but it was rejected by the Tory government — then led by Theresa May — on grounds that “freedom cannot be an excuse to cause harm or spread hatred.”

Cambridgeshire Constabulary have indicated that it is their position that Professor Gopal’s tweet, specifically, “does not constitute an offence” — but they are “investigating all reports into the racist and threatening abuse that Professor Gopal has suffered”.

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