The University of Manchester's Student Union has banned a second speaker from talking at an upcoming event on feminism and free speech following the controversy surrounding the blocking of radical feminist Julie Bindel.
Bindel, author and co-founder of the group Justice for Women, was told she would not be permitted to speak at an event by the university's Free Speech and Secular Society entitled From liberation to censorship: does modern feminism have a problem with free speech? along with Breitbart associate editor Milo Yiannopoulos over concerns she would "incite hatred" because of her previous comments regarding transsexual and transgender people.
Manchester SU Women's officer Jess Lishak denied it was denying free speech by preventing Bindel from speaking at an event about censorship, as the move was down to Bindel's views being "dangerous for transpeople and they're dangerous for feminist and liberation movements in general".
Bindel who has faced accusations of transphobia in the past published an article in The Guardian entitled Gender benders, beware in which she argued that men who undergo gender reassignment should not be considered women in the same way "shoving a bit of vacuum hose down your 501s does not make you a man" and describing sex change operations are an "unnecessary mutilation".
Bindel accused the union of conducting a "personal witch-hunt" against her after it still allowed fellow speaker Milo Yiannopoulos to speak, despite writing articles which claim rape culture does not exist and describing transgenderism as a "psychiatric disorder".
Yiannopoulos himself described the decision to IBTimes UK as "profoundly anti-intellectual and runs counter to the entire purpose of a university". He added: "As [Bindel] rightly notes, I am 'an anti-feminist, deeply offensive b***end.' Yet the Union has allowed me to speak, albeit with heavy restrictions."
Leonardo Carella from Free Speech and Secular Society even set up an online petition demanding the decision regarding Bindel be overturned, which gained hundreds of signatures. She said: "The freedom to express a controversial or challenging opinion is held equally and by all. Without this freedom we are robbed of the ability to refute or confirm the views that we have formed, and are thus diminished as people and as students."
Following the outcry, Manchetser SU has now confirmed Yiannopoulos will also not be permitted to attend the event. A spokesperson added: "We have been made aware of various comments lambasting rape survivors and transpeople, and as such we are concerned for the safety of our students on the topic of this event. He is a rape apologist and has repeatedly used derogatory and debasing ableist language when describing members of the trans community.
"As such, this undermines the principles of liberation enshrined in the Students' Union, as outlined in the Safe Space policy. We believe these views could incite hatred against both transpeople and women who have experienced sexual violence. As we believe it is probable these views would be aired in this discussion should he be allowed to speak on campus, we have no choice but to ban him.
"As we made clear to the society, this means that this event with the proposed speakers will not be going ahead under the banner of the Students' Union, with our support or using our resources."