Take 10 minutes to catch up on the latest goings on. We round-up the latest news and stories, from the NSPCC staff open letter to Munroe Bergdorf, that Nike mannequin article and the updated #netzero climate change agreement
NSPCC staff send open letter supporting Munroe Bergdorf
Upon announcing her partnership with the NSPCC, activist Munroe Bergdorf said: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to let more kids know that they are not alone in how they feel. There are people who care, people who can help and people who have been through the same things as you, so PLEASE don’t suffer in silence.”
However, following the announcement, a number of negative tweets were posted. Within days, the charity had cut all ties with Munroe, without explanation.
In a statement issued later, the NSPCC said that Munroe “has supported the most recent phase of Childline’s campaign which aims to support children with LGBTQ+ concerns” but “she will have no ongoing relationship with Childline or the NSPCC.”
Yet, the decision by the NSPCC has been condemned not only by followers of Munroe, but its own staff. In a letter signed by 148 people, workers of the charity spoke of their “embarrassment and shame”.
The letter 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.”
Employees said they were alarmed that the statement issues by the NSPCC failed to outline the reasons for their decision and failed to “express solidarity with Munroe in the face of significant online abuse”.
“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.”
Responding to the letter, Munroe told the Guardian: “I never doubted the hard work of the Childline staff on the ground, especially their LGBT+ employees who have been working to make the charity more inclusive. I want to say thank you for their support.
“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.”
This afternoon (12 June), the NSPCC issued an apology to Munroe. The statement, made by NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless reads: “We’re sorry for the hurt that has been caused by recent events with Munroe Bergdorf. We’re here for every child, including the LGBTQ+ community, who can contact Childline any time”.
Whether this is enough, we don’t know. While this is the right thing to do, as many people are pointing out, is the damage already done?
TV licences for over 75s scrapped
Earlier this week, the BBC announced they would be stopping free TV licences for the over 75s. This comes after the government announcement in 2015, in which the BBC would be taking over the cost of providing free licenses for over 75s by 2020. It was suggested that this would have cost the BBC around one fifth of their budget (£745 million).
Under the new rules, only low-income households where one person receives the pension credit benefit will still be eligible for a free license. This new scheme will cost the BBC around £250 million depending on take up, a significant difference in the original estimate.
Funding free TV licenses for all over 75s would have resulted in “unprecedented closures,” said the BBC. However, not everyone agrees with the outcome. Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was “very disappointed” with the decision, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “providing over 75s with free TV licenses is not too much to ask.”
After the announcement, the public took to Twitter to voice their opinions under the hashtag #BoycottTheBBC. While the blame teters on who should take responsibility - the government or the BBC - the main concern is clear: the wellbeing of the elderly.
UK government commits to 2050 #netzero target
A new government plan to tackle climate change has been unveiled. By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero.
The UK already had a 2050 target to reduce emissions by 80%, which was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but this has been amended to the new goal.
“Net Zero” is the official terminology used by the government. It means that emissions from homes, transport, farming and industry will have to be avoided completely, or in the more difficult examples, offset by planting trees or removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
The UK is the first major nation to propose this target, which has been widely praised by green groups. Though, there are some who believe this change to be too late, while others fear the task is impossible.
Nike mannequin sparks debate
‘Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie’ was the headline of Telegraph Journalist Tanya Gold’s latest feature. The article slammed Nike’s decision to introduce plus-sized mannequins to its London flagship store, celebrating “the diversity and inclusivity of sport”. Where many of the UK public congratulated the move by Nike, Tanya Gold slated them.
Celebrities and the general public alike flocked to defend Nike and call out the fatphobic article.
Model and influencer Callie Thorpe wrote: “Just last week we saw something incredible happen. @nike put a plus size mannequin in Nike Town. A representation of a body we never see in the fitness industry. It was powerful. But yet again another think piece comes out. Another dehumanising, awful set of words to remind us fat people that we are despised by society.
“It’s ludicrous that fat people are mocked, bullied and told to get to the gym and lose weight yet we are also told, we don’t deserve the access to active wear. Do you see how ridiculous that is? Which goes to show it’s got nothing to do with health concern and everything to do with prejudice.
“If you are following this page and you aren’t plus size please use your platform to stand up against this especially and even more so for plus size people of colour. Hashtagging #bodypositivity isn’t enough. Please speak out.”
Journalist, linguist and body image researcher, Maxine Ali said: “If internet trolls were really concerned about the health of consumers, where were their complaints over underweight shop mannequins? Where were their calls to ‘think of the children’ when many women were starving themselves in order to conform to unrealistically thin body ideals?
“Most likely these are the same people that shame fat people for exercising, instead of encouraging them. They don’t care about health at all.”
Since the article was published, many are sharing their own opinions, experiences and speaking out against the trolls. The issue isn’t the size of the mannequin, it’s much deeper than that. The issue lies within our culture.