The Observer has moved to pull a controversial opinion piece penned by its columnist Julie Burchill after claims such as transsexuals are ‘a bunch of d**** in chicks’ clothing’ stirred up a public backlash.
The climb-down was accompanied by an apology from the paper’s editor, John Mulholland, for having published a series of defamatory descriptions of the minority group ranging from ‘bed-wetters in bad wigs’ to ‘screaming mimis’.
It follows calls for Burchill’s head (and that of her editor) from irate Twitter users – most notably the former equalities minister Lynn Featherstone.
In a statement Mulholland said: “We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly charged debate.
“The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece.”