As the wooden boards are taken down from shopfronts and studio lots grind slowly back to life, Hollywood is basking in an unseasonable heatwave.
The famous boulevards shimmer in 40C haze and warm Santa Ana winds fan the Beverly Hills mansions.
Shaken by #MeToo, paralysed by Covid-19, the $50 billion film industry is finally emerging from a four-month lockdown – only to find a new and very different world, where tension is rising as surely as the thermometer.
For if the very public Black Lives Matter protests have polarised America, the silent fallout has now reached Hollywood.
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A revolution is under way. White actors are being fired. Edicts from studio bosses make it clear that only minorities – racial and sexual – can be given jobs.
A new wave of what has been termed by some as anti-white prejudice is causing writers, directors and producers to fear they will never work again. One described the current atmosphere as ‘more toxic than Chernobyl’, with leading actors afraid to speak out amid concern they will be labelled racist.
The first sign came with one of the most powerful black directors in Hollywood, Oscar-winning Jordan Peele – the man behind box office hits such as Get Out and Us – stated in public that he did not want to hire a leading man who was white.
‘I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie,’ Peele said. ‘Not that I don’t like white dudes. But I’ve seen that movie before.’
As one studio executive responded privately: ‘If a white director said that about hiring a black actor, their career would be over in a heartbeat.’ Few doubt it.
Peele is more vocal than most about his hiring policy, but his outlook is increasingly widespread. Dozens of producers, writers and actors have spoken to The Mail on Sunday about the wave of ‘reverse racism’ pulsing through the industry.
speaking on condition of anonymity, the executive confirmed that the climate is now toxic for any ‘white, middle-aged man in showbusiness’. Their careers, ‘are pretty much over’.
They continued: ‘We’re only hiring people of colour, women or LGBT to write, star, produce, operate the cameras, work in craft services. If you are white, you can’t speak out because you will instantly be branded ‘racist’ or condemned for ‘white privilege’.
The first sign came with one of the most powerful black directors in Hollywood, Oscar-winning Jordan Peele – the man behind box office hits such as Get Out and Us – stated in public that he did not want to hire a leading man who was white
‘The pendulum has swung so far, everyone is paralysed with fear by the idea anything you say could be misinterpreted and your career ended instantly. There are a lot of hushed conversations going on, but publicly everyone is desperate to be seen to be promoting diversity and too terrified to speak out. It’s imploding: a total meltdown.’
The failure to nominate actors of colour for the Oscars has been seen as a stain on Hollywood in recent years. But there are fears that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction – and that the movie and TV industries are ‘on the edge of a collective nervous breakdown’.
The latest buzzword in Tinseltown is ‘Bipoc’ – an acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour – and ‘Menemy’, which means a white, male enemy of the diversity movement. ‘Everyone wants to be able to check all the boxes for each new hire,’ according to one Oscar-nominated insider.
‘Directors normally have a say about who is in their project. Not any more. It’s all about ‘Bipoc hiring’. And it’s coming directly from the heads of the studios who know their jobs are on the line. White middle-aged men are collateral damage. They are the Menemy.’
An actor in his 50s who has worked on some of the biggest shows of the past 20 years described how, during a recent audition, the casting director told him he was ‘perfect for the part’ but that they had been instructed to hire ‘a person of colour’ for the role. ‘I get it, I really do,’ the actor said.
‘I understand Hollywood still has a long way to go before people of colour are properly represented on screen but how am I supposed to pay my mortgage, put food on the table? Everyone is terrified. And you can’t say anything because then you set yourself up for public crucifixion.’
Dismissing such complaints, however quietly expressed, Selma director Ava DuVernay, now one of the most powerful black women in Hollywood, wrote on Twitter: ‘Everyone has a right to their opinion. And we – black producers with hiring power – have the right not to hire those who diminish us.
‘So, to the white men in this thread… if you don’t get that job you were up for, kindly remember… bias can go both ways. This is 2020 speaking.’
It might seem an irony, then, that Hollywood has long been seen as the heart of liberal America. Leading figures from the industry have a reputation for lecturing the world on issues of human rights, diversity and the environment, from George Clooney’s campaign to end the genocide in Darfur to Leonardo DiCaprio’s missives on global warming.
But ‘wokeness’ is not only increasingly pervasive, it seems impossible to navigate. Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer – celebrated for playing a bisexual assassin – last week faced intense criticism on social media for dating US sportsman James Burke, said to be a card-carrying Trump supporter, solely on the basis that he supported the President.
And Halle Berry had to apologise for ‘considering’ taking on the role of a transgender man in a forthcoming film project (instead of leaving it to a real transgender man).
Such is the culture shift that one studio is now preparing to shoot a film with an all-black cast and crew – a project which should normally give cause for celebration.
Selma director Ava DuVernay, now one of the most powerful black women in Hollywood, wrote on Twitter: ‘Everyone has a right to their opinion. And we – black producers with hiring power – have the right not to hire those who diminish us. ‘So, to the white men in this thread… if you don’t get that job you were up for, kindly remember… bias can go both ways. This is 2020 speaking.’
But when a white woman, a highly respected executive, was tasked to ‘oversee’ the production on location, she was told she would receive no on-screen credit. A source from the studio behind the project said: ‘The kids making the film are fresh, great new talent. But they are kids. None of them are over 25. Most of them have never been on a movie set, let alone a movie which costs $20 million. They don’t know the basics about how union rules work, about taking regular breaks or how long you can shoot in a day.
We need to protect our investment and make sure they get up on time and shoot what they need. Otherwise, we could have a multi-million- dollar train out of control.
‘We’re sending this woman, who is brilliant, to run things on the ground. But she won’t get any title credit. People won’t admit it, they can’t admit it, but reverse racism is definitely going on. You could argue that it’s a good thing, that this swinging of the pendulum so far the other way is only fair after years of white privilege. But at what cost? Surely it is best for everyone if people are hired on the basis of talent and ability? I can tell you, we are hiring people based purely on their ethnicity, gender and social-media profiles.
‘If you are brown and female and gay then come on in. We’re all getting diversity training. We’re walking on eggshells during every Zoom meeting. It’s got to the point where, if there’s a person of colour in the meeting, we can’t hang up before they do, for fear of it being considered offensive.’
One film editor who did dare to speak out has seen his career all but destroyed. Nathan Lee Bush, who has shot commercials for corporations such as Budweiser and Nike, criticised a post on a private Facebook group which read: ‘I NEED AN EDITOR! Looking for Black Union Editors.’
Leading figures from the industry have a reputation for lecturing the world on issues of human rights, diversity and the environment, from George Clooney’s campaign to end the genocide in Darfur to Leonardo DiCaprio’s missives on global warming
Bush, who is white, described the advert as ‘anti-white racism’ and wrote: ‘Look what we’re asked to tolerate. The people openly and proudly practising racism are the ones calling everyone racist to shut them down, and anyone who dares to speak up is cancelled, their livelihood and dreams stripped from them by a baying mob.’
But voicing his concerns proved disastrous. One of Bush’s main clients, the US restaurant chain Panera Bread, vowed never to work with him again and Bush has since been forced to apologise.
‘I was literally just playing a video game when I casually wrote those words,’ he said later.
‘All I was trying to say is: ‘Is the antidote to past discrimination based on skin colour more retributive discrimination based on skin colour?’ I should have, however, realised this was not the time to bring it up. To anyone I offended, I’m very sorry.’
It has taken several tumultuous years for this perfect storm to gather. It began with the scandal over Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement. Now, as one insider puts it, the industry faces a ‘tsunami which has turned everything upside down’. Some will say the change is overdue as, for all the warm words, Hollywood remains a privileged enclave.
Just five years ago, lack of diversity at the annual Academy Awards ceremony spawned the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
While last year’s box office hits – films such as Black Panther, Get Out and Crazy Rich Asians – were a huge success, their casts, predominantly black and Asian, were not represented in the major acting awards. This year’s winners – Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger and Laura Dern – were all white.
Then came Black Lives Matter spawned in the wake of protests over the killing of George Floyd in May after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Demonstrations were held across America, the Confederate flag was burned and ‘racist’ statues toppled – while along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, protesters mingled with the (predominantly white) stars immortalised on the sidewalks.
Studios including Disney, Warner Bros, CBS and Netflix have shared messages of support for the BLM movement, and have vowed to spend millions to promote diversity and inclusion. New York Times writer Reggie Ugwu said: ‘The industry is in the clutches of an extremely public identity crisis in which the fresh, multicultural image it aspires to is undermined by the observable evidence.’
But while the intentions are undoubtedly good, many fear it will have the opposite effect. One Emmy Award-nominated white writer said: ‘I’ve never known people so fearful. Houses are being put up for sale. People are moving out because even when things get back to normal after the pandemic there’s going to be no work.’
‘It’s about fairness,’ another writer said. ‘I’ve spent the past three years mentoring young, black writers. But now I’m out of a job and it’s nothing to do with my abilities as a writer. People think of Hollywood as a place where dreams come true but for people like me, it’s turned into a nightmare.’
Now the army of overgrown babies who say everyone must think like them are invading our bedrooms, says DOUGLAS MURRAY after the attempt to ‘cancel’ Killing Eve star Jodie Comer
Do you believe in thought crime? In picking people off, one by one, till everybody agrees with just a single point of view? Each week, we see this world come a little closer.
Many of the victims are famous. But people who are not remotely well known are writing to me every week to say that they, too, now fear for their livelihoods.
Still more are keeping their heads down, fearing what will happen if they dare to speak out against the dogmas of the time and the new totalitarians who promote them.
There’s been a steadily rising tide of conformity in recent years. Increasingly, we have been told what we are allowed to say, hear, see and know.
Swarming over the internet, the Left-wing mob is waging a campaign to silence dissenting voices and get free-thinking people removed from their jobs. And they have succeeded. Now the wokerati want to enter the bedroom and say who we may sleep with, too.
Take last week’s attempt to ‘cancel’ the Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer. Her crime? Nothing she has said or thought.
Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer is pictured with new boyfriend James Burke. Mr Burke is alleged to be a registered Republican and a Donald Trump supporter. Cue an internet meltdown and a demand by activists that Comer be prevented from working again. It’s ludicrous
Instead, the online trolls had been enraged to discovered who she is dating. The supposed culprit is an American lacrosse player called James Burke.
His crime? Mr Burke is alleged to be a registered Republican and a Donald Trump supporter. Cue an internet meltdown and a demand by activists that Comer be prevented from working again.
It’s ludicrous. How can anyone demand that we restrict ourselves to partners who are in 100 per cent ideological alignment with the views of a Left-wing sect?
The bullying of inoffensive Jodie Comer might be a new low, but I’ve seen it coming for some time.
Two years ago, a 26-year-old racing driver called Conor Daly lost his sponsors because of something said in the 1980s. Daly competes in the full-blooded series run by Nascar – the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – which is much-loved in the southern USA.
Yet consider this: Daly was not alive at the time of the alleged offence. How had he mis-spoken before he’d even been born?
The answer is he hadn’t. Daly lost his sponsorship because his racing driver father was alleged to have made a racial slur three decades earlier. And there was no reprieve.
Daly competes in the full-blooded series run by Nascar – the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – which is much-loved in the southern USA. Yet consider this: Daly was not alive at the time of the alleged offence. How had he mis-spoken before he’d even been born? The answer is he hadn’t. Daly lost his sponsorship because his racing driver father was alleged to have made a racial slur three decades earlier. The pair are pictured above
This totalitarian instinct has crept up on us with amazing ease. It is the product of a vindictive Leftism which used only to reside on certain US university campuses.
Yet today, boosted hugely by the internet, this half-baked ideology, tribal and dogmatic, obsessed with the language of racial, sexual and gender politics, is running riot.
All decent attitudes, not least the British idea of fair play, have been driven out. It is perfectly normal to have a point of view and argue it. It is perfectly fine to dislike and even disdain some ideas. Who doesn’t?
But no one has the right to get people fired or made unemployable because of views that differ from their own, let alone because of their partner’s views.
That is neither democratic nor acceptable. It is fascism. Red fascism, but fascism all the same.
It is important we face up to this. Extremism can occur on all political sides. Every political and religious movement can become a focus for bitter people and radical malcontents. But in our age, the bullying totalitarians come from an ever-more assertive political Left.
Take last week’s letter to Harper’s magazine, signed by 153 artists, writers, and scholars. The letter called for an end to ‘cancel culture’ which sees online mobs trying to intimidate and ‘de-platform’ people simply because of their views.
As it happens, the letter was Left-leaning, including the compulsory attack on President Trump. The signatories, likewise, were almost all from the Left, suggesting little interest in ‘reaching across the aisle’. But the sentiments were hard to disagree with – or so you might have thought.
The luminaries named at the bottom of the letter were picked off one by one. Did they know they were signing their name alongside the appalling ‘transphobe’ J. K. Rowling? Did they know a solitary conservative, George W Bush’s former speechwriter, David Frum, had signed the letter? Soon enough, some signatories were apologising for signing in the first place.
At a certain stage of growing up, most of us come to understand that worldwide agreement with our own set of personally held views is not achievable, even if it were desirable. Which it isn’t.
Today, however, we are dealing with an army of overgrown babies who never did make that realisation. They never did learn that the world is diverse in its opinions.
At university, they were told something positively dangerous: that people who disagree with them are not merely wrong, not merely ignorant, they are ill-informed bigots. And that, in order to achieve justice, these people must be cleared out of the way.
The world these activists are creating is vengeful and vicious, and increasingly dull.
Last week, a clip from a recent BBC comedy show, The Mash Report, was posted online. Even for those of us who long ago gave up bothering trying to find anything funny on the BBC, it was jaw-droppingly awful.
It included a segment of two unfunny comedians agreeing with each other in an unfunny manner.
At one stage the female comedian declared ‘free speech is now basically a way adult people can say racist stuff without any consequences’. There was no hint of irony.
Wrong-headed certainty like this is ruining comedy like much else, as Ricky Gervais said just a few days ago. Who would dare to make a dangerous joke today? Much safer to make political sermons on the BBC under the guise of ‘humour’.
At one stage the female comedian declared ‘free speech is now basically a way adult people can say racist stuff without any consequences’. There was no hint of irony. Wrong-headed certainty like this is ruining comedy like much else, as Ricky Gervais said just a few days ago
Some people – especially if they are white and male – think the best way to get through this madness is to shut their eyes and swear allegiance to the big lies and presumptions of the time. They have seen how the mob comes for anyone who says something controversial.
Today, charities, public sector bodies and whole corporations are increasingly filled with people who have been told what to say and what to believe. Some have been told by their bosses what books they should read – a sinister development.
Last month I received a leaked letter sent out by an NHS boss in Birmingham. She had told those working under her to read four books on ‘white privilege’ so they could ‘correct’ their attitudes.
This is wrong, and people should stand against it while we have the chance. The woke warriors might like it were we to live in a dictatorship run by them. But we don’t – not yet, at any rate.
We live in a democracy. One in which people have the right to voice their opinions and still have the right to date free-minded individuals who disagree with the mob.
The bullies want to stop the rest of us talking or thinking. It’s time the rest of us answered back.
What it feels like to be CANCELLED: It’s the mob’s weapon of choice – trying to take away their victim’s livelihood – it’s even happened to the cartoonist for the Communist Morning Star and the organiser of a gay pride parade
By Nick Craven for the Mail on Sunday
The Chinese used to have a brutal remedy for those who transgressed the teachings of Chairman Mao. The rebels were dragged to so-called ‘struggle sessions’ where they were subjected to vicious abuse from an audience of true believers.
Offenders who failed to give grovelling apologies for their misguided views were, at the very least, shunned by society. In other words, ‘cancelled’.
The online mob so keen to erase Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling for taking a stand on transgender politics now uses a similarly ugly tactic to silence dissenters. Never mind the subtleties of Rowling’s case, denouncing her is all that counts.
What does it feel like to find yourself at the bottom of an internet ‘pile-on’? The Mail on Sunday spoke to some of the victims of ‘cancel culture’ to find out [File photo]
The trans debate is only one front in a cultural war between strident activists – many of them Left-wing – and those who dare to disagree with them. Other recent battlegrounds have included race, Brexit and immigration.
Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union, who receives daily requests from people who have been – or fear they will be – ‘cancelled’, compares the prevailing atmosphere to some of history’s darkest episodes.
‘What’s disturbing about cancel culture is that we’ve seen it so many times before – in 17th Century Salem, in Paris after the French Revolution, in America during the McCarthy era, in China in the 1960s,’ he said.
‘It’s as if a group of people are re-enacting some of the worst moments in human history, but because they’re not actually killing anyone they think it’s okay.’
But what does it feel like to find yourself at the bottom of an internet ‘pile-on’? The Mail on Sunday spoke to some of the victims of ‘cancel culture’ to find out.
The left-wing cartoonist
Civil servant Stella Perrett had supplied edgy cartoons for the Communist Morning Star newspaper for years until February 2020 when she found that being on the Left is no protection against cancellation.
A lifelong feminist, she had strong views about ‘self-identifying’ trans women being allowed into female-only spaces such as domestic violence refuges and toilets.
She wanted to highlight the dangers of the ‘pledge’ by three women candidates in the Labour leadership contest backing self-identification to be enshrined in law, so she drew a cartoon of a crocodile sliding into a bathing pool and telling several worried newts: ‘Don’t worry your pretty little heads! I’m transitioning as a newt!’
Civil servant Stella Perrett had supplied edgy cartoons for the Communist Morning Star newspaper for years until February 2020 when she found that being on the Left is no protection against cancellation
Ms Perrett, 60, also included a note for publication explaining that when she was a girl, she was convinced that she was really a boy, but realises now it was just a phase.
She wondered whether in the present climate she would have been encouraged to change sex, with disastrous consequences.
The Morning Star didn’t run her note, but it did publish the cartoon – and faced a ferocious backlash led on social media by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, who described it as ‘vicious’.
A lifelong feminist, she had strong views about ‘self-identifying’ trans women being allowed into female-only spaces such as domestic violence refuges and toilets
Others joined the fray, including members of trade unions who bankroll the Morning Star, which has a dwindling circulation of a few thousand copies. Without informing Ms Perrett – who is disabled by a condition called Erb’s palsy – the Morning Star immediately published an apology, but some of the bigger unions, including Unison, were unhappy even after that.
According to some insiders, there was even talk of pulling the plug on the ailing newspaper, so within days came a much longer 600-word apology to its readers and a promise to the unions behind the scenes not to use Ms Perrett again.
A phone call from the police followed after a ‘hate crime’ was reported and recorded, but the police confirmed yesterday that no further action was taken.
Then, someone in the PCS civil servants’ union, for which Ms Perrett was an unpaid official, started baying for her to be kicked out of her post. She was summoned to a disciplinary hearing.
‘I was close to retirement, and while I loved my union work, I just decided to stand down,’ Ms Perrett told The Mail on Sunday.
‘The whole thing was tremendously stressful. I felt very let down by the paper and by the union. They both threw me under the bus.
‘Cartoons are supposed to be edgy – even offensive – to provoke debate, but these days some people seem to want to stifle views which are different from their own.’ The Morning Star declined to comment.
The radio talk show host
Manx Radio presenter Stuart Peters was last month suspended, following an argument with a listener on-air during which the broadcaster said he had not benefited from white privilege.
Manx Radio presenter Stuart Peters was last month suspended, following an argument with a listener on-air during which the broadcaster said he had not benefited from white privilege
It followed a blog post by Mr Peters, 65, in which he had stated ‘white lives matter’ in response to the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests. He said his suspension, following complaints from 13 people but also messages of support from 27 listeners, amounted to an ‘Orwellian attempt at mind and speech control’.
A few weeks later, he was cleared by the Isle of Man’s Communications Commission, which said that while it considered his comments insensitive, they were not made to ‘stir up racial hatred’ and did not breach its broadcasting code. Mr Peters returned earlier this month, but in a somewhat muzzled form, with the phone-in section of his show voluntarily removed.
He said: ‘I believe that the vast majority of people are kind, considerate and open-minded, and I fully intend to ensure that their voices are heard.
‘But I will not expose myself, Manx Radio or anyone else to the comments and abuse of the last three weeks, and have asked the station to remove the live phone-in element of my show’.
The gay pride parade organiser
Charlie Shakespeare had his plans for a virtual gay pride parade earlier this year torpedoed because he had retweeted statements from Nigel Farage and free speech campaigner Toby Young.
Left-wing activists led by Labour’s diversity adviser announced a boycott when anonymous Twitter posts revealed he was a Tory supporter who had called for a ‘clean-break Brexit’.
Linda Riley, the publisher of Diva magazine, who was appointed as an LGBT+ adviser by Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, told event planners: ‘My brand will not be associated with anybody who RT’s [retweets] Toby Young and Nigel Farage.’
Riley subsequently wrote in Diva that this was the ‘deal-breaker’ but that she had other concerns.
Mr Shakespeare said: ‘Once the event was derailed, we did not receive promised sponsorship money and so our own funds, which we had put into the event to that point, were lost.’
His employers at a children’s theatre in South London also received emails calling on them to sack him, but refused.
He said: ‘We tried to create an uplifting event, which would raise funds for charity, with acts putting in hours of work.
‘We’ll never know what we might have achieved because cancelling me was far more important to them than the happiness of the LGBT+ community I had put hours of work into representing.’
The free speech academic
Dr Adam Perkins, who specialises in the neurobiology of personality, was looking forward to addressing guests at his university, King’s College London, on the subject of free speech, but the event two years ago was postponed after organisers said his security could not be guaranteed.
An earlier controversial lecture had been abandoned when it was disrupted by demonstrators, and while a new date was offered, Dr Perkins was not available and the lecture never took place.
King’s, dubbed ‘Cancel College’ by one of its academics in a recent anonymous article for The Critic magazine, has been accused of becoming a particularly ‘woke’ institution.
In a book entitled The Welfare Trait, Dr Perkins had argued that children whose families depend on benefits tend to be less motivated and more resistant to employment than their parents.
He recommended that policies should be altered so the welfare state did not encourage families in disadvantaged households to have more children.
His views sparked complaints to his employers, a response that Dr Perkins says is a favoured route for cancellation.
‘Since my book came out, there have been five separate complaints alleging, for example, that I possess ‘a small narrow mind’ or have ‘contempt’ for working class people,’ he said.
‘The unfortunate truth is that scientists like me are permitted to toil away in peace, provided our findings are restricted to obscure journals, but the moment we publicly blaspheme we are targeted by the Witchfinder Generals of the academy.
To be fair to King’s, the fact I still have a job there despite multiple attempts by the liberal lynch-mob to get me fired shows that it does actually stand up for academic freedom. The same can’t be said of other universities, which have caved in and fired non-PC academics after campaigns by online mobs of Left-wingers.’
A King’s College spokesman, said: ‘We take our own commitments to freedom of expression seriously. Universities in particular have a unique challenge to create environments in which open and uncensored debate from all sides… can take place without fear of intimidation and within the framework of the law.
‘We work hard to meet these responsibilities and have not cancelled any events.’
The Twitter row lecturer
Dr Mike McCulloch found himself under investigation by his employers at the University of Plymouth for ‘liking’ tweets saying that ‘all lives matter’ and ‘gender is real’ on his Twitter account.
The PhD physics lecturer made clear that ‘opinions are mine & not those of my employer’, but this did not satisfy those angry at his dissent from the liberal academic orthodoxy.
Earlier this month, the 51-year-old former Labour Party member was summoned to a hearing after a colleague sent copies of his Twitter feed to his bosses.
‘I was reported to the equalities team over tweets I’d liked, including the ‘all lives matter’ one and another opposing mass immigration,’ said Dr McCulloch, who has worked at the university for a decade. ‘I was told there would be an investigation by a senior colleague with a panel, and I could feel my career slipping away.
‘I could sense they were going to ask me to promise not to express my political views on Twitter, and I don’t like people telling me what I can say or think, and I would have had to say no.’
His ordeal ended when the Free Speech Union found a lawyer for Dr McCulloch who pointed out that universities are required to protect the right to freedom of speech of their staff under the Human Rights Act 1998.
‘When the lawyer wrote to the university to ask which rule I’d actually broken, they dropped the case the next day,’ said the academic. ‘It’s very sinister if people are now telling me what I am allowed to ‘like’.
‘It seems it is possible for a single anonymous person anywhere in the world to destroy somebody’s career. Our whole society is becoming hysterical, which is a very dangerous thing’.
The University of Plymouth said it ‘fully upholds freedom of speech and academic freedom’.