That the woke and cancel culture movements attacked JK Rowling and ignored Leicester sweatshops reveals their hypocrisy - Mark Casci

As I opened my emails and news apps this morning, I came across an interesting mixture of reactions and opinions which presented to me a heady brew of hypocrisy I could barely stand, particularly at such an early hour..

In the red corner was the news that ‘fast fashion retailer’ Boohoo, specialists in selling clothes that millennials buy for peanuts before wearing once and then chucking away, had appointed a QC to look at its supply chain.

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The appointment comes in the main as Boohoo battles with a colossal damage limitation exercise as its share price plunged, other retailers began to distance themselves from selling their clothes and the city in which the factory was based was plunged back into lockdown.

JK RowlingJK Rowling
JK Rowling

Meanwhile, in the blue corner was the reaction to a letter published in Harper’s magazine which had been signed by more than 150 of the planet’s most prominent writers, academics and intellectuals.

The letter sought to push back against the pernicious new trend for so-called ‘cancel culture’ – a trend largely confined to social media in which thousands of people engage in an online pile-on against individuals who have been deemed to have made offensive remarks in an attempt to ruin their careers and shame people away from supporting them.

Among its signatories included British author JK Rowling, herself the subject in recent weeks regarding her views on biological sex which were erroneously deemed to be an attack on transgender people.

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Rowling has categorically denied such charges saying she wholeheartedly supported transgender people and even penned a 3,600-word essay on the matter.

Boohoo in damage limitation drive - is it too late?Boohoo in damage limitation drive - is it too late?
Boohoo in damage limitation drive - is it too late?

The letter in Harper’s she signed criticised “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism” and “a blinding moral certainty” which in their view threatens free speech and stifles creativity by discouraging thinkers and artists from taking risks in their endeavours for fear of having their works and lives destroyed by a myopic online mob.

The letter was a clear swipe at those who are imbued in the intolerant woke culture and its diverse list of signatories included left wing US intellectual Noam Chomsky, respected feminist

Gloria Steinem, British author Sir Salman Rushdie and Syrian writer Khalid Khalifa.

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The latter two know what genuine persecution entails, with Sir Salman forced to spend several years of his life in hiding after receiving death threats for his 1988 book Satanic Verses and

Cafe Rouge in Leicester which is back on lockdownCafe Rouge in Leicester which is back on lockdown
Cafe Rouge in Leicester which is back on lockdown

Mr Khalifa living under constant threat from the Syrian dictatorship for his works which criticise it.

In short, it is a list of talented, wise and courageous people who deserve to be listened to and respected. Instead woke culture rose up again and denounced it. Surprise, surprise.

You are probably wondering where I am going with this and here’s your answer; where were these online puritans when they learned of the sweatshops in Leicester?

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Nowhere to be seen, with our politicians and trade unions having to pick up the cudgels. But why? Could it be the woke movement is largely driven by Millennials and Generation Zers who will happily one minute call JK Rowling a bigot on their Chinese sweatshop-produced iPhone before ordering an outfit they will only wear once from Boohoo the next? I suggest this is the case.

Boohoo has caught fire for its supply chainBoohoo has caught fire for its supply chain
Boohoo has caught fire for its supply chain

This is no attack on young people. I have written many times about how under 30s have been handed an appalling lot by mine and older generations and Covid is going to impact these age group the worst of all. I am speaking of one small but noisy collective of narrow-minded people who are failing to properly pick their battles and instead getting angry about something they do not understand or worse, even try to.

In wasting their time decrying free speech they risk the world their kids inherit will be even worse than the one they inhabit now.

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