An apology

by Michael Nugent on June 9, 2016

Leonie Facebook

Leonie Hilliard has published on Twitter a comment that I made in February on her Facebook page. In it, I referred to a comment that somebody else made criticising “a movement led by greying white men”. That comment, as published now, has since been edited, and I don’t recall what was edited out of or into it. I replied at the time that this comment, not the person, was “an ageist sexist racist comment”.

I apologise unreservedly for any implication that the person who made that comment is ageist, sexist or racist. She is not. I like and respect the people involved in that discussion, and they were expressing frustration at unjust experiences that they have had in their positive, constructive and helpful voluntary work as activists. It was hurtful and unfair of me to associate her even indirectly with ageism, sexism or racism on the basis of that comment.

Atheist Ireland promotes equality and inclusivity in our policies and activities, and we oppose prejudice against anybody based on their age, race, gender, or any other relevant aspect of their identity. I should have explicitly included this context in my comment, or else written about it more extensively elsewhere in a way that would not have singled her out in this way. I also apologise to Leonie for publishing the comment on her Facebook page.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jan Steen June 11, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Still looks like a particularly stupid comment to me. I don’t see the need for an apology. Anyone who dismisses a cause because it is put forward by “greying white men” is a bigoted idiot. Probably a SJW.

2 Comrade Bala June 11, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Mr. Nugent, i’m not sure what you feel the need to apologise for any possible indirect implications that your comments might have, even if you stand by the comments by themselves.
I agree that because someone says something that is sexist, or racist or ageist, that that does not necessarily mean they are inherently sexist racist and ageist individuals. But you never said any such thing, you stated clearly that you thought that a particular comment was sexist, racist and ageist, do you still believe that? and if so what is the need to apologise?

3 HH June 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

This post is bizarre to me.
A person makes an unmistakably ageist, sexist and racist comment and you say that the comment is those things but not the person.

While it may be the case that people who are not generally racist, sexist etc. may say a racist, sexist thing; it is ok to point this out. The person who made the comment, not the person who points it out, is associating themselves with racism, sexism etc.
From the comment this person made, they sound very much like a racist, sexist, ageist. The onus should be on that person to apologise.

4 DBone July 6, 2016 at 9:14 am

You have no need to apologise to her. The gender, age and race of any prominent figure should be irrelevant when it comes to joining a movement or cause.

I may not be white or old, but had she made a comment in kind to me, I would’ve taken it as suggestive of someone having prejudice against me.

A young brown bearded lad like me being told that I make people feel uncomfortable?

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