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18 October 2012

Laurie Penny wins Editorial Intelligence “Twitter Public Personality” award

A statement in absentia.

By Laurie Penny

I’m really sorry I couldn’t be there in person to accept this award, and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me, as well as Editorial Intelligence for nominating me. Social media has been an energising and empowering force for the British commentariat, rearranging some of the old hierarchies and allowing young people and those outside the mainstream press to amplify voices that would otherwise go unheard.

Unfortunately, over the past two years social media has also become an increasingly hostile place for women writers and journalists, as well as for writers of thinkers of colour and of different faiths. I know of a number of talented women writers who have withdrawn from the arena of public debate in Britain because of the sheer scale and viciousness of sexist bullying that has come to poison the arena of political debate in this country, particularly online.

I would like to use this opportunity to call upon all of the editors, journalists and commentators in this room to take an active stand against sexist trolling and hate speech in your publications and on Twitter. Call it out whenever you see it and refuse to host it on your websites, because it demeans and cheapens all of us who feel proud to call ourselves members of the British press. Thank you.

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