Julie Burchill is paid her advance in full and gets her rights back for book after it was cancelled by publisher over ‘Islamophobic’ Twitter row
- Julie Burchill, 61, accused journalist Ash Sarkar of ‘worshipping a paedophile’
- Ms Burchill then lost her book contract with Little, Brown over the row
- But publisher paid Ms Burchill her advance after Free Speech Union stepped in
- They also agreed to return the full rights to the book to her
- Row started after Burchill leapt to defence of Rod Liddle after Sarkar’s criticism
- In 2012, Liddle said he wasn’t a teacher because he couldn’t try to ‘s**g the kids’
Feminist writer Julie Burchill’s publisher has relinquished all rights to her book and agreed to pay her in full after they cancelled the contract following an ‘Islamophobic’ twitter row.
Ms Burchill had told Muslim journalist Ash Sarkar that her worship of the Prophet Mohammed was the ‘worship of a paedophile’, referring to the 7th-Century leader’s marriage to his third wife Aisha when she was around 10.
Ms Burchill’s book – Welcome to the Woke Trials: How #Identity killed progressive politics – was due to be released in March but was dropped by Little, Brown after the row.
The Hachette imprint said that Ms Burchill’s comments were ‘not defensible from a moral or intellectual standpoint’ and had ‘crossed a line with regard to race and religion’
It added that her book, which describes what happened after one her articles for the Observer was removed amid criticism that she had used ‘transphobic’ language, had become ‘inextricably linked with those views’.
However, the publisher has now agreed to pay Ms Burchill her advance in full and has returned all the rights to the tome to her after an intervention by the Free Speech Union.
MailOnline understands that five new publishers have now offered to take on the book and Ms Burchill told this publication she will decide on which to go with in the New Year.
Feminist writer Julie Burchill’s publisher has relinquished all rights to her book and agreed to pay her in full after they cancelled the contract following an ‘Islamophobic’ twitter row
After the news that Little, Brown had agreed to pay her, which was first reported by political website Guido Fawkes, Ms Burchill said: ‘I’ve been upsetting bourgeoise bed-wetters since I was 17 – now I’m 61 and nothing has changed.
‘Last time I checked, that wasn’t against the law. I am indebted to the Free Speech Union for stepping in to protect my rights.’
Ms Burchill then told MailOnline in a tweet that she was ‘very pleased’ with the reversal.
The general secretary and founder of the FSU, writer and journalist Toby Young, added: ‘For a publisher to cancel a book on cancel culture because a self-proclaimed communist has denounced the author is completely unacceptable.
‘This is Great Britain, not Stalin’s Russia. I’m glad we were able to help.’ Julie is unrepentant.’
A spokesman for Little, Brown declined to comment on Wednesday.
Her latest spat began on December 13 when she rushed to defend journalist Rod Liddle after Sarkar criticised a 2012 article in the Spectator where Liddle said he didn’t become a teacher because he would want to sleep with pupils.
Liddle wrote: ‘The only thing stopping me from being a teacher was that I could not remotely conceive of not trying to sh** the kids.
‘We’re talking secondary level here, by the way – and even then I don’t think I’d have dabbled much below year ten, as it is now called.’
Posting a portion of the piece, Sarkar commented: ‘It’s astonishing that both he and his editor thought guffawing about hypothetically being a paedophile made for a good article.’
In response, Ms Burchill said: ‘Can you please remind me of the age of the Prophet Mohammad’s first wife? Thank you in anticipation.’
She later added: ‘I don’t WORSHIP a paedophile. If Aisha was nine, YOU do. Lecturer, lecture thyself!’
Sarkar subsequently accused Burchill of Islamophobia, with the exchange shared widely on social media.
Ms Burchill had told Muslim journalist Ash Sarkar that her worship of the Prophet Mohammed was the ‘worship of a paedophile’, referring to the 7th-Century leader’s marriage to his third wife Aisha when she was around 10
Ms Burchill then revealed last week she had been ‘cancelled’ by her publisher following the row.
She said: ‘Reason was ‘hate speech’ to Ash Sarkar and ‘crossing a line’ – There was also a concern that the line might be crossed again during the promotion of the book.’
Ms Burchill boasted about her cancellation and said she is ‘excited for imminent events’.
Sarkar said she was ‘appalled’ by Burchill’s comments, telling the Times: ‘It was quite upsetting to see that it’s not the first time she’s made derogatory insinuations about my faith.’
She added that she was discussing her option for further action with her lawyers.
But Little, Brown’s initial move was also met with fury, with actor Laurence Fox tweeting for people to ‘play the game’ and boycott Hachette books.
He also called the word Islamophobia ‘a lie’ and a ‘meaningless word scrabble of rubbish’.
The FSU said at the time that the cancellation was ‘a new low’, adding: ‘Appeasement is like feeding a crocodile in the hope he will eat you last.’
Ms Burchill then revealed she had been ‘cancelled’ by her publisher following the row. She said: ‘Reason was “hate speech” to Ash Sarkar and “crossing a line” – There was also a concern that the line might be crossed again during the promotion of the book’
Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill said that ‘this orgy of censorious fury ironically proves the point of Burchill’s book – that the unwoke are being tried and found guilty and cast out of polite society’.
‘If anyone ever again tries to say cancel culture doesn’t exist, remind them of this: a book on cancel culture was cancelled because the author made fun of Islam,’ Mr O’Neill added.
In their initial statement, Little, Brown said: ‘We will no longer be publishing Julie Burchill’s book. This is not a decision we have taken lightly.
‘We believe passionately in freedom of speech at Little, Brown and we have always published authors with controversial or challenging perspectives – and we will continue to do so.
‘While there is no legal definition of hate speech in the UK, we believe that Julie’s comments on Islam are not defensible from a moral or intellectual standpoint, that they crossed a line with regard to race and religion, and that her book has now become inextricably linked with those views.’
Burchill previously said that her desire to write the book had been sparked by the ‘vitriolic reaction’ she had received after writing an article in the Observer in defence of columnist Suzanne Moore in 2013.
A synopsis read: ‘Welcome to the Woke Trials will be part-memoir and part-indictment of what happened to Burchill between then and now, as the regiments of the woke took over.
‘It will also be a characteristically irreverent and entertaining analysis of the key elements of a continuing and disturbing phenomenon – all told with the common touch and rampant vulgarity that has made Burchill a household name.’
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