“We were concerned at the NSPCC’s decision to replicate the experience that many trans children and adults experience in being subjected to abuse and ridicule and subsequently abandoned.”
The charity’s decision was made after a journalist from The Times, Janice Turner, tweeted at the NSPCC and asked them to “explain why a children’s charity has hired a porn model as a Childline ambassador”. Her tweet followed tweets from a group calling themselves Safe Schools Alliance UK, which was formed in May. The group said Bergdorf had gone against child safeguarding principles by encouraging children to make contact with her privately if they needed to talk, and also said she presented a “highly sexualised, porn-influenced image of what it means” to be a woman. But critics have accused the group of being transphobic.
The move by the NSPCC has caused outrage, and not only among celebrities – almost 150 staff from the NSPCC have now written to charity’s executive board and trustees condemning its decision, and expressing concern that it will have a wider impact on trans children.
In a letter seen by Stylist, and first reported on by The Guardian, staff say they are “deeply disappointed about the treatment of Munroe by the organisation”.
The letter continues: “In particular, we were concerned at the NSPCC’s decision to replicate the experience that many trans children and adults experience in being subjected to abuse and ridicule and subsequently abandoned.”
In announcing its decision to no longer work with Bergdorf, the NSPCC said that she would “have no ongoing relationship with Childline or the NSPCC” and that it did not “support, endorse or authorise any personal statements made by any celebrities who contribute to campaigns”.
The letter from NSPCC staff said they were “alarmed” at the statement, which they said “failed to articulate the reasons for this decision and to express solidarity with Munroe in the face of significant online abuse”.
Staff also said they were “concerned about the lack of public apology for the harm we have caused both to Munroe and the wider LGBT+ community”.
The letter said staff felt “embarrassment and shame” over how the situation had been handled, and were now worried about how supportive the NSPCC is of its LGBT+ staff and the wider community.
It asked a series of questions of the executive board and trustees, including whether it supported trans rights and why the decision to cut ties with Bergdorf was taken, and ends: “The lack of transparency in the handling of this incident raises serious concerns about how the NSPCC functions and the respect it has for marginalised communities, including amongst its own staff”.
Stylist asked the NSPCC for a response to the letter, but it said there was none at the present time.
Bergdorf told The Guardian that she was grateful for the support of NHS staff, and added on Twitter: “If anything good can come out of this situation. I hope those who aren’t trans start to realise what trans people in the UK are dealing with.”