CEO for Canadian company Shopify has refused to be bullied by online activists into policing the pro-child safeguarding merchandise sold through their services, as reported by the CBC, as well as Global News. "Good for you," said Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
In response to the articles from CBC, Global News, and tweets from irate activists, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke said that "Shopify has a published acceptable use policy and a principled process to apply it. Pressure groups on all sides try to influence it sometimes and CBC needs to see through that not amplify bad faith narrative."
Activists came after the CEO, demanding that the company stop allowing the sale of products that promote child safeguarding against "groomers," or those that would sexualize children and usher them into adult sexual lifestyles. The t-shirts, mugs, and merchandise they took issue with says "stop groomers," and was put out by popular Twitter account Libs of TikTok.
The concept of the groomer, or an adult that breaks down a child's boundaries so that they accept and are familiar with more and more adult sexual content, making them easy targets for those who would exploit children, was broached broadly this year in the wake of reports of teachers and others keeping gender identities of children and teens secret from parents.
Many LGBTQ activists have claimed that to be opposed to groomers, and grooming, is to be opposed to gay, lesbian, and trans-identified people. This is an odd perspective, since for decades, gay rights activists sought to distance themselves from rhetoric that associated them with this kind of behavior.
The CBC claimed that Libs of TikTok, which exposes activist teachers and unhinged lefitsts in their own words, "target[s] and spreads misinformation about the LGBTQ community." Global News notes that "the slogan doesn't specify that it has anything to do with the LGBTQ2 community," but quotes an activist who said that Libs of TikTok "specifically targets trans folks, trans performers, LGBTQ communities."
The CBC quoted the same activist, who said that the phrase "stop groomers" is "a 'dog whistle' used against members of the LGBTQ community."
"The merchandise that's being sold — it specifically uses the term 'groomer,'" the activist, Somerset Council Ariel Troster, said.
"It is an unfounded and really dangerous accusation of child abuse being levelled at people like me simply for existing in public space," Troster continued.
During the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa in the winter of 2022, Troster falsely claimed that protestors tried to torch an apartment building.
Another activist cited by CBC, Fae Johnstone, who runs an LGBTQ consultancy firm, said slogans opposing the sexual grooming of children are hateful. "It creates an environment where it's harder for us to do the work that we need to do in our schools … because there's a growing risk that they could end up on Libs of TikTok," Johnstone said, encouraging the boycott of Shopify.
Johnstone advises doctors on "gender affirming" care, despite not being trained in medicine.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been an advocate for free speech, and has vowed to make Twitter a platform without censorship and ideological banning.
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