The Tobias Literary Agency reportedly fired Sasha White for her expression of solidarity with famed novelist JK Rowling and her views on biological sex.
These days, you have to be extremely cautious about expressing dissident political opinions on social media, or you may soon find yourself among the swelling ranks of the cancelled, and unable to pay the rent. We have entered the days of the Nike Test for free speech: if you can't see that corporate account tweeting it, don't say it at all, even if your rights depend on it. Jesse Singal broke it down.
The opinion most likely to result in coercive progressives reporting you to your employer is standing up for women's rights, by distinguishing between women and trans-identified males who wish they were women, as literary agent's assistant Sasha White found when she fell foul of the cancel crew this week.
White had been interning at The Tobias Agency and had been taken on as a full-time employee a month previously. White's personal Twitter account was not linked to her work account. It was aspiring adult fiction author with an agent, Bethany Baptiste, who sought out White's personal account and discovered that White recorded such controversial observations as that sex is socially salient, and professed her support for JK Rowling.
Trans activists objected to White tweeting in support of JK Rowling, but they did not analyze why and how anything she wrote on Twitter was "transphobic." It is enough for the canceller, with an identity which scores high in intersectionality points, to assert that a thought is bigoted. No analysis is considered necessary:
Baptiste—a pronoun person who leans on an open door by specifying that others refer to her as "she/her"— launched a cancellation campaign against White in the following terms (Baptiste's Twitter account has now been set to private):
"A secret account exists for an TERF that works in the publishing industry to express all their transphobic views in the name of RADICAL FEMINISM. I am disgusted by the FILTH I read. It terrifies me to think this person has the power to gatekeep trans authors."
"I can't call myself a trans ally and withhold info that protects trans authors from transphobic agents. Do not query Sasha White (@sashasemyonovna). Her TERF account is @iamGrushenka. While she's within her right to post whatever she likes, STAY AWAY FROM HER."
The dog-whistle misogynistic terms having been broadcast, sharks began to circle immediately. Young women working in the book industry, and male trans activists with the ubiquitous Animé avatars, quickly responded to Baptiste's post with gleeful, crowing comments revelling in their knowledge that White was going to be sacked, such as "So what you're saying is, there's a job opening at The Tobias Agency?" (with a picture of a resumé below).
Some started to lean on the agency to sacrifice White, demanding that it reconcile what they see as a contradiction between its' support for Black Lives Matter, and employment of a woman who doesn't accept men can become women.
Several accounts responded to Baptiste's call to cancel, all connected to the young adult fiction publishing world, smearing White as a bigot, refusing to do business with her, and calling for writers to blacklist her as from submitting manuscript queries to her as an agent. For example, Shelley Romero, who describes herself as "a Honduran-American Assistant Editor in kid lit," tweeted in support of Baptiste:
"TW: transphobia, terf. For any editors and writers following me: Sasha White from The Tobias Agency is a TERF. Do not query. Do not review subs. Which serves as a reminder that I don't and won't want to work with any TERFs ever."
One "non-binary" blogger joined in the attack because White "is a literary agent who doesn't believe in honoring my pronouns," asking her "do you require the authors you represent to change their pronouns to what you agree with?"
Predictably, anyone criticising Baptiste's crybullying cancel campaign was accused of being motivated by racism against Baptiste, as opposed to concern for the young woman being targeted for involuntary unemployment, or deploring potentially unlawful harassment and defamation cloaked in the rhetoric of social justice activism.
The campaign, which was perfectly calibrated to deprive White of her livelihood in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession, worked like a charm. Modern day witch finders know what to say to get a woman ostracized and marginalized. Within one hour, White's employer sacked her, issuing the following statement from the president, a white man named Lane Heymont:
The Tobias Agency then locked its Twitter account, presumably shocked by the outpouring of comments supportive of Sasha White from around the world, and closing their DMs. The agency's pinned tweet was an idealistic mission statement setting out their principles.
It includes "The freedom of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend" and "One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's belief."
How unfortunate that the white men who run the agency lack the moral courage to act according to their own principles. At base, what sin did White commit besides offending the sensitive feelings of men who demand to be treated as though they are women, when the scientific fact is that humans can change sex as much as they can grow wings and fly?
If standing up for the right of girls not to have to compete against boys in athletics, or of women prisoners not to be locked up with male sex offenders, is "anti-trans sentiment," then one can only conclude that trans rights activism is misogynistic, and anti-woman.
For her part, Bethany Baptiste seems to view the episode as a profile-raiser which will put her writing output on the map. Her Twitter profile, which bore the handle "Trans Lives Matter" at the time of her cancellation campaign, now bears a photograph of her smiling face, and the handle has been changed to her name. She is proud, not ashamed, of initiating a witch hunt to get another woman fired.
It is impossible to ignore that cancel culture has little to do with "progressive" political idealism, but rather functions as a tool for those who may be mediocre in terms of ability to dominate, exact revenge, take out the competition, or game the system so that members of their cult can capture institutions via a strategy of entryism. It is about power, but it is also unstable, because the purity spiral means that whoever points the witch-finders' finger will eventually be taken down by the same dynamic they set in motion.
Since the sacking of Maya Forstater, and JK Rowling's public support for her cause, the ritual sacrifice of feminist women smeared as "Terfs" has accelerated to the rate of one women a month.
Then, young adult fiction author Gillian Phillip was deprived of her livelihood for supporting Rowling. Now, Sasha White, also working in young adult fiction, has been deprived of her livelihood for the same perceived transgression: standing up for women's rights amid an onslaught by so-called "progressives" who seem oblivious to the sinister echoes of McCarthyism and the Red Guard in their politics.
The cost of working in the liberal arts is obedience to so-called "progressive" dogma, including transgender ideology. It has become a kind of protection racket. Online accounts with few followers stir up hatred against someone whose political views make them vulnerable, then go to the institution with the insinuation "nice organization you've got there, it'd be a shame if anything unpleasant happened to it..."
Time and again, those managing the institution cave to the cry-bullies and eject the person with heterodox views. The "non-binary" blogger made this explicit, tweeting to Baptiste, who had segued into full-on victim mode:
"Take care. You don't deserve this. They haven't attacked me nearly as much and it's likely because TERFs are often just as racist as they are transphobic, like you said. Whenever you need a book review, a sensitivity read, or just your book promoted, let me know."
Younger women, in particular, do trans-identified men's dirty work of marginalizing any woman to stands up to the trans activist project to redefine 'woman' to include males. In return, the witch finder women can look forward to having their imperfect "allyship" criticized and surveilled by the same entitled males, on an ongoing basis.
White took to Twitter to confirm that she had been sacked for speaking about women's rights on her personal account. Her tweet received 1,000 likes in 45 minutes and now has over 12,000, suggesting that the tide is turning, and that the social penalty for starting cancel campaigns is beginning to creep upwards. It remains to be seen whether another agency offers White a job, and whether Baptiste's publishing career takes off.
In the meantime, the status quo is that in the United States, a man has employment protections if fired for believing he is a woman, but a woman has no employment protection for knowing he's not. Non-disclosure agreements are used to coerce women into silence on their scientifically accurate observations and feminist views, in exchange for access to health care. American law doesn't work for women, and the liberation of women from patriarchal oppression remains a dream. For now.