Posted Under: Employment,Puritanism
Tonight a man’s life and livelihood hangs in the balance. He has been savagely denigrated in the national press, and the most personal details of his life laid bare. And tonight he is suspended by his employer and looks set to be sacked. His crime? To engage in the wrong kind of sexual role play with consenting adults.
Yesterday the Mirror made a splash. It revealed that Gareth Mead – head of social housing and homelessness at Fulham and Hammersmith council – had a kink for Nazism . And what’s more he engaged with other men who shared his fetish. Somehow the Mirror managed to get hold of some of the more intimate text messages that he sent, and have thus given us a window into the kind of roleplay in which he engaged.
Except they haven’t quite reported it like that. In yesterday’s big splash Mead was presented not as a nazi fetishist but, in their words, as a “secret nazi”. Though the roleplay context is blindingly obvious – he met the men through a fetish site, not stormfront – the Mirror insisted on taking his Nazi-related intimate pronouncements at face value.
They quote an
unnamed moron anonymous source as telling them:
“What he was texting was really too much.“I could not believe that he had such extreme views while he is earning a lot of council taxpayers’ money paying lip service to multi-cultural political correctness.“The pictures showed just how far he had gone with the whole thing. He had all the bits to go with the uniform. He even had a gun in one picture laid out on a Nazi flag.”
Seriously, what an idiot. How stupid must you to imagine that what a man does for sexual thrills offers a serious indication of his political opinions. Are we to believe that anybody who chains up their boyfriend or girlfriend without first acting out a court scene believes in imprisonment without due process?. Most ridiculously the Mirror go on to say “in recent years the housing policy has been likened to “ethnic cleansing” for discriminating against poor and ethnic minority tenants”. Obviously its because the man in charge dresses like a Nazi.
Now if Hammersmith and Fulham council were decent employers with a bit of spine they would:
a) Treat this gossip abut a man’s sexual proclivities with the contempt it deserves.
b) Offer some support to an employee who is probably traumatised by having his most private feelings cruelly paraded in the national press.
But instead they have suspended him pending a disciplinary, and apparently intend to sack him. An anonymous council source told the standard “Once we saw the pictures there was really not much else to say – he was not going to stay in his job much longer after that”. That a council figure should communicate such a foregone conclusion to the press prior to any disciplinary hearing represents, in itself, a disgusting contempt for this mans rights.
So, readers and fellow bloggers, will you join me in a campaign to defend this man?
We could write to the council, make a noise, and much else. As of now I am going start tagging #DefendGarethMead on twitter and ask you to aswell.
Because this does matter. This is about the rights of workers to have a private life, and about the rights of individuals to do what they want with consenting adults – even if it makes a few narrowminded peasants feel uncomfortable.
The irony of this situation is 50 years ago Mead might have been hounded out for being gay. While great progress has been made in this regard, the current government really has really tightened the screws on more marginal sexual minorities. Today a man or woman potentially be imprisoned for possessing adult BDSM sexual imagery.
So I submit to you that this is a battle worth fighting.
Defend Gareth Mead #DefendGarethMead