Julie Burchill

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Parroting squawkbox
Icon pundit.svg
And a dirty dozen more

Julie Burchill (1959–) is a British serial columnist, putative iconoclast and occasional novelist. Burchill made a name for herself by having an "offensive view on everything,"[1] and currently writes for a variety of British newspapers. She has played a hero to many on the right due to her utter rejection of political correctness (whatever that means) and most social progressivism, despite referring to herself as a "militant feminist".[2] Right-wingers keep describing her as part of "the left," despite the absence of left-wing views, because she has previously self-labeled as socialist.

Burchill started her career writing about punk rock for the New Musical Express in the late 1970s with her equally obnoxious then-boyfriend/husband Tony Parsons (though he has since calmed down). Her writing style has not changed in 40+ years: outrageous trolling, beloved by editors because it's reliably controversial and she gets her copy in on time. She describes her style as "the writing equivalent of screaming and throwing things,"[3] and we couldn't agree more.

Greatest hits[edit]

  • In 2002, London Mayor Ken Livingstone's civic sponsorship of St Patrick's Day celebrations prompted an anti-Irish rant in which Burchill condemned the day as celebrating "almost compulsory child molestation by the national church" and "aiding and abetting Herr Hitler in his hour of need" (a reference to Irish neutrality in the Second World War), also referring to the Irish flag as "the Hitler-licking, altarboy-molesting, abortion-banning Irish tricolour."[4] This Guardian column was later investigated by police as possible incitement to racial hatred,[5] but ultimately she was not charged.[6]
  • "Israel is the only country I would fucking die for. [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is] the enemy of the Jews. Chucking his own people off the Gaza; to me that's disgusting."[7]
  • "Islam and democracy appear to find it difficult to co-exist for long."[8]
  • "Croatia's not a country, it's bloody division of the German armed forces - scratch a Croat, find a Kraut."[9]

Special mention[edit]

In 2005, Burchill said in a critique of English classism, "Picking on people worse off than you are isn't humour. It's pathetic, it's cowardly and it's bullying."[10] Now let's see where she stands on other denigrated classes of people...

The above quotes are from a polemic Observer column Burchill wrote in January 2013. Two of the paper's editors responded to the immense backlash by removing the piece from the Observer website and apologizing, causing the usual suspects bleat about censorship; the right-wing paper The Telegraph then reprinted the column online.[11] Following hundreds of complaints, this Observer column and its publication are under investigation by the Press Complaints Commission.[12]. A poll conducted among online readers of The Independent resulted in 90% deeming Burchill's article as offensive, and former equalities minister Lynne Featherstone called for Burchill to be sacked[13] .

Gay Pride[edit]

In a particularly bizarre polemic against Gay Pride, she opined that:

  • Being gay was "practically mandatory".
  • There existed a "powerful and loud transgender lobby".
  • Feminism was now opposed to LGBT people.
  • Asked "Why are the non-binaries such a vicious, miserable lot?"

(Burchill is openly bisexual herself.)

She also, like most TERFs, demonstrated her thorough misunderstanding of the Handmaid's Tale (a book that specifically warns against the dangers of socially conservative feminists collaborating with the right wing), before ironically quoting right wing misogynist and homophobe Brendan O'Neill.[14]

Male suicide[edit]

In 1999, Burchill wrote in The Guardian:

That young men succeed in suicide more often than girls isn't really the point. Indeed, the more callous among us would say that it was quite nice for young men finally to find something that they're better at than girls. … No one is 'in favour' of suicide, but when we interfere with people's right to take their own lives, we are on very dangerous ground. … And suicide, like car theft, is a side-effect of peace and affluence. … The last time I suggested that suicides should be left to get on with it, I received a small number of letters from people whose sons had killed themselves. All of them demanded an apology. I'd advise them this time to save their stamps because, you see, I don't care.[15]

About sixteen years later, Burchill's own son killed himself, which she reported had emotionally devastated her.[16] Hell of a coincidence.


She's written several books that have received widely variable reception. Her 1989 book, a tawdry work of hackery called Ambition, should be avoided under all circumstances. Her lesbian-themed young adult novel Sugar Rush was turned into an apparently not awful TV series. Her nonfiction Burchill on Beckham, an attempt to cash in on the name of footballer David Beckham at the peak of his career, attracted "some of the worst notices since Jeffrey Archer's heyday."[17]

After being forced to crowdfund her previous book, she attempted to promote her new next by harassing young left wing journalist Ash Sarkar. [18] The book focuses on her experience of being condemned for a transphobic column she wrote. The condemnation resulted in the Observer coming under investigation and MP's calling for her to be sacked. So far her publicity attempt has backfired, and publisher Hachette imprint Little, Brown have dropped Burchill. Apparently Hachette was happy with publishing a transphobe, but Islamophobia was a step too far.[19] She then tried to get it published by Scottish indie Stirling Publishing, but their boss turned out to be an actual genuine neo-nazi, a member of far-right ethno-nationalist group Patriotic Alternative, and Burchill was forced to cancel.[20] Burchill also lost a libel action brought by Sarkar over various absurd Islamophobic claims, resulting in large damages and an apology.[21]


She recently announced she had spent thirty years taking cocaine, and claimed she was "not affected by it".[22] She has also reported abusing codeine and the drug Modafinil, designed to treat hypersomnia.[23]


  1. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,729941,00.html
  2. http://m.guardiannews.com/lifeandstyle/2009/may/13/julie-bindel-burchill-feminism
  3. http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/sos-review/39I-live-the-life-of.4354542.jp
  4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2002/jun/29/weekend.julieburchill
  5. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1403336/Now-Guardian-is-accused-of-racial-intolerance.html
  6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/12/race.uk
  7. http://www.spikemagazine.com/0605-julie-burchill.php
  8. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/julie-burchill/julie-burchill-armchair-revolutionaries-be-careful-what-you-wish-for-in-the-middle-east-2202457.html
  9. A war too far
  10. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3637660/Dead-common-and-proud-of-it.html
  11. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100198116/here-is-julie-burchills-censored-observer-article/
  12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2013/jan/18/julie-burchill-pcc
  13. [1] Minister calls for sacking of Observer columnist Burchill - and paper's editor
  14. [https://www.spiked-online.com/2018/08/02/more-trans-pride-oh-please-no/ More Trans Pride Oh Please No
  15. (October 16, 1999). "Julie Burchill". The Guardian.
  16. Josh Halliday (July 19, 2015). "Julie Burchill speaks of 'wilderness of loss' after death of son". The Guardian.
  17. http://web.archive.org/web/20050513034322/http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2002/08/25/story526110628.asp
  18. [2] Industry Big Wigs Ignore Burchill's Islamophobic Harassment
  19. Julie Burchill's publisher cancels book contract over Islam tweets, The Guardian, 15 Dec 2020
  20. Julie Burchill fires new publisher identified as a white nationalist, The Guardian, 17 March 2021
  21. Julie Burchill agrees to pay Ash Sarkar 'substantial damages' in libel case, The Guardian, 16 March 2021
  22. [3] Julie Burchill says her 30-year cocaine habit was a ‘cheap thrill’ that she ‘gave up overnight’
  23. [4] Julie Burchill on the drug that's more buzzkill than thrill