38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg 197

This is the transcript of my conversation with the 38 Degrees Press Spokesman today about the scrapping of the Laura Kuenssberg petition, for which 38 Degrees were praised by David Cameron in the Commons today.

Hello Craig

Hello Adam. I hope you are not quite so busy today? Has it calmed down for you?

It is a bit less busy. Well we are very busy on other important things. Did you see the article by David Babbs in the Guardian today?

I did, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I haven’t received the evidence of the abuse connected to the petition which you said you would consider sending me. Are you going to send it?

I don’t really have the time for this

But you must have this evidence. You took a well-supported petition down. You must have the evidence you based your decision on.

There were abusive tweets and comments

Can you send them to me?

You can search for them yourself online

I have done so. But you must have the evidence?

Look yourself online

This is a big story. In all the national press. You must have kept the evidence on the basis of which you made the decision?

You said yourself you had seen misogynistic comments

I said I could find a single one – very unpleasant but only one – out of hundreds of comments I read

So you did see misogynistic comments


Search yourself online. There were tweets.

So far I have been able to find one. That is one comment and one tweet. Have you seen more?

There were misogynistic comments and tweets

More than two? Out of thirty five thousand signatories? How many have you seen?

There was misogynistic abuse

How many have you seen. You personally Adam. You said yesterday you had seen the evidence. Have you, personally, seen more than two?

If you are going to start shouting at me

More than two? Simple question, yes or no?

I don’t expect you to be impolite and abusive towards me.

How much evidence did you see?

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Is that more than two? Is that more than two? That’s a very simple question.

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?

You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.

Is that evidence more than one tweet and one comment?

I could…I have got to go I have things to do here

Do you have more than one tweet and one comment?

Hangs up.

I do not claim the 38 Degrees do not have any evidence to show to “justify” removing this petition. But if they do, I find their attitude absolutely astonishing. It seems to me most probable they did so under establishment pressure with no serious consideration of evidence, and zero concern for the 35,000 people – about half of them female – they have now stigmatised as misogynists.

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197 thoughts on “38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg

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  • Jack Rawlinson

    Persistent refusal to answer a simple, direct question speaks for itself. Always.

  • Tony_0pmoc


    Your transcript sounds like Jon Snow interviewing the Tory London Mayor candidate who just lost – about 5 years ago.

    I don’t like to mention his name. I actually used to live in St. Margaret’s, just over Richmond Bridge 34 years ago.

    It took ages getting to work, compared to Manchester – but was much prettier.


  • Paul Ward

    I have started a Change.org petition about the 38 Degrees petition debacle – it all sounds very post-modern (or Kafkaesque). I know there is a separate Change.org petition complaining about Kuenssberg, but the one I have just started is more about requesting that 38 Degrees release the evidence of the behaviour that prompted them to bin the other 38 Degrees petition (as Craig M asked). It also requests that they reinstate the original petition and honour the 35,000 signatories who signed it in good faith and without any abuse

  • dan

    Tristram Hunt’s political advisor unlikely to be that independent.
    At least on linkd in summary and elsewhere.

    38 degrees clearly not grassroots more like blue labour front.

  • Tony_0pmoc


    Maybe you should apply to Channel 4 for a job. You are obviously far better at it, than for example your fellow Tory Candidate in Norwich. You never know – they might actually offer you the job. I did say to my daughter (she’s posh) – if you don’t try – you will never know..She said Thank You Dad…

    I don’t see how you can do Scottish TV, unless it is Edinburgh based.

    In my experience educated people who come from Edinburgh, speak The Queen’s English as good as my Mum.

    I am obviously not in the same class.

    I sound like I come from Oldham.

    That is because I come from Oldham.

    I do not complain about Language Dialect abuse.

    In fact I have always considered it a distinct advantage in the South of England.


  • Ruby

    Have just disassociated myself from 38 degrees. Permanently.

    Imagine being stuck in a lift at the BBC with Melanie P. and Laura K. – without Tony Hancock…

    No offence meant Havawank and Onan1.

    • Tony_0pmoc


      I have known someone who claims to be a journalist for 16 years – who looked exactly like Melanie Phillips 16 years ago. I have never been convinced its not her – though I have barely watched TV since then…

      Incidentally, when Melanie is off her pet subject (which we can’t mention), I have often found the stuff she writes quite brilliant – and agreed with almost every word.

      But I am not politically, racially or religiously aligned – and I don’t paint pictures (if I could I might have learnt how to use photoshop – as most of the press photographers now do – or their editors)

      I reckon some of them think…well how the hell can they publish that…She looked 40 years older when I took the photograph yesterday…Oh well – at least I got paid and credited…

      I do know one of them actually (extreme right wing) but apart from his political views he’s a nice bloke…and he likes live music.

      Making a living as a photographer cannot be easy.

      Political, Race, Religious, Colour, Language, Sex, Nationality or even Personality (authoritarian vs libertarian) – Differences should not pose a problem – if you both have a Very Strong Personal Interest in Common – especially if you are working together – and the job just has to be done – even if she’s a psycho .

      Some of my Best Bosses have Been Female – None of Them Were Psychos – They were Just Inspirational..and worked far harder than us men.

      We all had to try and keep up.


  • Republicofscotland

    Remarkable conversation, it appeared as though Adam was being evasive, not answering the question you posed on several occasion. He also sounded uncomfortable by the whole situation.

    It does sound as though 38 Degrees have come under considerable pressure to remove the petition from influencial people further up the chain of command. Laura Kuenssberg, must have some very powerful friends backing her and her/their agenda.

    I am however very disappointed that no sturdy evidence has been forthcoming from 38 Degrees. Don’t they realise that by not producing the offending tweet/s they’re damaging their reputation.

    Speculating on the “offensive tweets” in my opinion it wouldn’t be outwith the realms of possibility that they don’t exist, or, a agent provocateur created them in the first place, if the later is true, why hide them?

  • Republicofscotland

    I would also go as far as to say (unless 38 Degrees provides the offending tweets) that their repution will be damaged beyond repair. A situation that the establishment will approve of.

    People will think twice before signing any if their petitions, I’ll be extremely disappointed if 38 Degrees turns out to be an establishment backed organisation.

    • Shatnersrug

      I honestly think 38 degrees are caught here. The problem is if we abandon them the establishment wins.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Oh Dear, according to The News on The Planet Rock Radio Now…

    We are about to be Attacked By IRISH Terrorists???

    Where’s Mark Golding?


    • Tony_0pmoc

      Its on The BBC too.


      Thank God for that.

      It’s Probably Not True.

      I’m Relieved Now.

      They do make stuff up…and you all believe it.

      They are just a Propaganda outfit now plus they are pretty good at music..and used to be good at history.



    When it first started 38 degrees was pretty good. Then the original crew left (around the time the gagging ill came in) and since then it has gone steadily downhill.

    I can’t remember the last time I signed a petition from them, but I do not get many these days. I put that down to the fact that I started writing back to them about their ridiculous e-mails to write to my MEP/MP/MSP in support of X where X was already party policy. And that does not into account that policy is set by the party, not the parliamentarians.

    Unlikely that I will ever sign anything again.

    By the way, I think remember reading somewhere that there were connections with Labour at in 38 degrees management. Any info on that?

  • Brian

    Great work Craig, if I may say so. I see it’s been picked up by Canary.
    I can almost stand the fact she is so obviously pro-establishment, it is the BBC after all, but she’s such a drama queen. Every report of hers I watch (as few as poss nowadays), I’m shouting “Oscar, Oscar”.

  • Andy

    The Guardian could of course have made the same phone call, but since they didn’t bother it looks like they were in on the concocted scandal.

  • K Crosby

    If you didn’t know he was a liberal when you started, you did when he finished.

  • Macky

    @Craig, all the good work that you sometimes undoubtedly do post, for me is often marred by your arrogant & blind-sighted hypocrisy; how can you of all people credibly complain about a “well supported petition” being taken down because of a handful of abusive comments, when some here will recalled that you justified the pulling of two whole threads, with literally a combined total of over thousand comments, on the grounds that one of the resident trolls claimed that somebody had posted something that allegedly was “antisemitic” on one of them !? You even stated that you couldn’t even be bothered to check the validity of the allegation, obviously thinking nothing of wiping the numerous comments that many Posters here had contributed their time & effort to posting on your Blog.

    You are often your own worse enemy.

      • Macky

        This new Site design coincided with my desire for a break, so I’m taking it; I still occasionally have at look here, and am hearten by the new influx of quality commentators, much to the detriment of the resident trolls, talking of which I see that even Craig is beginning finally to have had enough of the Habbu-Clown’s nonsense, long overdue by a factor of several years ! Alas as per the many previous sock-puppet incarnations, no doubt the Troll-Clown is still currently posting here.

        • glenn

          A sabbatical is never a bad idea… I’m thinking of taking a year off work myself.

          Habbabkuk is still here, and his loyal attack dog Anon1 is (as ever) at his heel.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Even though I disagree with much of the content on blogs such as this, and very many others, including national and international, even newspaper websites, their existence is our next to last Defence from Total Dictatorship.

    Americans aren’t stupid Either…

    Most of The Contributors to US Mainstream Newspapers do not Like Their Government either…and they would rather vote for Putin if he was an American.

    I must admit I was amazed to read some of their comments when I was reading them a year or so ago…

    But have the Americans closed down their Newspaper Websites to Comments like The UK’s Daily Telegraph??

    I found that decision hilarious.

    I always found Americans very Tolerant of Me – far more than in The UK…

    I only got banned twice in 5 years…and then they let me back..well until about 5 years ago.

    Incidentally The UK’s Daily Mail is the most read Newspaper in The USA – and They Fake Nearly All Their Photographs.

    Whilst I was allowed to write letters to The Daily Mail – and They were published 25 years ago..Nothing I have written on The Daily Mail, Or The Guardian’s website – has ever appeared. It’s not that they appeared and were then deleted…they Never Appeared.

    I have no idea why.

    Maybe I was writing The Truth amongst the Personal stuff.


    • bevin

      “But have the Americans closed down their Newspaper Websites to Comments like The UK’s Daily Telegraph??”
      The Toronto Star, with Canada’s largest circulation, has. And it looks to me as if The Guardian is on the verge of doing so.

      • Chris Rogers


        I don’t see The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ section, which once was open for us to Comment on most of its articles, lasting beyond the year end, particularly given the 250 layoffs the Newspaper Group has inflicted on its staff, and the fact that the Group Editor, Ms. Viner has zero understanding of what ‘Comment’ is about, which is why she and her shrills within The Guardian are now advocating ‘censorship. before closing down the facility once and for all. Which, in my humble opinion, will constitute the end of The Guardian period. This from a once loyal reader dismayed at the direction the paper has taken since it fell out with New Labour following Blair’s departure as PM in 2007.

    • Republicofscotland

      Thanks for that RobG, it looks like the Guardian is using broad strokes to legitimise the removal of the 38 Degrees petition.

      • RobG

        Republicofscotland, as an ardent feminist, Laura Bates often attracts a lot of flak. However, I’ve always respected her as an intelligent young woman who speaks her mind. Bates’ brief Guardian piece this afternoon was obviously written at the last minute, and from the syntax it does appear to have been written by her. I’d like to think that Bates, whose Guardian pieces are usually quite pedantic, had a Guardian cheque dangled in front of her and rushed in without doing any proper research.

        Either I’m wrong or Laura Bates will regret the piece she penned today.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        The Bates article is the typical disgrace to journalism which I have sadly come to expect from the Guardian. Look at this extract from it:

        “In the case of the Kuenssberg petition, the person who started it released a statement distancing himself from the abuse, which said: “I would like to reassure everyone that I am a passionate advocate for equality in all areas, not just gender equality … This petition has precisely zero to do with Kuenssberg’s gender. Regardless of the gender you identify with, there is no excuse for biased reporting and misrepresentation of facts when you represent an organisation that has been famed for its impartiality and balanced approach.” It is perfectly reasonable to point out that the intent and wording of the original petition had nothing to do with gender, but rather more disingenuous to completely ignore the fact that the response from many of those supporting it, or attacking Kuenssberg for similar reasons, has been very gendered indeed.”

        Lies. The originator of the petition did not completely ignore that fact at all. He condemned the “sexist trolls” who have “hijacked” the petition. Bates cannot fail to be aware of this. He seems a good person who has done his best in difficult circumstances and this is the hurtful treatment he receives. This continual bias and slanting really angers me.

  • Kevin Safford

    I signed the petition. My complaint is with Laura Kuenssberg’s overt political bias. Her sex is irrelevant. What’s the point of supporting any future 38 Degrees campaigns?

    With an attitude like this, they’ll get no more donations from me.

    • Herbie

      Her gender is the defence to all allegations of bias.

      That’s the istism trick.

      You may have seen a similar trick at work quite recently, a few threads ago.

  • Herbie

    Laura seems to have learnt her journalism at Georgetown University, with a subsequent stint at NBC News.

    What sort of journalism would one learn at an elite US foreign affairs university like Georgetown.

    Or a General Electric owned NBC?

    • Shatnersrug

      Georgetown? That says it all. Where all the semi-warriors that plan the toppling of governments and the slaughter of innocents live.

  • bevin

    What is very interesting about this silly article in The Guardian is the reference to the entirely fabricated Bernie Bro campaign:
    “The situation calls to mind the recent phenomenon of so-called “Bernie Bros”, which saw some grassroots activists using graphic and abusive misogyny and sexist online memes to attack Hillary Clinton (although this too was vociferously denied by Sanders supporters).”

    The Clinton campaign, staggering to the finish line as it is rejected by state after state electorate, is using some of its vast treasury to finance social media attacks on Sanders which involve, inter alia, agents provocateurs. It is a technique now familiar to us all after the ‘anti-semitism sweeps Labour” farrago of logic chopping, screaming and lies.
    People are going to have to learn how to ignore these hasbara tactics designed to change the subject.
    Which is that the person in question abuses her position of public trust by freelancing for her own political preferences. Nobody objects to the silly thing being a centrist and a defender of authority but we have a clear right to require her to report truthfully and honestly. If she should then choose to share her jejeune and unoriginal ideas with the viewer nobody is likely to object. Or listen.
    The same of course goes for the dozens of male media types who are up to the same sordid tricks.

  • BrianPowell

    The standing of 38Degrees depends on its integrity and taking forward a petition regardless, if hasn’t got that then it is damaged.
    Who is going to sign or support it when these are in doubt?
    By its own actions it has massively reduced it’s effectiveness.

  • Rob

    I’ve just unsubscribed form 38 degrees and let them know I don’t trust them.

  • Nigel

    Hi Craig – i’ve highlighted your efforts on a couple of comments in the Graun, hope you don’t mind. However, another commenter raised the “issue” of you shouting at poor Adam, and wondered why you haven’t made the recording of the conversation available on your site. I don’t know if you are actually allowed to do this without the other persons consent, but if you can alot of people would come and listen to it.

    • nevermind

      Hi Nigel, please read again what was said. Craig clearly announces that he is recording the conversation and Adam does not say he disagrees.

      “Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?

      You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.”

  • Republicofscotland

    What I found rather encouraging was the speed at which the petition reached it goal figure.

    There’s clearly an appetite to hold Laura Kuenssberg’s biased reports to account.

  • Chris Rogers


    Again, a wonderful job beyond the call of duty – confirming the fact that the removal of the Petition was based on spurious grounds and initiated by a cabal of media hacks operating in London.

    Further, one has made the following post on the latest Guardian article covering this topic, a post that will no doubt be removed shortly, but is essence clearly states where we are presently. Here is the post below:

    RebeccaRiotsXV6 Just now

    As one of those, who following the news output by the BBC concerning last weeks Elections, was enraged enough to actually sign the 38 Degrees Petition and leave a comment explaining why this was so, to say that was is shocked that said petition was removed on spurious ground would be an understatement.

    Unlike this paper, which again is at the heart of what has now taken place, I find it shocking that the management of 38 Degrees are unwilling to release any details on the number of alleged sexist comments, which, as far as one can gauge would constitute no more than 1% of 35,000, which is hardly cause for concern in anyones book, apart from the neoliberal social justice warriors, many writing for this newspaper, whom seem unable to understand basic concepts such as ‘freedom of speech’, they clearly understand censorship and how to pressure a young man to remove a petition that was in reality highlighting political bias by the BBC against its own Charter.

    Further, given Twitter has zero to do with 38 Degrees, indeed it’s a US-based and owned business, could tThe Guardian please explain why anything posted on Twitter is relevant to any of the work of 38 Degrees, being they are separate company’s.

    Further, and because of media intrusion and what amounts to a unsubstantiated critique that would not stand up in Court, the actual person who submitted the Petition, was actually pressured into taking it down, and not by 38 Degrees, but by certain Media outlets and some vocal female MPs. That a detailed account of the removal of the Petition was posted by the Petitioner on his FaceBook account after this nonsense broke, and i hasten to add, quickly removed, sums up the fact that the London media has banded together to deny any debate or dissent on a serious matter, namely far too much political bias within the BBC, much of which is aimed at the new Leader of the Labour Party, whom this paper detests.

    Unlike The Guardian, I have a full script of the Petitioners FaceBook account of what actually happened, and it certainly paints a different picture to the story we are hearing from the London media elite, which is one based on pretty much zero fact. Still given the Left is now a hotbed of ‘antisemitism’, evidently the Petition was a hotbed of sexists, despite many of the petition signers being female.

    Shame on you Guardian for your inflammatory reportage devoid of substance or actual verifiable fact.

  • Republicofscotland

    Lastly the whole thing stinks to high heaven, Laura Kuenssberg is a BBC political reporter. We fund her salary we fund the BBC, they should not be biased but the are, why do we put up with it. Why do we continue to pay when we are presented with biased opinions and lies.

  • Chris Rogers

    Staying on topic, but an enquiry nonetheless, may I ask if any knows if Off-Guardian will be running with this particular issue, which as with the ‘antisemitism’ witch hunt prior to last Thursday’s elections is actually of considerable concern to me, and I trust many others who desire a more fact-based approach to much of our so called ‘independent news output’ by the UK’s media in general.

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