British newspaper The Observer found itself embroiled in controversy on Monday after it was forced to withdraw an incendiary op-ed about transgender people.
The piece, by controversial British commentator Julie Burchill, was titled "Transsexuals should cut it out." It was an attempted defense of Burchill's friend Suzanne Moore, who had aroused the ire of some by making a crack about "Brazilian transsexuals" in a column. But Moore could hardly have asked for a worse defense.
Burchill heaped on piles of bile, calling transgender people "screaming mimis", "bed-wetters in bad wigs" and "dicks in chicks' clothing," among other choice phrases. The trans community exploded with anger. A government minister called it "bigoted vomit."
On Monday, Observer editor John Mulholland said the piece had been deleted from the paper's website: "The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece."
Writer Deborah Orr summed the fracas up nicely: