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mea culpas

Human Rights Watch’s Stunning Apology to Activist Peter Tatchell For 5-Year Defamation Campaign

Humans Rights Watch is very sorry for its five years of defamation, lying, and personal attacks aimed at British activist Peter Tatchell. Wowza.

Scott Long, who directs HRW’s queer program, has been going after Tatchell, who heads the activist group OutRage!, for years. Now in a “stunning” apology, HRW and Long are asking for forgiveness. Long’s claims, often about Tatchell’s work to protect gay Iranians, were “inappropriate… disparaging… inaccurate… condemnatory… intemperate personal attacks,” according to HRW executive director Kenneth Roth’s statement. Doug Ireland reports in Gay City News:

Speaking of Long’s attacks, Tatchell said, “I defend the right of people to criticize me. But Mr. Long’s attacks went beyond criticism. He made false allegations, which misrepresented my human rights campaigns. It is these untrue claims that are the focus of my objections.

Tatchell focused particular attention on what he terms “a highly libelous and defamatory essay written” by Long in the journal Contemporary Politics, which is published by Routledge. That essay, the 58-year-old British activist noted, “made inaccurate allegations. It grossly misrepresented and denigrated my campaigns in defense of gay people persecuted by Iran and in opposition to Islamist fundamentalism.

“I acted in good faith when I opposed the execution of Iranians accused of homosexuality and when I campaigned against fundamentalist Islam in Britain and worldwide. Contrary to Mr Long’s claims, I never accused the 13-year-old victim of an alleged rape in Iran of ‘wanting the rape.’ Nor am I guilty of ‘belittling violent sexual assault, and blaming the victim.’”

Long’s article in Contemporary Politics also accused Tatchell of “going after” British Muslims and adopting a “bullying tone” toward the Muslim community in Britain.

“This,” Tatchell said, “is also untrue. I have always made a clear distinction between Muslim people in general and the Islamist extremists who oppose human rights, including the human rights of fellow Muslims. Indeed, I have often defended Muslim communities, in Britain and worldwide, against prejudice and persecution. I will continue to do so.”

Says Tatchell of receiving the apology: “I thank Kenneth Roth and HRW for their gracious and fulsome apology. Their readiness to acknowledge the wrong done and say sorry is commendable. My appreciation also to Scott Long for conceding his false allegations and apologizing. It can’t have been easy for him. He has shown dignity and humility. I appreciate that. I accept the apologies. It is time to forgive and move on. For me, this closes the matter. The attacks on me are in the past. I look forward to working with HRW and Scott Long in the future.”

But the long list of Long’s personal attacks don’t end there. GayRussia.ru’s Nikolai Alexeyev, a Moscow-based activist, has seen Long’s temper flare. So too has International Day Against Homophobia founder Louis-Georges Tin, the French professor; and Gay City News‘s veteran journalist Doug Ireland, who reported this whole affair. That Long still has a job even after HRW admitted he acted with malicious intent, well, is remarkable.

By:           JD
On:           Jul 15, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 9 Comments
    • Pygar
      Pygar

      “I have always made a clear distinction between Muslim people in general and the Islamist extremists who oppose human rights, including the human rights of fellow Muslims. Indeed, I have often defended Muslim communities, in Britain and worldwide, against prejudice and persecution. I will continue to do so.”

      Please take note of Tatchell’s example, Michael Lucas and followers.

      Peace.

      Jul 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      “Wowza”. . .this is really old news.

      Jul 15, 2010 at 7:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      Peter Tatchell is phenomenal. He is a HERO. He will go down in history as one who stood defiantly against oppression. I bow to Peter Tatchell with gratitude and humility.

      Jul 16, 2010 at 12:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      Can I just say that Scot Long is a piece of shit and he should be sacked.

      In fact he is typical of a kind of gay self-hating homophobic left-winger that I’ve known all my life – who deep down thinks being straight is better than being gay and REAL men are people of non-white skin.

      Jul 16, 2010 at 3:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Tatchell, who’s been badly beaten more than once confronting homohaters is a real hero of the international movement.

      http://www.petertatchell.net/

      http://direland.typepad.com/direland/

      Jul 16, 2010 at 6:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chargers
      Chargers

      Tatchell seems to be a man of integrity. Not like most gay activists in the U.S. who hide under the table from criticizing homophobia if it’s not coming from a white conservative.

      Jul 16, 2010 at 9:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      So a guy who works for Human Rights Watch, purposely mislead people about these people and attacked them unfiarly in an effort to hurt their compaigning for human rights. Why isn’t he being fired?

      Jul 16, 2010 at 11:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      It’s good to see Long getting busted YEARS after this whole thing started. I wonder if the fact that his “supporters from the Muslim community” tended to post with HRW New York IP addresses had anything to do with this apology…

      I also agree it’s stunning that he’s kept his job. With this sort of behavior having gone on for YEARS with just an “I’m sorry” as the consequence, I’d certainly be loath to work with Long or HRW on anything, and I think most independent gay activists would agree.

      Jul 16, 2010 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ricarda Perschall
      Ricarda Perschall

      You made some very good points there. I did a search on the topic and I want to say that I found that most people will agree with your opinion.

      Jul 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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