Two days ago the website Football365 published a scurrilous attack on J4MB, in an obvious bid to create controversy and pressurise Birmingham City FC into cancelling the contract to host the 2018 conference. The attack is here. The comments stream has been lively ever since. We’ve had plenty of supportive comments from luminaries including Paul Elam, Tom Golden, Robert Brockway, Guttorm Grundt, Nick Langford, Karen Straughan, Alison Tieman, Belinda Brown, Natty Kadifa, Elizabeth Hobson… you might like to check the comments stream and note the high number of upvotes for their comments, and the low number for the comments left by our critics.
Within hours of the publication of the piece, and without contacting us beforehand, a director of Birmingham City FC decided to terminate the contract, and emailed me to that effect. He appeared to be suffering from the delusion that the club could cancel the contract. I worked in the field of procurement – buying goods and services – for 25 years, and the contract for the hosting of ICMI18 couldn’t be clearer. There are no grounds on which the club can unilaterally terminate the contract. The club is undoubtedly in breach of contract. They are trying to get round this issue by claiming that I misrepresented J4MB to them, which is simply untrue. We shall be taking legal advice on the matter, but as things stand, we expect the club to honour its contractual commitments. I sent a polite but robust email to the club’s director, but have yet to receive a response.
Things moved on almost an hour ago, with the publication of a piece in the online edition of the Birmingham Mail, following my very brief conversation with the journalist behind the piece, Danny Hussain. It contains a carefully edited video (1:06) with extracts from the video (18:13) in which I take viewers round the areas we’ve hired for the conference. It even contains an old blurred photograph of myself, while I could have sent them a hi-res new one in moments, if asked. It’s all to do with trying to create a jarring impression on people who read the piece, I suppose.
So, where does this leave us?
It’s time to draw a line in the sand.
It’s time to demonstrate that feminists are continuing to lose control of gender narratives.
95%+ of the supporters of Birmingham City FC are men and boys, and the conference is about issues affecting men and boys.
We shall be hosting ICMI18 in St Andrew’s Stadium.