Royal Academy London Apologizes to Jess de Wahls

Thursday, June 24, 2021
Royal Academy London Apologizes to Jess de Wahls

The Royal Academy of Arts has apologised to an artist whose work was removed from its gift shop after it branded her views transphobic on social media, calling its initial decision a “betrayal” of its commitment to freedom of speech.

The Royal Academy of Arts has apologised to an artist whose work was removed from its gift shop after it branded her views transphobic on social media, calling its initial decision a “betrayal” of its commitment to freedom of speech.

Their public statement reads below:

There has been a great deal of debate around the RA’s recent communication about no longer stocking the work of Jess de Wahls in the Royal Academy shop. We have thought long and hard since then about this and the wider issues it raises.

One thing is clear to us now – we should have handled this better. We have apologised to Jess de Wahls for the way we have treated her and do so again publicly now. We had no right to judge her views on our social media. This betrayed our most important core value – the protection of free speech.

There was also a failure of communications internally which resulted in Jess de Wahls first hearing via social media that we would no longer stock her product in the RA shop. We will now reopen discussions with her regarding the restocking of her work.

Plurality of voices, tolerance and free thinking are at the core of what we stand for and seek to protect. These events raise some fundamental issues. Freedom of expression can open up debate, create empathy or respect for difference, it can also at times cause hurt and outrage. This has confirmed to us our commitment to freedom of expression and to addressing complex issues through engagement and debate.

We will continue to reflect on this and to look at our internal processes to ensure we learn from it. We want to make sure we navigate this better in future.

 

Telegram Channel

ArtDependence is now also available on the messaging platform Telegram. Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed.

Subscribing to the ArtDependence Channel allows you to easily stay up to date with the latest ArtDependence news.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Image of the Day

Jessica Rankin's new work for 'Art World Goes Green' initiative in support of WWF action on climate crisis.

Jessica Rankin's new work for 'Art World Goes Green' initiative in support of WWF action on climate crisis.

Search

About ArtDependence

ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.

ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.

The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.

If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.