Bloodstock Booker ‘Taking Step Back’ From Fest After Transphobic Comment
UPDATE: According to a social media post by Bloodstock Festival organizers, Hungerford will be "taking a step back" from the festival and "will be taking the time to properly educate herself for a better understanding." The organizers also added, "We are ashamed and disappointed by the recent lack of understanding, awareness and opinions voiced within the Bloodstock camp. These views are not a reflection of the festival as a whole." Read the full statement below:
A festival director behind the longtime British heavy metal event Bloodstock Open Air, Vicky Hungerford, has apologized for making a transphobic comment online.
Though the remark has since been removed, MetalSucks reported that Hungerford on Thursday (Oct. 14) used social media to show disdain for the practice of specifying one's preferred pronouns, saying she would delete any emails to her that did so.
In a subsequent explanation on Twitter, Hungerford said the message represented her "frustration leaking out that some people now feel they HAVE to sign off with a pronoun, not necessarily just because they want to. I apologize for the way I said it and how it came across. I am a compassionate, kind and inclusive person and for me, that's an important part of what the metal community is, or should be."
In an earlier tweet, made hours before the more substantial apology, she said, "So it appears my last tweet offended people and that was NOT my intention, i deleted my tweet as some people were upset and I was NEVER intending to upset anyone!"
The original comment in contention, according to MetalSucks, read, "If you're going to start putting pro nouns on your email so I can refer to you as he/him she or her I'm binning your emails …" (Binning is a term that can be used to mean putting something in the trash.)
Reportedly, Hungerford shared screenshots of the message across her various social media pages. On Instagram, where her account is currently private, she added, "Just don't side note this is my opinion, my choice just as it is for people to use pro nouns."
Transphobia can take many different forms, including the disbelief in, or discounting of, someone's preferred pronouns or stated gender identity.
Hungerford seemingly has a history of making similar comments, as MetalSucks showed in a screenshot of a 2018 post where she reportedly said, "For the love of god can we all STOP with this gender neutral bullshit !!"
In response to her Thursday post, Bloodstock's Twitch account stopped streaming. "We as a community and festival strive to be welcoming and supportive of people's choices," an update said. "We … have decided that it would be inappropriate to stream tonight — and for the foreseeable future — as if nothing happened."
Bloodstock's entertainment manager, Paul Watling — who specifies his pronouns on his Facebook page — left his job in protest. "You can NOT promote a festival of inclusivity without including EVERYONE," he said in a post on that platform. "Pity and quite frankly vile."
Others pointed out Bloodstock's connection to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which aims to "stamp out prejudice, hatred and intolerance everywhere."
Hungerford has reportedly worked for Bloodstock since 2001. In 2004, she became the director of festival booking for all artists on the event's main stage.