The Age sacked one of its “star” columnists Julie Szego after her comments about “woke journalists” following the masthead’s refusal to publish her article about gender affirming care.
Trigger Warning: This story discusses anti-trans comments, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Szego had attended a March 2023 Melbourne rally by British anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen aka Posie Parker, which saw neo-Nazis performing the Nazi salute in front of the Victorian Parliament. Szego claimed that she attended the rally as a “journalist”.
Last week, Szego in a post on social media claimed that The Age editor Patrick Elligett had rejected an article submitted by her. “If you want to know why this piece was rejected, you’ll have to ask the editor,” Szego posted.
“I envisaged the piece as the first in a series; I’ll be rolling out more. And I’ll be writing about gender identity politics more broadly— without the copy being rendered unreadable by a committee of woke journalists redacting words they deem incendiary, such as “male”,” Szego said.
‘Comment On ‘Woke’ Colleagues Led To Sacking’
The Australian reported on Sunday that Szego had subsequently been sacked. Szego told The Australian that her comment about her colleagues had resulted in her sacking and claimed that her attendance at the anti-trans rally had “caused great suspicion” in the newsroom.
On Sunday, Szego posted a link to the new story about her sacking. “I don’t take any of this personally because it’s not personal. It’s happening in newsrooms everywhere,” she posted.
“The Age has done and is doing some great reporting on gender identity politics. It’s not The Guardian, and certainly not the ABC, which has become a national joke on trans issues,” Szego claimed.
Sego Slams Dan Andrews
“But there are problems. Patrick Elligett described my piece as “good.” He said he couldn’t publish it under my name because I’d taken “a position” in op-eds. To say that sex is real and it matters, makes you “biased,” apparently. Or, according to (Victorian Premier) Daniel Andrews, a bigot,” she said, adding, “Gender identity politics is the left’s version of Trumpian post-fact, post-truth. Journos have to come to grips with this.”
In a separate post on Facebook, Sego said Elligett accused her “of publicly attacking the paper and the people who work there.”
“Gender identity politics is sparking tension in political parties, universities, the professions, the community sector, sport and on it goes. And in newsrooms: for way too long, progressive journos have failed to report on this area without fear or favour. There has been an exceptionalism around the trans debate. The Age is the best of the bunch, and has been doing some awesome reporting on gender, especially recently. It needs to go further. This issue has caused people to lose trust in our institutions,” Sego said.
Asked by a Twitter user why she decided to speak out on the issue, Szego pointed to the anti-trans rally and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, who had slammed those who had participated in the rally, including neo-Nazis.
“The short answer: the fallout from the rally. Being effectively branded a Nazi by no less than the Premier. And no journo on the left calls him out or asks him to justify his government’s policies,” Szego said.