Author and columnist Julie Burchill has issued an 600-word “unreserved” apology and agreed to pay heavy damage payments for the two-week campaign of harassment of journalist Ash Sarkar.
Ms Burchill admitted to making derogatory remarks about Ms Sarkar, including that she was “worshiping a child molester” and was an Islamist and a hypocrite.
Apologizing, The Telegraph correspondent said: “I should not have sent these tweets, some of which included racist and misogynist comments regarding Ms Sarkar’s appearance and her sex life.”
She also said that: “I was also wrong to have ‘liked’ other posts on Facebook and Twitter about her which were offensive, including one which called for her to kill herself, and another which speculated whether she had been a victim of FGM (female genital mutilation).”
The damages – the amount of which has not been disclosed – were agreed upon in an out-of-court agreement.
Who Is Ash Sarkar?
Ms Sarkar, who is also a political activist, told the BBC: “The comments were shocking and derogatory, and they started with a lot of harassment from other people on social media. People speculated that I was a real woman, a real Muslim, and threatened with rape and physical threats. . “
Ms Burchill’s tweets began in December after Ms Sarkar tweeted about a Spectator article published in 2012 by Rod Liddle.
Ms Burchill now said she regretted the way she had acted and “indiscriminately and unconditionally” apologized for “her abusive and unacceptable statements”.
Ms Sarkar added: “The intensity of the abuse, along with Julie Burchill’s continuing derogatory posts about me, severely impacted my mental health. I couldn’t sleep, and had bouts of trembling and heart palpitations. For the first time in my life, I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication.”
The tweets, which include poetry and references to the Israeli defense force, have now been deleted.
Ms Sarkar continued: “I read multiple tweets from Burchill speculating about whether I’m any good in bed, and insults about me supposedly having a moustache. Strange poems popped up referring to me as ‘Ashtray’, portraying lurid sexual fantasies.”