This edition of Newsnight was brought to you by the actions splutter and the words “what the…?”

// 21 February 2008

Steve MoxonAnyone else just seen it? The programme was covering the sentencing of Steve Wright for the murder of five women in Ipswich. Now other than their continued and insistence that these weren’t women but “prostitutes” (as if engaging in sex work meant one forfeited one’s female gender) the story was quite straightforward. In the discussion after their inset video Fiona McTaggart was making one of the few truly interesting statements of government policy on protecting women who engage in prostitution from violence. Up against her was Steve Moxon*.

A Who I hear you ask?

B Well he was an Immigration Officer turned whistleblower.

A And that obviously makes him an expert on male violence against women.

B Well no but his second book is all about how men are the “genetic filter” for the species and most men are therefore hard done to.

A Really?

B I kid you not, it’s all laid out for us on his blog.

A So he’s spent his time studying and getting recognised qualifications to be able to work through complex arguments and present this alleged stunning new finding…?

B Er, no, he’s just some bloke who became a whistleblower, got a book deal and now thinks he is some kind of divine oracle. But apparently he studied psychology at University at some point, so that’s OK then.

A Isn’t that a bit harsh?

B Not if you saw the way he didn’t have the decency to let either Kirsty Wark or Fiona McTaggart speak, no. You’d think that “genetic filter” was a euphemism for arrogant gobby bloke with a complex to be honest. BUt seriously folks, the idea of reasoned discussion did seem to have passed him by – I can only assume his publicist told him to hog the air time so make the most of this rare opportunity. Sadly for Moxon I doubt declaring the Fiona McTaggart had “sex hatred” was the way to do it. I think he meant “gender hatred” by the way.

A So backlash then?

B Yes seemingly the Backlash isn’t dead, Steve Moxon is claimed as a member of various “men’s” groups like Dad’s UK and Men’s Aid. Rights of Men call him a well known male rights activist and describe the book as “highly recommended and is a vital weapon in the fight for male equality. Let the battle commence.” :

“we now know that there is no ‘dominance’ interaction of any kind between the sexes, so the notion of men having ‘power’ over and ‘oppressing’ women is a non-starter,”

Of course he offers no evidence for these claims on his many identical publicity postings for the book. I guess that’s so people might buy it to discover whether there is any. It seems to be a fairly standard mixture of supposition and evolutionary biology arguments, not dissimilar to the ones used by writers like Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer to prove rape was just an evolutionary by-product. He claims the work was “previewed” in the Independent (see here for just one of the sites on which he claims this) but all I can find is this short paragraph in the Pandora column which is, if anything, rather ambiguous but bemused by the idea. The Pandora column is akin to a gossip column and the paragraph is followed by speculation on Emily Mortimers no-nudity clause, Kieron Fallons’ alleged drug use, promotions at News International and Ed Balls dressing up as Santa for the Downing St Christmas bash. Not the most erudite of sections I’m afraid.

On the Men’s Aids website he has posted this:

Re: The Woman Racket, new book on science re sexes. Steve Moxon

Postby Steve Moxon on Mon 18 Feb, 2008 8:02 pm

Hi Simon

As you say, there is no debate on Woman Sour, and I have not bothered reading let alone trying to rejoin their hopeless website. There is no discussion of any value to have incorporated in my book.

The Woman Sour editor, Jill Burridge, actually brought in the BBC lawyers when I sent her copies of what I sent to BBC Complaints. This lawyer rang me up and threatened a legal action for harassment. I replied that I would gladly turn up to the hearing with my cameras to his, and we would see what a bunch of tossers the BBC looked after such a debacle. They backed down.

Any idea that the BBC and Woman Sour are in any way reasonable should have long since evaporated. In the end there will need to be direct action.

Lets just review that sentence there…. I’m just hoping he doesn’t mean direct action like Steve Wright took.

* I know I should heed my own advice about denying them the oxygen of publicity….

Comments From You

nectarine // Posted 22 February 2008 at 1:14 am

So, so glad you posted this! The whole thing made me furious! He said that talking about violence against women was “hatred towards men” And that whole thing about traficking not existing! arrggghhhh!!

Debs // Posted 22 February 2008 at 8:20 am

I am so angry about the whole coverage of this case, but the inclusion of this man in a news programme covering Wright’s conviction just seems to be one further insult to the women (yes, news media, women, not prostitutes) who died, and the families, friends and children they left behind. What on earth were Newsnight thinking? I can’t imagine what they thought he could possibly contribute to the discussion, especially when, as you say, he seemed to have trouble allowing any woman to speak.

I also saw the coverage on Channel 4 news, which was not perfect but not as bad in it’s blatant misogyny as some other reports I’ve seen, but then they had to spoil it by getting a woman from the Collective of Prostitutes on rubbishing the Swedish model, and generally talking a load of garbage.

The entire coverage of this case has been misogynistic in the extreme, and often only just stopping short of blaming the victims.

I am also sick of hearing the “prostitution will always happen” line, in almost every news story about the trial – not necessarily. In Ipswich itself great strides have been made, by cracking down on kerb-crawlers and providing effective exit strategies and support for the prostituted women. Now there are estimated to be just 3 women working as prostitutes in the town, when before it was more like 30. Why can’t schemes like this be introduced throughout the country?

Whilst MP’s are swanning off around Europe looking at how other countries are dealing with the “prostitution problem”, real women are living real lives now, and really being raped, beaten, and used for sex by men now. Something needs doing now.

Sorry, that turned into quite a rant!

Clare // Posted 22 February 2008 at 9:11 am

I cannot believe they gave that man air time! The fact that he mentioned violence against men from female sex workers is astounding – poor little men!! Oh and obviously women just claim to be trafficked because they expected luxurious working conditions – yeah, and children claim to be abused because they wanted a holiday to Disney instead of Butlins.

I was absolutely gobsmacked that Newsnight gave this absolute rubbish a platform – thank goodness he dug his own grave by being an inarticulate, ill-informed ignoramous – how anyone think they can just go on a programme like this and just make stuff up is beyond me. I shouldn’t even begin to vent my spleen about this man as I don’t think I’d ever stop, the vitriol is just too great!!

Am off to get a book deal based only on my own unformed ramblings regarding a subject I know nothing about now, byeeeeeeeeeee!

Clare // Posted 22 February 2008 at 9:15 am

I don’t have much to add other than that Steve Moxon is clearly a tool!

Sarah // Posted 22 February 2008 at 10:50 am

horrible… the coverage of this case has often been insulting to the women who died and has exposed misogyny within some members of the press (richard littlejohn)

so was refreshing to come across an article in todays guardian which is unlike those reports, and criticises the frequent use of ‘prostitutes’ instead of ‘women’….

Leigh Woosey // Posted 22 February 2008 at 11:12 am

Anybody got a BBC iplayer or Youtube link?

Gawds is depresses me that the Mens’ rights movement (which certainly should be a serious force for the removal of gender sterotypes, dispersal of myths about domestic life and the promotion of equality) is hi-jacked by crypto-(and sometime outright) misogynists.

vibracobra // Posted 22 February 2008 at 11:52 am

Funnily enough, I didn’t see Newsnight, but I did see an advert for Mr Moxon’s book The Women Racket in a copy of the London Review of Books just last night, and thought he seemed like a douchebag. It’s all about how women are really the dominant ones and we’ve been oppressing men for years. Well, we must be especially devious if we manage that while getting paid less and having fewer privileges than men – yes, of course, it’s all a ploy so we can wrap them around our fingers!

It’s just a different version of the theory according to which we control men by our sheer beauty, or dazzle them with shining beacons attached to our boobs.

I don’t exactly mind Steve Moxon getting air time, because it’s the kind of position that’s easy to argue against, and I’d say that’s one reason why he was included, they like to include a range of opinions on Newsnight, which is cool. Still though, what a nitwit. Why does anyone take him seriously?

Mind you, you know it when the advert for the book calls the author ‘brilliant and controversial’, it actually means ‘massive psychotic blowhard’. Whatever, I’m off to steer some men over a cliff using my feminine wiles, poor unsuspecting bastards, bwahahaha.

Grant // Posted 22 February 2008 at 12:20 pm

I too was gobsmacked this guy was on the TV. The only thing I could compare his arguments with are the pathologically deluded justifications that paedophiles often give for their crimes. That and the pseudo-evolutionary nonsense of Hitler and the Nazis.

Thankfully he will surely remain nothing but a freakish side-show, however. Kirsty Walk looked shocked! I imagine the Newsnight researcher that booked him is getting a stern dressing down this morning!

Cath Elliott // Posted 22 February 2008 at 9:53 pm


Here’s a link to the Newsnight programme – scroll the bar about 2/3rds of the way across to reach the discussion.

Lara // Posted 23 February 2008 at 12:14 am

I went to his website and tried reading some of the sample sections of the book.

He writes like he’s talking to a child. He makes massive generalizations about what men think, like he’s the spokesman for an entire gender. Rarely does he actually bother to back-up any of his statements with real evidence. I can’t imagine it convincing anyone, it looks like a book that preaches to the “men’s rights” chorus.

Alex Corwin // Posted 25 February 2008 at 1:59 am

My friend Sam had the misfortune of meeting Steve Moxon in a pub a few months ago and had to endure an evening of his deluded ranting about women. An evening in a pub is bad enough, but I was shocked to see him appear on newsnight, which can normally be relied on for good quality, and qualified guests.

He made no point relevant to the Ipswich murders, or even really to the issue of violence against women. And to make it worse tried to claim the women are not trafficed in to this country to work in the sex industry and that in fact the government is lying about this, at which point he began to remind me of David Irving (the holocaust denier), as he was simply making things up to back up his backwards and insulting believes.

I have to say, should I ever meet him in the pub (which is not unlikely as I understand he is a regular at the pub my friend met him at, that is not far from me), I may well gag him and the lecture him for a very long time about why he is WRONG about everything and then take him to meet a Police officer from an anti-trafficing unit locally to lecture him more.

He is really is scum.

Jon Keen // Posted 25 February 2008 at 4:50 pm

I, too, was amazed and astounded by this guy on Newsnight. It really was one of those jaw-dropping moments that someone could be given air-time, and the implication of being a “subject expert” by a national public broadcaster.

I complained to the BBC and got an e-mail this morning that says nothing …. “Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Newsnight’.

I understand you felt that Steve Moxon was a poor choice of guest on the programme as you believe his views were extreme and unrepresentative.

I feel I should explain that the BBC makes no editorial comment or judgement on the views expressed by contributors to our programmes, and our aim is simply to provide enough information for viewers to make up their own minds. Within a democratic society the BBC would be failing in its duty if it did not discuss these issues. The interviewer’s job is therefore to ask the questions likely to be in the minds of informed viewers and to seek the relevant answers.

We understand there is always room for debate about particular news judgements, but the principles are pretty clear. To depart from them would open the BBC to justified complaint, and would eventually undermine the public?s trust in our reporting as a whole. We are therefore committed to providing the forum for debate and giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard.”

Michael Preston // Posted 26 February 2008 at 10:36 am

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) I didn’t manage to catch the Newsnight program, but from what has been written above, (not least of all by my errudite friend Louise) he sounds like a very nasty piece of work. Thank God we’re not all as thick, and vicious and deluded as him.

gillobiafra // Posted 27 February 2008 at 9:45 pm

lol, I post on WH board on the beeb and remember the bad old Moxy days; he was banned for spamming the board with his rants about how men are badly done to and rape’s not that bad, and women are taking jobs away from men when they work, but sponging off their money when they stay at home, and can only conclude that he just kind of hates women. What a tool. Oh, and he has small man syndrome.

Annmarie Brooke // Posted 27 February 2008 at 10:47 pm

Thanks for the laugh(s). Steve Moxon has been spouting this stuff for ages. Here is a post by Moxon today to a closed list :

“A first was achieved last Thursday: discussion that incorprated EP — basic biology, indeed — on the flagship BBC TV news programme, Newsnight.

That was me talking about the separation of the sexes and how there is no biological dominance interaction between them and consequently no ‘power’ relation.

Not that I got much time to develop the point: the context was discussion with the Home Office (well, an ex-minister of that department) the issue of prostitution in the light of the conviction of a serial prostitute killer, Steve Wright, and what this may or may not tell us about prostitution generically, and wider issues of men-women.

My opponent was Fiona McTaggart, the decidedly non-intellectual originator of a move within the British Government to criminalise men who pay for sex — but correspondingly to treat women who sell it as supposed victims.

This daft and amazingly oppressive notion has been greeted with guffaws and opposition from most corners, not least from the English Collective of Prostitutes.

Ms McTaggart had shown herself in office to be motivated by little other than a hatred of men, and to have no understanding of any of the issues to do with prostitution other than an extreme ideological one.

She was not amused by my characterisation of such opinions.

If only I had time to explain in EP terms how she came by them. Not that a scientific perspective would have done other than entirely pass her by: she described my brief exposition of the science at the outset of the discussion as “an Aunt Sally argument”. In other words, she was utterly clueless about it.

Steve Moxon (author of The Woman Racket: The new science explaining how the sexes relate at work in play and in society. Out through Imprint Academic. Now released by Details & extracts: ).”

ericsson // Posted 21 April 2008 at 6:24 pm

I recently wrote to the Star Newspaper in Sheffield about Mr Moxon’s article about prostitution asking them to print my reply to Mr Moxon’s article, but haven’t even had a reply. I also made a comment on the web page in question. There is a link to both at

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