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Bloodstock Booker Under Fire for Transphobic Comments, Festival Staff Quits Their Jobs

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Update, 2:49pm EDT: Hungerford has temporarily stepped down from her post with Bloodstock. Read more here.

Original Post:

Vicky Hungerford, one of the main talent bookers for the major U.K. extreme metal festival Bloodstock, has come under intense fire over the last 24 hours for transphobic comments she made on social media.

Hungerford took to social media yesterday, October 14, to share her disdain for the relatively new custom of a person specifying their preferred pronouns in their email signature or social media profile, a practice particularly common in the transgender and nonbinary communities but growing in popularity amongst cisgender folks as well (often as a show of solidarity with trans folks). She posted:

Hungerford screen-shotted the original message and shared it on multiple platforms.

The backlash, particularly within the U.K. metal scene, was swift and furious. Many metal fans were quick to note that Vicky’s message was in stark contrast to the mission of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, an organization dedicated to “stamp[ing] out prejudice, hatred and intolerance everywhere” (especially in alternative spheres of culture) which sponsors the Sophie Lancaster Stage at Bloodstock.

Hungerford soon deleted the tweet and offered what would be the first of two apologies, saying “I was never intending to upset anyone” but stopping short of addressing trans issues at all:

And folks weren’t having any of it. It wasn’t long before screen shots appeared of previous transphobic social media posts by Hungerford, including one from 2018, which Hungerford dubbed “the year of the snowflake,” in which the booker complained of “gender neutral bullshit” and said “you can identify with whatever the fuck you think you are it still doesn’t mean you are one.”

Hungerford then issued a second apology in a much more contrite and conciliatory tone, explaining that she “fully support[s] everyone in the LGBTQI+ community and am always happy to learn more about how to be a better ally.” That post in full:

A lot of folks, including Bloodstock staff, were still upset. The team behind Bloodstock’s Twitch account decided to cancel their scheduled streams for at least the day, saying that “we, as a team, have decided that it would be inappropriate to stream tonight — or for the foreseeable future — as if nothing had happened.” They added, “We hope that lessons can be learned and awareness gained from this situation and that those involved can move forwards, educated and ready to be better.”

Bloodstock entertainment manager Paul Watling straight up quit his job over the fracas. Here’s his post to social media announcing his departure:

Others, similar to the Bloodstock Twitch team, struck a condemning tone but left Hungerford with the possibility for growth, expressing optimism that she — and others — could learn a lesson from this incident and better themselves. Metal Hammer editor Merlin Alderslade was one such voice, saying:

We here at MetalSucks echo Alderslade’s stance that, while Hungerford’s behavior is disgusting on a number of levels, we must leave room for her to make good on her pledge to do better and use this for an opportunity for growth. Isn’t that what we’re all after, in the end? We need more allies, not fewer. Perhaps this incident is the wake-up call she needed. That said, the “too little, too late” mantra certainly applies, and she’s really going to have to prove herself. We also strongly support the staff of Bloodstock upset over this issue and will do whatever we can to back them.

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