Royal Academy of Arts apologises for banning artist’s work over 'transphobic views'

THE Royal Academy of Arts has apologised for banning an artist’s work from its gift shop over what it called her “transphobic views”.

It reversed a decision not to stock Jess de Wahls’s embroidery, admitting: “We should have handled this better.”

She had said in a 2019 blog she could not accept “people’s unsubstantiated assertions that they are in fact the opposite sex to when they were born”.

The London gallery said withdrawing her work following complaints on social media had “betrayed our most important core value — the protection of free speech”.

De Wahls, who denies transphobia, did not immediately respond to the apology but shared it on both her Instagram and Twitter accounts.


The Berlin-born textile artist creates intricate embroideries and, according to her official website, “tackles subjects as wide ranging as feminism, misogyny & fetishism”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted: “Welcome apology from the Royal Academy. Freedom of expression is central to great art and culture and should always be protected.”

The Sun told on Monday how the gallery was facing an equalities probe over its stance after campaigners accused it of discriminating against the artist.

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