Challenge Clementine Ford’s hatred and this is what you get
Vindictive bullying is a hallmark of the followers of a cruel new wave of white, forty-something mummy influencers like Clementine Ford. After reviewing her book on marriage, I’ve learnt a lesson.
On December 16, The Weekend Australian published my review of Clementine Ford’s new book, I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage. My review was unflattering. I underscored the hatred Ford has exhibited toward men, the inconsistencies in her feminist scholarship, and her glaringly white, middle-class point-of-view.
“All men must die.”
“Have you killed any men today? If not, why not?”
“Honestly, the coronavirus isn’t killing men fast enough.”
These are some of the things Ford has published. As I wrote: “While there is no question that some of the points she makes in I Don’t are accurate, the degree of disgust she expresses for men is more than disturbing; it should be illegal.”
I also criticised Ford’s abusive attacks on Zionist women, many of whom have been waiting since the 7 October attack on Israel for a show of solidarity from Western feminists like Ford. It is not disputed that Hamas terrorists raped and shot Jewish girls attending a music festival, taking some hostage, and leaving others to die in the desert.
Ford has described Zionist women, most of whom are Jewish, as “enthusiastic supporters of a murderous regime that has been killing children for over 70 years’. She has also said: “I don’t care that you felt betrayed or let down, and I especially don’t care that you want to have a big crybaby rant … You’re pathetic, you disgust me, and I pity you for being so basic and gross”. She has referred to Jews as “colonizers” — they have been worshipping in Israel since the time of King David — and she has said of their desire to remain in Israel: “Honestly, you actually can’t get any whiter than that.”
After my piece was shared online, Ford’s fans — mostly young, white Australian women – began to weigh in on my Instagram page. In the main, they ignored the points that I — a Catholic by birth; white, left-wing and unrelated to any Jew — had made about Ford’s inadequacies as a thinker, and focused instead on Ford’s campaign for a “free Palestine.”
An Instagrammer calling herself “Reanne” wrote: “For the record, people like ‘me’ couldn’t give two shits about the Jews … Jew women are supposedly not centre of attention (because) the thousands of babies slaughtered are. Grow up you imbecile.”
Ford is not the only high-profile white mummy blogger figurehead abusing “Zionist women” while manipulating their predominantly female followers with emotive footage of dead or dying babies.
On December 11, Lauren Dubois, a 42-year-old mother of three and formerly of 2GB and the ABC, posted a video to Instagram in which she said: “If somebody touched my child … I would be homicidal. I wouldn’t need an army. I would hunt them down myself. I would find them and I would tear them limb from limb with my bare hands” (a relatively unlikely threat?) After some tear-jerking melodrama about how she would never survive the death of her own child, Dubois carefully asks: “What kind of bloodthirsty, primeval creatures think this way?”
Why, the Jews, that’s who!
Historically, Dubois’s dehumanising adjectives – bloodthirsty, primeval, and so on – are, of course, resonant. As she stresses in her post, such monsters “don’t belong in a civilised society”.
In a November 13 post, Dubois was photographed wearing a keffiyeh, a Palestinian scarf, protesting with a placard at Parliament House. One side read, “ALBO WONG YOU WILL NEVER WASH THE BLOOD OF PALESTINIAN BABIES OFF YOUR HANDS”; and “BOMBING BABIES IS BAD”.
Fellow influencer Constance Hall, an amusingly sloppy 40-year-old mother of seven, is also known for her racially inflammatory rhetoric. On November 21, Hall posted: “LEAVE GAZA ALONE YOU F..KING MONSTERS.” On a December 10 post, Hall derided the Jews at length in a video – at one point, she mocked, “I am The Chosen One!”. And in a December 3 post, she wrote: “Amongst all the pain and division … I’ve never felt as connected to so many people … I’ve found myself so full of gratitude to be in contact with incredible Palestinians and Muslims. Any differences we may have once shared have melted away to reveal that at our core, we mirror each other’s hearts.”
Other than, one hopes, the well-established tradition among Hamas militants of violence towards the LGBTQIA community (informal beheadings and so on), early marriage, forced prostitution, sexual harassment, state-sanctioned torture, and inconsequential stuff like that.
Hall ended the post with: “From my heart to yours, Free Palestine.”
There is, however, another point to be made.
As of March 2023, Iranian militias and the Syrian regime have murdered more than 20,000 children in the Syrian conflict, and Russian forces have murdered a further 2048 children in the invasion of Ukraine. Hamas terrorists deliberately and methodically murdered babies during the attack on Israel; there is footage of bloodstained cots once occupied by Jewish babies, whose lives were taken from them. They took children hostage.
I would therefore argue that the focus on Jews-as-murderers by these white fortysomething mummy influencers is curious.
Where are the placards about the “primeval” Russians? Where is the choking concern for Syrian infants? Where are the gushing declarations of spiritual unity with the Sudanese mothers whose male babies have been beaten, knifed or shot to death by Arab militias?
In reply to an Australian Jewish woman’s polite complaint about the pain posts such as Hall’s cause, one of Hall’s fans retorted: “That’s getting old you child murdering psychopath.”
To me, it seems that the female followers of Ford, Hall, Dubois, and other “mummy bloggers for Palestine” believe that they have the right to bully, monster, and express hatred towards Jewish women, providing them with a sense of power they clearly feel is otherwise absent in their lives.
I watched this play out on my social media, with sneering women piling on to abuse me – “hahahahaha” was probably their most common expression of triumph after the usual boring accusations of endorsing genocide, being a bad dancer, and so on.
Mia Freedman has long been a target of their hatred. Ford last week posted a photograph of a hospitalised Palestinian baby with these words: “I hope every self-aggrandising, self-obsessed pro-genocide monster out there insisting that this is justified looks at this baby and understands what they’re condoning. What they’re ENDORSING. These babies, with burns on their body. Crying and not knowing what’s happening. Probably without their mother. Look at them and argue your monstrous, inhumane case, Mia Freedman. You’re a proud new grandmother, and yet here you are justifying a genocide of BABIES. You disgust me.”
For the record, Ford’s evangelical righteousness about maternal feeling appears to be a recent development. In a public address made when her only child was a newborn, she made loud gagging noises as the audience uncertainly laughed: “Euch. I have a male baby and it’s just, all the time: Feed me! Pay attention to me! Engage me!” she said, before gagging again. “Euch. So boring.”
In the week since my review of Ford’s book was published, I have received private messages from young Jewish women who were, without exception, disturbed, terrified, and enraged by Ford’s posts. “As a Jewish woman and as a daughter of a child Holocaust survivor the last couple of months have been difficult to say the least. I’m constantly on edge and my wellbeing has certainly suffered. The hatred I have witnessed towards my people in Australia and around the world has been shocking and has impacted me personally,” said one.
“The atrocities in Israel on October 7 were the most deaths of Jewish people in one day since the Holocaust. As Jews make up a fraction of the world’s population, this has had a huge impact to the psyche of the Sydney Jewish community. Also, many people are only one or two degrees away from someone who was a victim of the attacks.”
This woman was present when a group of “Free Palestine” protesters outside the Opera House lit flares and chanted “gas the Jews”, an episode Anthony Albanese called “horrific”.
“I was made to question if it was safe to send my four-year-old to preschool in Australia because he is Jewish,” she continued. “Over the last couple of months, security has increased at the preschool … and my niece and nephew now have constant police presence outside their school. At a school excursion last week my niece had to wear plain clothes and take non-school back packs so the kids wouldn’t be identified as Jewish. She is in year three. Hiding her identity now is something she has to grapple with. More than once I have been told that I should avoid certain places because I am Jewish. The list goes on.”
Another young Jewish mother who had created an anonymous account to challenge Ford found her real name splashed all over Ford’s Instagram stories. “Spotlight on … (the woman’s name)!” Ford wrote over this woman’s photograph. “I won’t be deterred from continuing to use your own content to shine a bright spotlight on you … Hope it was worth it, f..kwit.”
There is a lesson here: challenge Ford’s hatred, and you will be publicly humiliated. Her supporters will harass you. I now have my own personal experience of this: I have been ridiculed for my age (58) and my passion for my fiance. Receiving the screengrab of her mockery, I reposted it with the caption: “I’m actually 354 years old … Out of curiosity, are you setting up the alternative One Nation? #mulletbarbie.” In the flame-war that ensued, I posted that Ford should be shipped second class to Hamas, adding: “All the hair bleach, pale pink lipstick, and flatteringly blurred portraiture in the universe will never hide your putrid nature, Ford.”
On reading this, Ford blocked me.
Vindictive bullying is a hallmark of the followers of the cruel new wave of female influencers. Those who find themselves under attack – men, and women she doesn’t like – sometimes try to fight back. In 2018, 14,000 people signed a petition objecting to Ford’s keynote appearance at a Lifeline event to raise money for suicide awareness. The event was cancelled, with organizers saying: “We felt we couldn’t proceed in the spirit of open discussion as intended.”
A new petition calls on Ford’s publisher to sever ties with the author. The “Allen & Unwin must sever ties with anti-Semite Clementine Ford” Change.org petition – started by Feminists Against Anti-Semitism – has attracted over 2700 signatures. It has been backed by the head of the Australian Jewish Association, Robert Gregory, who has written directly to the Allen & Unwin CEO Robert Gorman, saying: (We) have received numerous concerned messages from members of the Jewish community, almost all women, concerned about Clementine Ford in the last few weeks. Many of these women are noticeably upset and some of them claim to have been personally targeted by Clementine Ford. Some allege that this has resulted in dangerous personal threats.
“Some of the content brought to our attention appears to be racial in nature … For someone who claims to be a feminist, she certainly appears to be causing much distress for many women.
“Australia is experiencing a wave of anti-Semitic attacks. The Jewish community is feeling very vulnerable. Many feel that hateful content on social media is fuelling the incidents … I urge you to make a public statement distancing yourself from … Ford’s vitriol.”
In response, Gorman said: “ Please be assured that we also take these matters extremely seriously. It is personally deeply upsetting to know that members of our community in Australia are feeling vulnerable and unsafe, and we share concerns about the rise of antisemitism here.
“As you are aware, the views of our authors expressed publicly or privately do not represent the views of Allen & Unwin. Over many years, we have published a wide range of authors who have a wide range of diverse and sometimes directly opposing views, but their private or public statements are their own. Nevertheless, we have brought concerns raised with us to the attention of Clementine Ford’s agent.
“As publishers, we refuse to publish material that is hate-based, anti-semitic or in breach of Australia’s racial discrimination laws.”
Gorman’s patronising platitudes, however, are not quite accurate. Allen and Unwin don’t publish “hate-based” material? Really? In the book I reviewed last week, Ford writes: “Men threatened by feminism ask women like me why we hate them. The more I read of history, the less concerned I am with appearing not to. The capacity men have shown for destroying the very people who gave them life is unparalleled. How dare any modern man compare the long-overdue and still-not-far-enough uprising of women against the rapists, abusers, and misogynists who have terrorised us for millennia as a witch hunt. Fuck them all to hell.”
Why, Mr. Gorman, the entire work is a lie founded on hate speech.
On Tuesday, Nova Radio, which hosted Ford’s “Dear Clementine” show said that it would not be renewing her podcast in 2024, and she suggested that her stand on Palestine may have been to blame, writing: During my two years with @novapodcastsofficial, we clocked a lot of wins … but all good things must come to an end – especially award winning podcasts presented by women who have strong opinions on genocide.’
Were Ford’s opinions on genocide responsible, or the hatred she incites?
When asked by The Australian to comment on being dumped by Nova Radio and on being the subject of a petition signed by thousands, Ford retorted, “Hang on, I think I’ve figured it out. So you want me to respond to a request for a ‘story’ written by a woman who has called me a cancer and said I should be shipped off to Hamas?” [That would be me, on Instagram.] “Here’s my response: The vicious targeting of those of us speaking out against the US funded slaughter of almost 20,000 Palestinians is unsurprising from the newspaper who, despite throwing its weight behind Donald Trump, a man whose connection to neo Nazis is undisputed, now wants its readers to somehow buy the lie it opposes antisemitism.’”
Attempting to distract attention with a spray of sensationalistic claims is, of course, a Ford trademark. A representative from the Australian Men’s Rights Agency told me: “With our existing discrimination laws I would have thought there is an argument to challenge … Ford’s behaviour, but the difficulty is in finding a solicitor brave enough to take on the feminists.”
But is Ford a feminist, or a woman who uses feminism to mask her deep, longstanding rage?
Antonella Gambotto-Burke is the author of Apple: Sex, Drugs, Motherhood and the Recovery of the Feminine. Follow her on instagram.com/gambottoburke