Joshua Walker, a PR executive who counts the museum among his clients, became embroiled in a heated exchange on Twitter on Wednesday as he attempted to handle the news that the Class War Party's Fuck Parade movement intends to march on the attraction on Sunday.
The museum, which opened to widespread criticism in July, claims to be dedicated to the lives of the east end women involved in the murders, but instead bears the pseudonym of their Victorian killer and uses the image of a cloaked male in its publicity.
As Walker responded to those criticising the museum he appeared to many to be defending the crimes of Jack the Ripper, rather than the museum itself.
PR hired to defend Ripper museum. Decides to also defend Ripper’s reputation. pic.twitter.com/cbTdWRibWu— Iain Aitch (@iainaitch) September 30, 2015
Walker wrote in response to a tweet: "The Jack the Ripper victims were never sexually abused. So the claim of sexual violence is wrong."
And he has since deleted a tweet, posted on Wednesday, which read: "Telling a story from the perspective of women - it's a tough job but someone has to do it."
But speaking to HuffPost UK, Walker has said that while he's not "remotely a historian or an intellectual in any capacity," he stands by his assertion that the Ripper's victims were not victims of sexual abuse "as nobody knows that they were."
Responding to his online critics, Walker said: "There are two issues there. What was being said in the article is that we are not glamourising sexual violence at all. Any one who says that has not been to the museum.
"Secondly, I don’t think it’s fair to say it is sexual violence as we don’t know that it was. The facts have not been confirmed in these cases.
"I welcome anyone to come and see the museum and see for themselves."
Asked for his response to the perception that he appeared to be defending Jack the Ripper, Walker said: "No, absolutely not.
"We are the Jack the Ripper museum because fundamentally people know the story through that name. When it comes to Jack the Ripper nobody knows who it was, was it two people, or whether they were men or women.
"We certainly don’t glorify or glamourise it in anyway, if anything it’s a kind of somber remembrance of the victims."
Walker hesitated when asked whether a "somber remembrance of the victims" should be named after the pseudonym of their killer, but he maintained that the museum aims to respectfully portray the lives of the women.
Jack the Ripper is the moniker given to the person thought to be behind a spate of horrific attacks in London in 1888. They took place in and around Whitechapel, in the impoverished east end of the city.
There are five victims generally accepted as having been killed by the Ripper. They are Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.
A similar modus operandi was present in more than a dozen other murders across London in 1888-9.
Google diversity chief Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe owns the museum and had promised “the first women’s museum in the UK."
Reaction to Walker's PR efforts has been predictably negative online.
People accuse the Ripper Museum of sexism, PR guy pops up to say "You don't know that, maybe we're racist instead!" pic.twitter.com/QOroYKz98R— Cheers, Gaveston (@MediocreDave) September 30, 2015
In 2015 he's made it his professional business to argue that Jack the Ripper wasn't necessarily a misogynist. The world thanks you, sir.— Cheers, Gaveston (@MediocreDave) September 30, 2015
@MediocreDave yeah, he really isnt very good at his job is he— theOtherOne (@waitingirl13) September 30, 2015
@sianushka hi - that's part of our plan moving forward. Still to say we promote sexual violence couldn't be further from the truth— Joshua Walker PR (@JoshuaWalkerPR) September 30, 2015
Class War's Fuck Parade is planning to target the museum on Sunday.
And cultural historian and expert on the Ripper Fern Riddell tweeted about her visit to the attraction on Wednesday. It's safe to say it's not great publicity...
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