A lecturer has accused student campaigners of being the “Gaystapo” after an image of a former Archbishop of Canterbury was removed at a top university amid “homophobia” allegations.
A photo of Lord Carey of Clifton was removed from the King’s College London’s (KCL) alumni “wall of fame” following a five year campaign from LGBTQ students who objected to his views on homosexuality.
But an academic at the university has hit back, calling the activists “sanctimonious petty Napoleons”.
In a Times Higher Education article co-authored by Reverend Jules Gomes, mental health lecturer Niall McCrae said: “Carey is not homophobic, but his name has been tarnished by a “Gaystapo” that refuses to acknowledge that a clergyman cares for all, while maintaining a traditional view of marriage,” the two women wrote.
“Only by Orwellian ‘doublethink’ can the LGBT activists who attacked Carey carry the baton of tolerance. Their world is framed by identity politics, with positive discrimination for those of favoured status, while any unfavourable attributes (as arbitrarily determined) are open to attack.”
The student campaign, led by KCL student union president Ben Hunt, began after Carey said gay relationships should not be “put on the same level” as heterosexual ones.
In 2012, Carey urged David Cameron to back down over the proposed plans to legalise gay marriage as it risked fuelling “Nazi” persecution of groups disagreeing with the reforms.
In Hunt’s manifesto to become LGBT officer in 2014, he vowed to remove Carey from the wall of fame, writing: “King’s has awarded homophobes, such as Lord Carey and the Sultan of Brunei, with privileges.”
Speaking in 2015, the union president said he had been asked by the university to compile a new list of alumni.
However, the university has denied claims the decision to remove the photo was the result of student campaigns over Carey’s alleged homophobia.
A statement said Carey’s picture had been taken down, as well as images of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and historian Sir Michael Howard, as it did not “capture the diversity of our university community”.
The photos have since been replaced with digital screens showing student, staff and alumni success. A spokesperson said the men had “expressed themselves fully supportive” for the change.
Hunt said in a statement today that the campaign to remove Carey’s image was a “representative” one.
“It is positive that we now celebrate a more representative sample of the King’s community, past, present and future which can inspire students, and alumni to look beyond the walls of King’s and outside into the world.
“The intention was never to create a climate of division in the King’s community, instead, to emphasise all of our strengths in accepting and supporting each other,” he added.
Carey has declined to talk to reporters about the row.