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Durham student newspaper pulls spoof article on fictional magic circle ‘white male’ diversity scheme

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Exclusive: Satirical piece removed when spotted by editors-in-chief

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A newspaper run by Durham University students published a joke article claiming magic circle giant Linklaters is starting “a graduate scheme aimed specifically at white males” in celebration of diversity.

The article (screenshotted below), which has since been removed, appeared on Palatinate under the headline ‘Linklaters to expand graduate scheme’.

In it, author Rupert Swallow claimed the firm “said it was remarkable that no one had thought of the idea before”, while “an unashamedly rah bystander” apparently commented:

There are lite-rah-ly thousands of us in the majority that never get a look in as we don’t fit the profiles or help fill quotas. Not all of us have the advantages of a lesbian, North African mother to fall back on.

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Though we’re sure readers will not be surprised to learn the article is tongue in cheek and has no basis in fact (as confirmed by the firm itself), we were still interested to know how it ended up on a student newspaper under the guise of a genuine news article and, perhaps more intriguingly, why it was swiftly removed.

On this, Palatinate issued this statement:

The article in question was submitted to us by an independent contributor who is not associated with Palatinate’s editorial board. The article was published without editorial authority and was subsequently removed as soon as it was brought to the editors-in-chief’s attention. The article was intended as a satirical piece. However, this style of article is not the appropriate tone and focus for Palatinate.

The comment continues:

We would like to apologise to anyone who has been offended by this satirical article, this was not the intent of the piece. We are reviewing our protocols for publishing articles to ensure that appropriate editorial checks are undertaken.

Palatinate also stressed that the offending article did go through an editor before publication, but it did not receive editorial authority from the editors-in-chief.

As for the firm’s response, well, they didn’t know anything about it. The magic circle heavyweight hadn’t seen the piece until Legal Cheek pointed it out, but a spokesperson for Linklaters did confirm that it had no part to play in the removal of the article — a tweet of which has also been pulled (screenshot below).

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Rupert Swallow, the Durham University student who authored the piece, had this to say:

[T]he piece is a joke, clearly poking fun at the obviously worthwhile attempts at inclusion companies nowadays make. The article essentially mocks the dichotomy between living in an egalitarian, colour and gender-blind liberal democracy in which everyone is equal, and the way it often does not seem that way because of the divisions created, from a variety of sources, by drawing attention to the very fact of difference.

Despite namechecking the magic circle outfit in both the headline and the article itself, Swallow — who is currently studying English literature — also wished to make clear the piece was not “aimed at Linklaters’ approach specifically”. He continued:

This article is aimed more generally at the culture of differentiation through ethnic or gender-based signifiers, which should no longer have any relevance in the 21st century, which permeates the corporate world and, in our everyday lives, affects us all.