Rupert Myers pens tell-all piece
A prominent junior barrister who was dropped from his British GQ political correspondent role in the wake of allegations about his behaviour has revealed how it felt to be “publically shamed” in the Harvey Weinstein fall-out.
Just over a month ago, East Anglian Chambers barrister Rupert Myers was sacked by British GQ after allegations about his behaviour surfaced online. The publication’s statement read:
“Having been made aware of some allegations against Rupert Myers, GQ can confirm that it has terminated its freelance agreement with him, with immediate effect. He is no longer GQ’s Political Correspondent.”
Myers — previously an active Twitter user who had the Twitterati in stitches with his satirical Supreme Court commentary during the Brexit legal challenge — then appeared to deactivate his social media account. Now, his account is bare but online, his bio reading: “Returning in 2018.” It also says: “That’s not my headline”, perhaps, though by no means definitively, a reference to the headline on his new 1,000+ word piece in the Evening Standard.
In the Myers-penned article, headlined: “Rupert Myers: Being publicly shamed over sexual harassment allegations pushed me to the edge”, the Cambridge-educated commercial law barrister recalls being “publicly shamed in the early days of #MeToo following the Weinstein story.”
He recalls a woman speaking out about her “discomfort” at Myers’ attempt to kiss her. “I was shocked,” he said. “My recollection differs in some respects, but I understand now that what I did upset her.” He later admitted: “I propositioned women and made them feel uncomfortable through my inappropriate behaviour.”
Seemingly in response to the public shaming he describes, Myers said he has “engaged in serious, professionally led work to ensure that my misjudgements are a relic of the past.”
“I make no excuses for my misconduct, nor do I seek to diminish the seriousness of anyone’s experience. Not everything I have read about myself has been accurate, but as a consequence of women coming forward to describe how I have behaved and how they felt, I have been presented with the opportunity to re-assess incidents in my past. This has led me to ask searching questions of my character.”
Reflecting further, Myers, who was called to the bar in 2008, said he is “grateful” for how this event has forced him to ask questions about himself. After admitting he “was part of the problem”, Myers urges society to “accept, embrace and encourage the willingness of individuals to change”.
Elsewhere in the piece Myers — who said he seeks no sympathy — expressed his gratitude to The Samaritans, a charity that provides emotional support.
“If you ever find yourself questioning what — if anything — you have to live for, I would encourage you to call them,” the article says. “It is painful for me to admit this, but is no overstatement to say that a few close friends and the careful patience of that volunteer who offered to stay with me on the phone brought me back from the edge. None of this is easy to talk about, and I have always been a relatively private person, but the magnitude of the response, the intensity of the media, the ongoing fury of the internet, and the loss of a job I loved have left a permanent impact.”
The piece finishes with the following note: “The fee for this article has been donated to The Samaritans”.
Myers’ article has received some less than complimentary responses on social media. One said: “not even fit for toilet paper”, while another jibed: “My tiny violin”.
not even fit for toilet paper
— egg knog (@edknock) November 27, 2017
My tiny violin ?
— Coralie Frost??♀️ (@CoralieFrost) November 27, 2017
A number of other Twitter users believe the Evening Standard should have published a piece written by a sexual harassment victim, an example of this here:
This is not strong. It's weak whingeing. A strong piece would be a column from a survivor of sexual harassment / abuse.
— Lindsay Dodgson ? (@linzasaur) November 27, 2017
Legal Cheek has made steps to contact Myers about this social media reaction, but has not yet heard back from him.