Feminist author Naomi Wolf was humiliated live on a BBC radio program after the host pointed out that information in her book is incorrect.
Wolf’s book “Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love” asserted that some people in 19th-century England received the death penalty for being gay.
However, as BBC host and historian Matthew Sweet pointed out, the feminist writer misinterpreted the old legal records. “I found several dozen executions,” Wolf said during a Thursday BBC interview, referring to supposed executions for sodomy in 19th-century England.
“I don’t think you’re right about this,” Sweet said. He pointed to the case of Thomas Silver, a 14-year-old boy, who Wolf said was executed for committing sodomy.
“Thomas Silver wasn’t executed,” Sweet said. “Death recorded is what’s in most of these cases that you’ve identified as executions. It doesn’t mean that he was executed.”
Wolf’s entire premise relied on the fact that gay people were executed in 19-century England, but her evidence was wrong.
Sweet explained that “death recorded” was a category used by judges to “abstain from pronouncing sentences of death on any capital convict whom they considered to be a fit subject for pardon.”
In other words, the judge wrote down “death recorded” but didn’t sentence the gay teenager to death.
“I don’t think any of the executions you’ve identified here actually happened,” Sweet said.
Everyone listen to Naomi Wolf realize on live radio that the historical thesis of the book she’s there to promote is based on her misunderstanding a legal term pic.twitter.com/a3tB77g3c1
— Edmund Hochreiter (@thymetikon) May 23, 2019
“Well, that’s a really important thing to investigate,” Wolf said. “What is your understanding of what ‘death recorded’ means?”
Sweet cited a newspaper and prison records about Silver that proved he wasn’t executed. “I think it is quite a big problem with your argument,” he said.
After the interview, Wolf admitted via Twitter that she made a mistake.
There is an error on on 71 and p 72 of my book Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love. 14 year old Thomas Silver, sentenced to death at the Old Bailey for sodomy, was not ultimately executed, nor was 60 year old John Spenser. Corrected. However….
— Dr Naomi Wolf (@naomirwolf) May 24, 2019
Feminists love to complain about “mansplaining,” but Wolf would have published misinformation if it wasn’t for Sweet’s explanation.
This isn’t the first time Wolf peddled misinformation — her history of pushing far-left conspiracy theories is well-documented.
Even left-wing media outlet Vox described some of Wolf’s beliefs as “insane” in 2014.
Wolf once suggested on Facebook that ISIS beheading videos were false flags.
— Graeme Wood (@gcaw) October 4, 2014
Like other feminists, Wolf is prone to misinformation, so it was satisfying to hear her being corrected on air.
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