Flora cuts ties with Mumsnet over anti-trans criticism

Upfield, the makers of Flora, said it was committed to "treating everyone equally"

Mumsnet has defended the free speech of parents to share their concerns about transgender issues on the popular forum after Upfield, the makers of Flora margarine, cut ties over anti-trans criticism. 

Upfield announced on Friday that it was parting ways with Mumsnet after it received criticism for labelling its products 'Mumsnet Rated'. 

The complaint from a Twitter user suggested that the association with Mumsnet contradicted the brand's commitment asserted in its human rights statement to upholding "diversity and inclusion". 

Upfield announced on Twitter: "We've investigated. We are wholly committed to our values, which include treating everyone equally, so have made the decision to no longer work with Mumsnet." 

Responding to the decision, a Mumsnet spokesperson said: "Mumsnet will always stand in solidarity with minority communities.

"We don't tolerate transphobic comments and will delete any when they are flagged to us. But we do also believe strongly in free speech.

"The discussion of gender self-id and what that might mean for very hard-won women's rights, as well as the rapidly growing number of children exploring gender identity issues, is contentious.

"We know some people would like us to simply censor this entire debate but a similar number think we censor too much. We're committed to allowing respectful discussion of an issue that is of particular interest to parents."

Earlier this year, Mumsnet was forced to introduce stricter moderation of comments posted on its site following protests from trans campaigners. 

Trans woman Stephanie Hayden won a High Court challenge against Mumsnet to reveal the name of a user who had posted abusive comments about her on the forum. 

Birdseye also reportedly dropped its business partnership with Mumsnet after the mother of a transgender woman complained about its products having the 'Mumsnet rated' badge. 

Upfield's announcement was criticised by Twitter users, many of whom posted with the hashtag #BoycottFlora.

Helen Joyce, The Economist magazine's finance editor, tweeted: "What an incredibly stupid decision. Mothers use your products – and mothers organise politically to defend women's rights. The sorts of things that you're calling hate are women simply lobbying for British law to stay as it is. Bye-bye. That's your products gone from my house." 

Another user commented on the lack of diversity within Upfield's own senior management team.