Oh Dear, How Sad, Never Mind

Cancel culture doesn’t exist, they said. No one is losing their jobs, they said. Well, now one of their own has been burned.

Waterstones has come under fire for sacking a bookseller who claimed she would “tear up and bin” an author’s novel over their gender-critical views.

Book influencer and Waterstones employee Tilly Fitzgerald, who uses the TikTok page Tilly Loves Books to share her reviews of novels, was fired after breaching the retailer’s social media policy during an interaction with author Christina Dalcher.

Ms Dalcher was subject to Ms Fitzgerald’s criticism after the author appeared to endorse a new publishing network for those “concerned about the impact of gender ideology” and the safeguarding of women’s rights.

This prompted Ms Fitzgerald to write on X/Twitter: “Ooh I’ll enjoy tearing up your books and popping them in the bin today. Thanks for the heads up.”

The bookseller was subsequently dismissed from her job and took to social media to tearfully express her sadness – and clarify her stance on Ms Dalcher’s books.

Firstly, it is always worth checking the social media policy of your employer. Now, My usual stance is that this is nothing to do with the employer as she was acting in a personal capacity, so the reaction was disproportionate. I haven’t changed my stance. However, it is now those who were busy cancelling those who spoke nothing but the truth in their own time who are squealing. To which I say: suck it up. You were happy to dish it out, now your own policy of spitefulness has come home to roost. No sympathy.

Play with fire, get burned.

So, what was that about there being no such thing as cancel culture?


  1. I think Waterstones was right under the circumstances. The comments can be regarded as relating to her work as they suggest that she would not be impartial in carrying out her work but would favour books that accord with her views and discriminate against those that don’t.

    • She hung herself and now she thinks she’ll get her job back if she makes enough fuss. I bet Waterstone’s HR department have got all their ducks in a row before canning her.

      No sympathy. You’re employed to sell books, not to sell books you personally like.

  2. While agreeing with your point about whether this should be regarded as a ‘private’ opinion l do commend Waterstones for applying their social media policy equally even when they must know it will cause a backlash from the lgbtq community.
    Or maybe they have just recognised the wind of public opinion is changing on this issue.

    • Its not so much public opinion (though that certainly is changing), its the law thats changed, or at least been clarified. Belief in the immutability of sex has now been declared by the courts to be a protected belief under the Equality Act, so you cannot discriminate on that basis. Corporate lawyers will have noted this decision, and corporate policies will start to reflect the risk of legal action if they do allow their staff to be discriminated against on the basis of their legally protected beliefs. And it will be placed in the conduct policies for staff as well, along with all the other alphabet soup stuff.

  3. I don’t think Waterstones are in the wrong either. I’m just amused at the backlash from the so called community that were more than happy to dish it out.

  4. How many ‘cancellers’ being cancelled will it take to put limits on the confected outrage? We need a few more highly visible examples.

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