Student Tabloid in Bigotry Row

Catherine Healy

Student Affairs Correspondent

A former sex columnist for has resigned from her position after accusing the site’s editors of tolerating sexism and homophobia.

Writing on her blog, Embarrassing Moment, Sinead Dolan detailed a series of events during which she says senior editors on the staff made “incredibly sexist” comments and posted lesbian pornography on the website’s internal staff forum. She said this was compounded by the site’s publication of articles of a similarly sexist nature, written by these editors and by staff under their guidance.

Ms Dolan further alleged that one article, written by opinion editor Joshua Doyle, drew comparison between members of the LGBT community and “sex offenders”. The article called the clothing label Abercrombie and Fitch “gay” because of alleged sexual harassment committed against one of its models by a photographer. The article in question can no longer be found on the website, although an image is provided as verification on Ms Dolan’s blog posting.

Launched in June of this year, is an online student tabloid which posts articles on subjects ranging from sport to sex, and technology. Since its launch it has gained some traction among students, with over 700 Facebook fans and a number of popular Irish student bloggers recruited to the site. The site was established by several members of the Midnight Promotions group, which was recently the subject of controversy following the publication of an advertisement for its Mondays at Alchemy night.

Ms Dolan wrote for the site’s sex section, which aimed to give students advice on sexual encounters. On her blog she details how her section editor, Jack O’Connor, refused on one occasion to publish a column of hers about sexual consent, saying that it wasn’t “positive” enough. She alleged that his preference was for the section to deal only with sex positions. In communication with this newspaper, Ms Dolan said that the article had eventually been published, but only reluctantly and after suggestion that it would be better suited to the opinion or health sections of the site.

Mr O’Connor, a Trinity student who was a leading figure in the recent establishment of a fraternity at this university, runs the It’s All About Sex section, which is among the most popular on the site. While there are a number of contributors to the section, Trinity News understands that a large proportion of the articles are written by Mr O’Connor under a pseudonym.

Speaking to Trinity News, Sinead Dolan expressed her grievance at the lack of support she received from the website’s editors when she complained about the incidents detailed on her blog. In the blog post she had described the management of the site as “liars”, for failing to remove Mr Doyle from his post for his role in the Abercrombie piece after promising to do so.

Recent articles in the sex section appear with disclaimers that the advice contained is not intended to “pressure” the reader, although it is unclear if this is related to Ms Dolan’s resignation. At the time of publication neither Mr O’Connor nor Greta Dunne, the main editor of the site, had responded to requests for comment.