Eton College has allegedly dismissed a teacher who refused to take down a video questioning “current radical feminist orthodoxy” from his personal Youtube account, according to The Telegraph.
Will Knowland has taught English for nine years at the £42,500-a-year boys school, which has famously educated over one-third of all British Prime Ministers, including Boris Johnson, and is a byword for privilege and traditional private education.
Knowland had prepared to give a lecture called “The Patriarchy Paradox” earlier this year, as part of a course to encourage critical thinking in older students at Eton, according to The Telegraph,
Before presenting to students, he pre-recorded a video of the lecture, which circulated among other teachers on the school’s intranet. When one of the teachers complained, the headmaster asked for the video to be removed, which it was, according to Knowland.
However, Knowland says that he refused to remove the lecture from his personal YouTube channel, which is largely a collection of English tutorials, with around one thousand subscribers.
“Because I believe passionately in free speech, I said I would only take it down if given a clear reason, which is how I ended up being dismissed,” Knowland said, reported The Telegraph.
Eton College has not responded to a request for comment from The Epoch Times at the time of writing. In a statement to The Telegraph, the college effectively acknowledged Knowland had been dismissed, saying that the decision was going through an appeals process and that further comment would be inappropriate.
Knowland said that the topic of masculinity currently lacks balance in the way it is taught at Eton College.
“The Head Master felt that some of the ideas put forward in my lecture—such as the view that men and women differ psychologically and not all of those differences are socially constructed—were too dangerous for the boys to be exposed to,” Knowland said, according to The Telegraph.
Knowland said his intention wasn’t to endorse the ideas. but to raise different views from, “the current radical feminist orthodoxy.”
“In my lecture, I pointed out that, historically, masculine qualities like strength, courage, and tenacity have often been as beneficial to women as they have been to men.”
A crowdfunding site set up in the name of Knowland says, “I have been dismissed from my employment. My wife and I will be made homeless, along with our five children. I am raising money to challenge my dismissal in the Employment Tribunal if necessary.”
The Epoch Times has been unable to verify that Knowland set up the page.
On the page to his video Knowland writes, “The statements and opinions in this video are not necessarily agreed or authorised by Eton College or its subsidiary companies.”
Above that, Knowland quotes George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Knowland is a member of the Free Speech Union, which said they will be “supporting him in full.”
Eton College takes boys only, between the ages of 13 and 18. It describes itself as “a vibrant and progressive school which is committed to independent thought and the pursuit of excellence in providing a well-rounded and inclusive education.”
According to the website, “Tradition remains important and still shapes some of our guiding principles, but it is a readiness to innovate which has seen the school thrive for almost six centuries.”