Recently, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a tweet supporting hair equality. This tweet shared the experience of Ruby Williams and her parents fight against hair discrimination.
Ruby won her case against the secondary school she previously attended, who claimed her naturally afro hair is against their school policy.
Job Holbrook, who has been a barrister for over 30 years, responded to the tweet by calling Ruby “a stroppy teenager of colour”. His racist comment disregarded the experiences of Ruby and many other Black girls who are treated differently at school.
The Equality Act undermines school discipline by empowering the stroppy teenager of colour. https://t.co/XLZYQg1Lmw— Jon Holbrook (@JonHolb) January 17, 2021
Her mother Kate told Yahoo News UK:
“As a family, we thank this man for choosing Ruby’s case to criticise. He has raised awareness for the campaign to end afro hair discrimination in UK schools. As a teacher, I now call on my profession to become as outraged about this as the legal profession has.”
Holbrook’s insensitive tweet caused outrage online, people responded saying:
Dear Jon— Abimbola Johnson (@BarristerAbi) January 22, 2021
Thanks for demonstrating why @AdvocacyAcademy has started @TheHaloCode. BTW if speaking about a particular person whose race you can identify, describe their ACTUAL race rather than lumping them into the category of "person of colour."
Stroppy Black female barrister,
What a pathetic response from a Barrister. No one should be discriminated against because of their race, or because their hair is different.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) January 25, 2021
You shame the Bar and undermine your profession. https://t.co/S7P8LVo6TU
Mr Holbrook was aked twice to delete the tweet by his chambers, Cornerstone Barristers. Philip Coppel QC and Tom Cosgrove QC, joint Cornerstone heads said:
“The heads of chambers learned of the tweet late on January 22.
“The heads of chambers have publicly repudiated the tweet and all that it insinuates. They reiterate that repudiation.
“Mr Holbrook was asked both on January 22 and again on January 23 to delete the tweet immediately and permanently.
“Mr Holbrook is refusing to do so. The Board of Cornerstone Barristers is dealing with the matter.
“To be clear: this matter is being taken very seriously. The contents of this tweet are contrary to the views of Cornerstone Barristers.
“We unequivocally condemn discrimination in all of its forms and are proud of our record as a diverse chamber which promotes social mobility at the Bar.”
As a result, Jon Holbrook, who caused outrage with ‘stroppy teenager of colour’ tweet, was sacked from Brighton council legal team and has shown no remorse to date.