I wouldn’t normally post again on the same story, but this statement concerning the Leanne Mohamad story from Speakers Trust needs to be seen in full.
So Leanne Mohamad’s unfounded and libellous charges against Israel do not constitute an obvious problem according to the organisers. Any action taken so far is to protect Leanne Mohamad from people like me. I can’t say I’m completely surprised, but I had hoped for something better than this.
It seems the organisers are trying to paint Leanne Mohamad as some kind of victim here. I don’t think they understand, yet, exactly what she said and what it represents.
I hope once the long weekend in the UK is over they compose themselves and reach a more coherent conclusion on what’s going on. Certainly I think the school has a much deeper part in this than Speak Out.
Our primary duty of care is to the young people we work with and we cannot tolerate any form of insult or abuse. We are concerned and saddened that Leanne’s experience has been less than positive.
Leanne Mohamad is the Redbridge Regional Final winner and there has never been any suggestion that she should be disqualified. Almost 190,000 young people have spoken out over the years on any topic which they feel passionately about and none has ever been banned from the process or silenced.
We are, however, a small charity without the capacity to moderate comments 24 hours a day and it was considered essential to protect Leanne by temporarily suspending the regional video over the bank holiday, until we were able to consult with her school and family.
Of 37 talented regional Champions only fifteen can be voted through to the Grand Final. This selection process took place on Saturday 21st May based on standard judging criteria and without any external influence or input.
The general “rules” of effective public speaking are guidelines to help speakers to create a speech that will connect with a large and diverse audience and every speech was judged on its own merits. At the heart of what we do lies the determination that all of our young speakers, irrespective of background, race or creed, should be able to speak out in a safe and supportive environment.