Alderton at hustingsRosie Bradbury

Content note: This article contains in quotations, the homophobic slur written in Alderton’s Facebook post. An Editor’s Note explaining the decision to include the slur is below the article.

LGBT+ Rep for Magdalene JCR, Harry White, has criticised the Cambridge SU presidential candidate Matt Alderton’s response to questions about his use of a homophobic slur as “concerning” and that Alderton’s initial denial that he wrote the slur showed a “lack of humility and recognition of the true danger of using homophobic slurs even unintentionally”.

White added, “It is certainly not befitting of someone hoping to represent the entire student body”. 

At Cambridge SU election hustings on Friday evening, Alderton was asked by a member of the audience about a Facebook post that he wrote as Magdalene JCR vice-president in November 2019 announcing the college’s new JCR committee. At the end of the post, Alderton wrote his friend’s name, with a homophobic slur, “batty boy”, next to it.

At hustings, Alderton called a question about his post “a way to further a smear campaign”, and having “baseless allegations against a subject matter which does not necessarily affect the actual running of this election”. After Varsity added that it was also in possession of evidence of the Facebook post and pressed him to respond, Alderton then admitted to having posted it, and apologised.

Speaking to Varsity, White said: “I also find it puzzling that Matt thinks this is irrelevant to the election. I would hope Matt recognises the importance of the SU president having the confidence of the LGBT+ community, and therefore I would have expected him to be keen to answer these questions and set the record straight”.

White confirmed that he is not on the campaign of any candidate running to be Cambridge SU president, has not publicly endorsed any candidate, and has never held a position within CUSU or any of its liberation campaigns.

In a comment to Varsity, Alderton said, “I apologise for unintentionally using a homophobic slur, as said I did not know its full meaning and once I did, I deleted it straight away, this can all be corroborated by witnesses.”

He added, “Members of the LGBT+ community have been an integral part of my campaign team and if elected I will work with LGBT+ campaigns to make sure that the SU champions LGBT+ equality and representation.”


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White, who joined the JCR committee immediately succeeding Alderton’s tenure as vice-president, added, “As far as I’m concerned, his comment is at best dangerously ignorant, and an example of the sort of blasé attitude towards homophobia which can prevent LGBT+ people from truly feeling comfortable in the wider community.”

He continued in his statement to Varsity, “I hope Matt has understood why this language is unacceptable, and that over the course of any further campaigning he is able to promote a vision for the student union which champions LGBT+ equality and representation.”

Editor’s Note: This article includes the homophobic slur which Alderton wrote in a Facebook post in November 2019. Varsity decided to include the slur, to avoid any assumptions on what exact slur had been written, and to provide this information to readers.