St. Mary’s LGBT+ Zoom event hijacked by anonymous callers

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Content warning: This article contains a report of homophobic comments which readers may find distressing.

An LGBT+ Zoom link, hosted by St Mary’s College, was hijacked by anonymous callers on the 5th October. 

15-20 callers seized control of the well-attended Zoom event and proceeded to shout numerous homophobic and racist slurs at the participants of the event. The hijackers then began to share sexually explicit videos on their screens whilst playing loud, disorientating music.

An investigation has now been launched by the University into the incident.

A statement, issued by the Durham LGBT+ Association and the Durham People of Colour Association, declared that “the participants of this call were left feeling upset, threatened and above all, unsafe.”

“To hijack an event like this in such an aggressive and targeted way is nothing less than a hate crime.”

Durham LGBT+ Association & Durham People of Colour Association

The statement explained that “the fact that this was not simply an individual acting alone, but rather a coordinated attack from a number of people, is a reminder of how routinely unsafe and unwelcome our community is made to feel.”

This incident occurred just weeks after screenshots of racist, sexist, and homophobic comments, made by current students and applicants, were leaked online. These previous two incidents resulted in two expulsions from the University and two societies being banned from the Durham Students’ Union.  

80% of LGBT+ hate crimes go unreported, and Durham LGBT+ Association, along with Durham People of Colour Association, personally ask every member of the University community to be active bystanders when encountering discriminatory attacks. 

Sam Dale, Director of Student Support and Wellbeing at Durham University, said: “The University has been informed about incidents of Zoom bombing, where uninvited guests share their screens to bombard real attendees with disturbing or distracting content, leaving participants feeling distressed, threatened and unsafe. 

“Such behaviour is not acceptable at Durham University and will not be tolerated. Incidents will be reported to the Police. 

“Every member of the University is expected to treat others with respect and tolerance so that every member of our community can live, study and work in a safe and inclusive environment.”

Anyone requiring support after this incident is able to contact welfareofficer.durhamlgbta@gmail.com (Durham LGBT+ Association), or dpoca.welfare@durham.ac.uk (Durham People of Colour Association,) where welfare officers will actively listen to any problems and signpost towards useful resources.

Image: Bonnitt via Creative Commons

One thought on “St. Mary’s LGBT+ Zoom event hijacked by anonymous callers

  • Because people are sick of this s#!t.

    Reply

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