A teacher sacked by UK's most elite school, Eton, for his views on patriarchy, radical feminism, and “toxic masculinity,” says he does not regret voicing his opinions and stands by them, even though they cost him his job.
The teacher, Will Knowland, told the Lockdown TV with Freddie Sayers podcast that his argument presented in a video posted on YouTube was based on “anthropology and psychology” to reject the idea of patriarchy as oppressive against women, as well as the notion that traditional gender roles are the result of a social construct rather than biological differences.
The YouTube video, “The Patriarchy Paradox,” was seen as offensive by those who hold those views that Knowland sought to dispute, accusing the former Eton teacher of sexism. According to the school, what ultimately led to his dismissal was his refusal to remove the video from YouTube.
But in the interview, Knowland claims that the main purpose of his apparently unofficial “lecture” had been to spark debate around these issues, rather than simply argue in favor of one, his side of the story.
In doing so, Knowland said he thought he was upholding Eton's very traditions, which he sees as now being under threat. Some of them are critical thinking and free speech, he said, and despite the video's content being seen as reactionary, he believes it was done in the liberal spirit, as it concerns education.
“I think, watching the way in which debate had been narrowed over the last five years or so, particularly on this topic at an all boys school struck me as slightly strange,” he told the podcast.
Knowland also noted that a culture of “wokeness” and “safe spaces” is prevalent today and that Eton giving in to it would mean that very few other places could resist this social tide.
Previously, Knowland accused the disciplinary panel that made the decision to sack him of foul play, saying it was composed mostly of those close to headmaster Simon Henderson, whom he sees as promoting suppression of free speech and having a “woke agenda.”
However, the school denies that the dismissal for gross misconduct – because Knowland refused to take down the video – had anything to do with free speech, but rather with the now former teacher's lack of professionalism.