A supporter of the Newcastle United football team in England, Linzi Smith, has found herself facing a game ban until 2026 due to her public expression of gender-critical perspectives on social media.
Smith underwent an intense four-month investigation, led by a special team formed to combat racism in football. Their focus shifted from uncovering racism to evaluating Smith after she shared her views on X.
As a vocal defender of lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights and herself a gay woman, Smith was shocked when she received an 11-page dossier, constructed by the Premier League, embedded with in-depth personal details about her life.
Living arrangements, professional engagements, and even the path she took when walking her dog were labeled.
“They’d basically referred to me as a target, they had tried to find my identity,” Smith told the Free Speech Union. This unfolding situation has left her feeling unsettled, fearing for her safety.
The all-consuming investigation led to severe restrictions for Smith. Her association with Newcastle United was cut short when her membership was canceled and she faced prohibition from entering the club’s St James’ Park stadium for the foreseeable future.
Determined to fight against the imposed ban, she has now resolved to involve the courts. Her argument holds that expressing views critical of modern transgender ideology is within her lawful right and that the Premier League overstepped its mark by infringing data protection laws.
This grave intrusion into Smith’s life was the motivation for the Free Speech Union to assist in rigorously challenging the ban imposed on her.
The original complaint against Smith originated from alleged screenshots from her social media account, indicating claims she made about mental illness in transgender individuals. The complainant expressed feelings of discomfort sharing a space with someone they perceived to be openly “transphobic,” citing that Smith was openly mocking the transgender movement.
In October, an email from Newcastle United reached Smith’s inbox, ominously stating that she was being scrutinized by Northumbria Police for a potential hate crime offense. Consequently, her membership was placed in immediate suspension. Smith’s controversy wasn’t ignited by any misconduct during a game, inside the stadium, or indeed any direct involvement with the club.
Shortly after, she was visited by two police officers at her home, where she agreed to an interview under caution regarding her tweets.
The interview lasted for 25 minutes but was soon followed by a phone call from the police, stipulating that no action was to be taken as they found she hadn’t committed any offense.
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