Eton master who was dismissed after voicing his views about patriarchy on YouTube claims the school rigged an appeal panel against him
- Will Knowland, 37, was dismissed after he refused to take down an online lecture
- In it, he addressed radical feminism and the concept of ‘toxic masculinity’
- Mr Knowland was dismissed from his role after refusing to remove the video
- He now claims an appeal panel was stacked with close associates of head master Simon Henderson, who had been accused of implementing a ‘woke’ agenda
An Eton master who was let go after voicing his views about patriarchy on YouTube has claimed the school rigged an appeal panel against him.
Will Knowland, 37, was dismissed after he refused to take down the online lecture tackling radical feminism and the concept of ‘toxic masculinity’ from his personal YouTube channel.
The move sparked outrage among students who launched a petition for Mr Knowland’s reinstatement, plunging the £42,500-a-year Berkshire school into chaos and embroiling it in a free speech row.
Mr Knowland was brought before a panel which ruled that the school was justified in dismissing him, and he was not reinstated.
Andrew Gailey, the vice-provost and former housemaster to Prince William and Prince Harry, chaired the panel, after the provost, Lord Waldegrave of North Hill, recused himself, The Times reports.
But Mr Knowland now claims the appeal panel was stacked with close associates of head master Simon Henderson, known as ‘Trendy Hendy’, who had been accused of suppressing free speech and implementing a progressive ‘woke’ agenda amid the row.
Will Knowland, 37, was dismissed after he refused to take down an online lecture tackling radical feminism and the concept of ‘toxic masculinity’ from his personal YouTube channel
Under-fire headmaster Mr Henderson, known as ‘Trendy Hendy’ has been accused of suppressing free speech and implementing a progressive ‘woke’ agenda
He wrote in the Spectator: ‘As Lenin knew, ”the educational value of courts is tremendous”.
‘At my hearing, two of the three ”senior teachers” specified as disciplinary panellists by the college’s constitution are the head master’s new appointments to his inner circle, and the third was his own deputy.
‘The college had lawyers present (at one point attempting to replace a fellow with an external QC) while I did not.’
Mr Knowland also claimed a colleague’s character witness statement was ‘significantly altered’ and was only restored to the original version after she wrote in to protest.
‘Only in response to pressure did the school provide an external note-taker,’ he added.
The school claimed the lecture advocated male superiority and female inferiority, glorified violence and promoted far-right extremism
Mr Knowland lost his appeal over his dismissal after the governing body upheld the decision to sack him
The teacher also referenced reports that Eton had considered referring his YouTube lecture to the government’s deradicalisation Prevent scheme.
‘With the head master threatening to refer me to the Teaching Regulation Agency, potentially banning me from the classroom for life, at least I can be grateful to Covid-19 for boosting demand of my online teaching,’ he wrote.
An Eton College spokesman had said at the time: ‘It is categorically untrue that Eton reported Mr Knowland under the Prevent Duty.
‘The possibility that the video might cause concern under Prevent if it were shown to students was raised in legal advice. The school did not believe that it would but confirmed that view in consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer.’
Eton said the dismissal was not an issue of free speech but one of internal discipline.
Mr Henderson has not backed down despite a public backlash over his decision to axe the popular master.