Shakespeare's Globe has been criticised for sharing a "derogatory" poem challenging "transphobic Terfs", as the theatre promoted a play about a non-binary Joan of Arc.
Verses that begin by using the word “bitch” to descibe feminists who are critical of gender ideology were shared on the Globe's website and the venue’s Twitter feed to promote I, Joan, a play about the French heroine.
It was shared with a message urging people to “share your truth”, adding: “We are all beautiful. We are all powerful.”
But the poem, titled “Terfs stop being transphobic challenge”, has been criticised as a “vicious attack on women” by campaigners concerned about gender theory, with the Globe rushing to delete the piece.
It also purged its website of a page titled “creative responses to I, Joan”, saying that promoting the piece of writing directed at “terfs” was a “misjudgment”.
Terf stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminist”, although it has also been used more broadly to describe women who are critical of gender theory. The controversial verse attributed to Alex Curry enjoins these “Terfs” to “stop being transphobic”.
The poem begins: “The lion, the witch, the audacity of this bitch / to question my authority on bodily autonomy.”
It continues with lines stating “to hear them speak, with so much garbage locked inside it's a wonder they survive”, along with “they're questioning my right to proudly self-identify”, and complaints about “transphobic lies”.
The poem claims that the path of feminists who are critcal of gender theory is a “f—ing path being paved by f—ing men”.
The play had already attracted strong criticism for appearing to “erase” female figures from history.
Joan Smith, feminist writer and author of Misogynies, said: “It’s not a poem, it’s a vicious attack on women who disagree with a nasty, misogynist cult.
“Another institution captured - are there any adults at The Globe? Anyone who thinks this is reasonable behaviour has lost all sense of humanity.”
Woman’s Place UK, a gender critical campaign group, added: “Publishing such derogatory and deeply misogynistic language sends a very powerful message to women - know your place.
“We support and embrace artistic licence, but publishing offensive sexist tropes, whilst erasing a woman from her own life, only spotlights The Globe’s regressive attitudes towards women.”
A spokesman for the theatre said: “In sharing a selection of audience artistic responses to I, Joan on social media, we shared something in a moment of misjudgment. The tweet was promptly deleted, and we are sorry for any offence caused.
“I, Joan as a new play gives messages of joy, hope, love, and inclusion of all.”