Clementine Ford Tweets “coronavirus isn’t killing men fast enough”

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clementine ford coronavirus

Feminist writer Clementine Ford issued a rare apology for saying coronavirus ‘isn’t killing men fast enough’ after she was told a council grant to help her write a new book was on the line.

clementine ford coronavirus

The 39-year-old posted the outrageous statement on Twitter on Saturday in response to an article written about gender disparities in parenting children during the coronavirus crisis.  

She shared the story of a woman forced to quit her lucrative job during the pandemic because her stay-at-home husband couldn’t cope with full time parenting – and said the man in the story was a ‘pathetic… globular dipsh*t’.

‘This woman deserves better,’ she said.

The initial tweet was followed up by a second comment, which read: ‘Honestly, the coronavirus isn’t killing men fast enough.’

She was handed the grant to help her write a new book, but the council is now reviewing its selection process.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Ford’s post was ‘deliberately divisive and incredibly unhelpful when we are trying to keep our community together during COVID-19’.

‘I found these comments offensive and distasteful and I agree with the sentiment of outrage expressed by many members of our community,’ she said.

Mayor Capp explained Ford was given the grant through an independent process as part of a program to support Melbourne’s local arts and cultural sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

‘I have asked the CEO to review the selection process for these grants,’ she said.

Hours later, Ford apologised for her comments, saying she was ‘a big enough person’ to admit when she had ‘misjudged something’. 

‘I still stand 100 per cent behind my fury at men exploiting women’s unpaid labour (exacerbated by the global pandemic), but I’ve reconsidered my flippancy in discussing it,’ she wrote.

clementine ford coronavirus

Regardless of what people want to think about me, I have no wish to compound harm and grief for anyone, nor be dismissive of the very real impact and fear a crisis like this presents.

‘A flippant (and yes, poorly judged) tweet doesn’t change that reality and it shouldn’t shift the focus away from it.

‘If we benefit from privilege, we should also be robust enough to accept critique of the systems that privilege us and work to change them.’

But hundreds of people didn’t buy the apology. 

‘Yeah, not so fast girl. It wasn’t flippant it was thirsty and banal. And it’s done some serious damage,’ one user tweeted.

‘This woman doesn’t admit fault easily… clearly she got a tap on the shoulder,’ another said.

‘It is amazing how hard you jumped off when you knew that 20k grant was in jeopardy. Pathetic,’ one woman commented.

‘Is this an attempt at some sort of apology? You can’t even get that right!’ another said. 

clementine ford coronavirus
clementine ford coronavirus
clementine ford coronavirus

Clementine Ford’s Full Apology

I’m a big enough person to admit when I’ve misjudged something. 

I still stand 100% behind my fury at men exploiting women’s unpaid labour (exacerbated by the global pandemic), but I’ve reconsidered my flippancy in discussing it. 

I’ve always maintained that the difference between jokes that punch up and down is the reality of harm. 

Eg joking about firing men into the sun has no basis in reality and therefore no potential to further harm, while ‘jokes’ about domestic abuse are very much reflective of an extensive harm already in place.

The corona tweet was contextually in response to the fact women are once again shouldering the burden of domestic labour at the expense of their own economic freedom, being let down by men who are in turn upheld by systems that have privileged them. 

It is acceptable to express fury at that, and it’s disappointing more men aren’t outraged by this reality. 

But based on my own metric outlined up thread, I have to accept fault for the corona tweet because it made a flippant joke about something that IS actually a harmful reality, and one that affects marginalised men disproportionately, not to mention robs people of their loved ones. 

Regardless of what people want to think about me, I have no wish to compound harm and grief for anyone, nor be dismissive of the very real impact and fear a crisis like this presents.

But I also think it’s fair to be angry at the lack of interest in this crisis’ impact on women. 

To be astonished at how women are expected to perform the essential tasks that allow men to thrive, at the expense of women’s stability, while being denied recognition for that work.

A flippant (and yes, poorly judged) tweet doesn’t change that reality and it shouldn’t shift the focus away from it. 

If we benefit from privilege, we should also be robust enough to accept critique of the systems that privilege us and work to change them.

Anyway, this acknowledgement isn’t for the men who are looking for any reason to ignore patriarchal impact but for the people genuinely hurt by my words. 

I’m sincerely sorry, and I wish I had framed my argument in better terms and in a way that didn’t compound harm. Be well.


Ford’s initial tweet came on the back of several global studies that indicate men are dying of coronavirus at a faster rate than women.

Researchers from several esteemed hospitals in Beijing concluded men and women have the same potential to contract the disease, but men with COVID-19 are more at risk for worse outcomes and death, independent of age. 

Of 206,128 patients, researchers at the University College London found men were twice as likely to require intensive care, and 60 per cent more likely to die. 

It is not yet clear why men are more susceptible to fatal outcomes, but some health authorities have argued it is in part due to the increased likelihood of smoking and poorer hygiene habits.     

Ford’s initial post attracted an influx of criticism by people who accused her of ‘weaponising feminism,’ having ‘daddy issues’ and being ‘toxic’.

Former Senator Derryn Hinch described her opinions as ‘repulsive’.

‘Sometimes your Twitter views are truly repulsive. If this is a serious comment I feel sorry for you. What a way to go through life full of hatred,’ he responded.

Others suggested her post – which she claimed was in jest – paved the way for equally as damaging comments.

‘Clementine, is this a similar joke to: ”Honestly, the corona virus isn’t killing black people fast enough” or ”Honestly, the corona virus isn’t killing disabled people fast enough” or ”Honestly, the corona virus isn’t killing health care workers fast enough”?’

Ford initially argued the backlash proved ‘exactly how fragile men are.’

‘The same men who insist all the time that women laugh at jokes about violence against us because ‘dark humour’ and ‘relieving tension’. Men are pathetic,’ she wrote.

‘Men love to screech about snowflakes and triggered feminists and women not being able to take a joke and they crumble at the first sign of a hyperbolic tweet that doesn’t place them as gods at the centre of the universe. Ding dongs, all of them.’ 

The Melbourne-based author has previously spoken about being the target of graphic abuse, trolling and death threats from men on social media, and is known for her often polarising comments about men.

In 2017, she hand-signed a copy of her book ‘Fight Like a Girl’, with a message that read: ‘Have you killed any men today? And if not, why not?‘ 

In addition, she previously made several man bashing comments such as “kill all men”.