A barrister who tweeted that the Equality Act ‘undermines school discipline by empowering the stroppy teenager of colour’ has been censured by his own chambers, which has begun ‘an urgent internal investigation’ into the post.
Public law set Cornerstone Barristers said Jon Holbrook’s tweet ‘does not in any way reflect the views of Cornerstone Barristers’ and that the chambers 'repudiates the contents of the tweet and all that it insinuates’.
In a statement published at the weekend, the chambers said it is undertaking an ‘urgent investigation into the matter’ and said Holbrook has been asked to delete the tweet immediately. The tweet had not been deleted at the time of writing.
Holbrook posted the comment on 17 January in response to a video from the Equality and Human Rights Commission telling the story of a black girl who was sent home from school because her Afro-style hair breached its uniform policy.
Cornerstone Barristers said: ‘We unequivocally condemn discrimination in all of its forms and are proud of our record as a diverse chambers which promotes social mobility at the bar. We are fully committed to equality, diversity and tolerance.’
Holbrook’s tweet was widely condemned by the profession. Criminal and family law barrister Alexandra Wilson said she was ‘embarrassed to be in the same profession as someone like this’. It is understood that Holbrook has been reported to the Bar Standards Board.
In a later tweet, Holbrook highlighted that Twitter had investigated the complained-about post and found it did not need to be removed. He added: 'Twitter strikes a blow for free speech. (I didn’t think I’d be making that point any time soon.)'