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Cambridge Queer Studies Conference ‘Zoom bombed’ with porn and Andrew Tate clips

‘The nature of the attack was inherently violent’


A Cambridge Queer Studies event was Zoom bombed with clips of pornography and former kickboxer Andrew Tate.

The Queer Studies Conference was held at the Faculty of Education on Saturday 13th May from 9:30am to 6pm. It was organised by Jordan Scott and Christoffer Koch Andersen and featured a range of speakers, including Professor Zoë Playdon, Fran Lock, and Justa Knight: Drag Thing.

Those unable to attend in person, which included more participants than expected due to train strikes, were available to participate in the event online.

During the event, either a group or an individual (with multiple accounts) attempted to hijack the event during a speech by Fu Ge Yang on ‘Transtopia: Transgender and Gender Non-conformity in Late Post-war Japan’.

They interrupted the speaker by playing a pornographic clip at full volume. When they were promptly removed from the Zoom call by the organiser, they joined on a different account and played a clip of Andrew Tate. The account that played this clip was under the name ‘Top G’ – a nickname Tate uses for himself. They were unable to play sound this time as the room had been muted but the influx of suspicious accounts meant this talk had to be cut short.

Image credits: Tom Idris Marquand

The rest of the event was able to continue without disturbance, as before the next talk a secure link was sent out to participants and the online portion was promptly moved to Teams. However, this served as a stark reminder of the importance of events such as the one that these would-be-hackers attempted to disrupt.

The organiser of the conference Jordan Scott commented: “What was particularly hard to hear was the amount of people who had experienced similar ‘Zoom bombings’ in the past. I cannot imagine what would incentivise someone to do that.

“The homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic motivation is honestly appalling. I cannot thank the participants of the event enough for their patience, understanding and professionalism. Though I am happy the event was able to continue without further disruption, the nature of the attack was inherently violent. It will have had a serious impact on some participants. I do hope that anyone affected feels as though they can reach out for support. Queer love and solidarity.”

Image credits: Tom Idris Marquand

His co-organiser Chris Koch Andersen said the hacking of the Queer conference was “an intrusion of a space created for queers by queers to resist, embrace, and learn together,” commenting on how this should be “marked as a reminder of how queer communities are targeted and ridiculed – something we should all refuse to accept.”

He said he wanted the importance of queer spaces to be reinforced and how “we must not capitulate to their ignorance,” continuing on to say: “This is deeply alarming because even in the current times of oppression and violence against the queer community globally, we can’t have our own, carefully curated spaces safe without dehumanising and violating appearances from people who do not want to take our queer community seriously or to let them flourish.”

Image credits: Tom Idris Marquand

Andersen said it “solely reflects the disrespectful, transphobic and misogynistic attitudes towards queer spaces and communities, but also acts as a visible reminder of why we must resist through persisting on claiming our right to exist – legitimately and proudly.” He ended with the powerful closing statement: “Queer spaces might be interrupted, but they cannot be erased.”

This attempted protest did not accomplish its implicitly homophobic goal to deter the conference from continuing. However, it did serve as a useful reminder of the importance of queer space and queer community in reminding us of the opposition that needs to be worked against.

The Tab has been in contact with Andrew Tate’s representation and they did not comment on the intruder’s use of his likeness.