An award-winning Polish electronic and noise musician has found herself “canceled” after speaking out against gender ideology. Ewa Justka, a musician and electronics teacher, has spoken exclusively to Reduxx about her experience becoming the target for harassment and abuse because of her views.
Justka’s ordeal began on July 1, when she posted on her Instagram in support of Harry Potter creator JK Rowling and professor Kathleen Stock. Justka uploaded multiple screenshots, including one with the definition of “lesbian” as a “female homosexual,” and another of a Telegraph article which denounced the term “TERF” as “the ultimate slur against women.” TERF is an acronym meaning “trans exclusionary radical feminist,” but has been applied more broadly to any woman who criticizes gender ideology, often accompanied with threats of violence.
“Are you a woman who experienced sex-based discrimination? Have you been canceled for expressing your views regarding recent misogyny and hatred towards feminists like JK Rowling, Kathleen Stock, and other brave women having the balls (metaphoric ones) to speak out?” Justka began her Instagram post, continuing that she wanted women who fit her description to contact her.
But shortly after the post was uploaded, Justka found herself the target of a cancellation campaign intended to penalize her for her views.
Following her post on Instagram, Justka received hate mail in her direct messages and emails, angry comments on her post, a removal from a pending compilation album, and the cancellation of workshops and gigs.
One of her shows, which had been arranged at The Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, was cancelled, and Justka began to receive intense online and in-person harassment from local musicians. One local establishment, Stereo, even refused her service due to allegedly making patrons “feel unsafe” because of her views.
One of the hateful messages Justka received included a threat from music journalist Peter Kirn who stated “…tell you what, Ewa- we’ll beat you. I’ll do my best to absolutely makes sure no one works with you. So you want to see the power of this patriarchal system you’re so upset about? Watch me.”
While she was immediately struck off from some events she had been scheduled at, one of her most pressing concerns was her appearance with an influential artist.
Justka was due to perform alongside British electronic musician Mathew Herbert in October of 2023 at the Gulbenkian Art Centre in Canterbury, an event associated with the Oram Awards. Worried the campaign against her would reach the Awards administration, she contacted them for support and assurance that they would not cancel her appearance. But she found that her invitation to perform was being rescinded.
Justka won the Oram Award in 2017 and is an alumna of the institution, having won the “inaugural” competition judged by Róisín Murphy and mastering engineer Mandy Parnell. As described by FACT magazine: “The PRS Foundation and The New BBC Radiophonic Workshop have announced a new awards initiative to celebrate women innovating in the fields of sound and music. The awards are named after BBC Radiophonic Workshop co-founder Daphne Oram and purport to “build on her legacy.”
Justka was offered the invitation in May to travel to appear in the October 7 event where she was contracted to run an audio-visual synth workshop, appear in a Q&A panel, and do a performance, with brochures for the event being produced.
In an email seen by Reduxx, Justka reached out to The Oram Awards on July 7 to ask whether they were planning on removing her from the event due to her opinions.
“I’m not sure if you are aware, but during the last few days I have experienced quite a big wave of harassment, attempts of intimidation, bullying and I lost numerous workshops and gigs,” Justka wrote. “I have stated in a public post, that I stand for JK Rowling and Kathleen Stock and I’m against calling women ‘menstruators,’ ‘birthing people’ and other dehumanizing slurs. Consequently, I was told I’m a transphobe and homophobe, which is absolutely untrue.”
She then elaborated on her opinions on the political situation, linking it to the Oram Awards’ mission statement.
“Please let me know where you stand on that, as I won’t stay silent about this, and also I want to have an actual discussion with people about this topic, no matter what they identify as. Unfortunately I wasn’t given this opportunity yet.”
Days later, the Oram Awards responded:
“Thank you for reaching out to us about this. We weren’t aware of this situation and sorry to hear how this experience has affected you personally and professionally. We want to carefully discuss this and reply to you when the rest of the team comes back from holiday next week.”
Justka chased them up a week later as she had received no further communication, and finally received a reply on July 18.
“We are an organization fighting for women’s rights in the music industry by providing a much-needed platform for their work and supporting their creative development,” an Oram Awards organizer wrote. “Our position on trans rights is that trans women are women and we hope that everyone we work with responds to that respectfully.”
Confused, Justka asked for an elaboration, and inquired as to whether the Awards was suggesting that males could change their sex or identify into womanhood.
On July 20, Justka received a response condemning her “negative emails” towards the Awards, and stating that “it has become clear that we can no longer work with you.”
It continued: “This email is confirmation that the invitation to participate in our event at the Gulbenkian on October 7th has been revoked.”
Following the months-long ordeal, Justka continued to lose work, including a provisional arrangement to lecture for the London College of Communication at the University of the Arts in London. She has since moved to Italy in order “to escape” the situation.
While continuing her work in solitude, Justka has created an album in response to her cancellation and started a women-only project to encourage female musicians to create and build their own electronic synthesizers.
Speaking to Reduxx, Justka explained that her July comments came from a place of concern for the impact gender ideology was having on women’s rights.
“I’ve been listening to women’s voices and hearing about the discrimination so many of them went through just by stating biological facts and by sharing their concerns about having dangerous men in women’s prisons, and predators who take advantage of self id laws in UK,” she said. “Moreover, I’ve experienced domestic abuse throughout my life, I couldn’t stay silent anymore.”
Calling gender ideology “extremely dangerous,” Justka notes that the language employed by trans activists often dehumanizes women and erodes women-only spaces.
“This all damages women’s rights so many feminists fought for. The art scene that celebrates this ideology is, in my view, extremely hypocritical and I could not subscribe to their agenda anymore.”
Justka notes that her expulsion from the Oram Awards was the most hurtful incident in her ordeal.
“The Oram Awards claims to be a ‘women-supporting foundation,’ yet it clearly does not stand for women since, in their view, men can be women and they’ll drop a female artist in a whim if she dares to question gender ideology,” she says. “I moved to the UK from Poland as I believed I would be valued according to my work, knowledge, and capabilities. Clearly, I was wrong – it’s unfortunate, but in UK, if you’re a female artist and don’t subscribe to gender ideology, you will be cancelled, and your work opportunities will be taken away. It’s very clear to me, that this is vindictive, Stasi-like discrimination of women and girls and we must speak out against it and stand for women’s rights.”
Ironically, one of the judges who awarded Justka the Oram Award in 2017, pop-musician Róisín Murphy, also recently found herself being attacked for making a statement against gender ideology.
Murphy made international headlines after screenshots of a comment she made on her personal Facebook page began circulating on X (formerly Twitter). In the post, Murphy stated: “Please don’t call me a terf, please don’t keep using that word against women. I beg you! But puberty blockers ARE FUCKED, absolutely desolate, big pharma laughing all the way to the bank. Little mixed up kids are vulnerable and need to be protected, that’s just true.”
Murphy soon after penned an apology following some backlash from trans activists, and it is alleged that the BBC refused to play tunes from her chart-topping album as a result of her comments.
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