Illustrated Witness Statement by Maya Forstater

[Numbers in brackets refer to page numbers in the evidence bundle- where the document exists online it is replaced with a hyperlink — this is downloadble “mini-bundle” of the witness statement and all the evidence documents hyperlinked together]

Screenshots and individual downloads of some of the key exhibits are included in the text

NB: There is a restricted reporting order on 4 individuals (named “complainants 1–4” )— do not try to work out who they are or publish their names. This is a criminal offence.

Warning — its long. Make yourself a cup of tea, and if you are only interested in the belief discrimination part skip to paragraph 104 (its still long even if you start there).

1. I am a researcher, writer and campaigner with an active social media presence, including a Twitter account and a personal blog which predates my time at CGD.

2. This witness statement concerns my relationship with, and treatment by, the Center for Global Development (“CGD”) (2nd respondent), an international development think tank with headquarters in Washington DC and CGD Europe (“CGDE”) (1st respondent) the European arm of the Second Respondent, with its main office in London, as well as the Third Respondent, Masood Ahmed, who is President of the Second Respondent and also Chair of the Board of the First Respondent. In practice CGD operates as one organisation under a principle known as “One CGD” [334]. The President of CGD is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of CGDE, and the Trustees of CGDE delegate day-to-day management to the CEO of CGDE, in liaison with a body known as the Strategy and Planning Group (“SPG”), which crosses both organisations. The purpose of those arrangements is to facilitate “day-to-day integration of CGD Europe into the normal management structures of CGD” [307]. In its annual financial report for 2018, CGDE is described as an “Affiliate” of CGD and their financial statements are combined because they are “under common control” [372]. Unless otherwise stated in this witness statement, “CGD” refers to the whole organisation.

3. This witness statement addresses two separate sets of issues which are before the tribunal:

a. The nature of my employment status in relation to CGD and CGDE over time (from January 2015 — March 2019);

b. Events from September 2018 — March 2019 when I started to tweet and write about sex and gender, was subjected to an investigation and then the prospect of ongoing and future employment was removed.

4. Chronologically, events relating to these two issues intertwine, so I have written this as a single statement — it begins with evidence in relation to employment status and ends with evidence related to me losing my job, with some overlap.

2014: Starting my relationship with CGD

5. I first became known to CGD in 2014, following an extended Twitter conversation with Alex Cobham, a Research Fellow at CGD Europe, and Owen Barder, Senior Fellow and Vice President of CGD and Chief Executive of CGD Europe. This was an argument about Alex Cobham’s claim, in a CGD published blogpost and paper, that “if Zambia had received the price for its copper that Switzerland declared on re-exporting the exact same copper, then Zambia’s GDP would have nearly doubled”.

6. As a consultant and researcher I had become interested in the campaigns by international development NGOs on multinational taxation. I had been blogging and tweeting about the use of misleading figures and weak thinking by NGOs, but was shocked that CGD, an organisation I admired for its rigour and integrity, would publish such a statement. After figuring out why the claim was false, in July 2014 I published a blogpost with the reasoning on my personal blog: “Swissploitation” .

7. CGD withdrew the paper [blogpost]. I was later told that this was the first and only time this had happened, and that my blog post had caused a storm of attention in the office in Washington DC. There was embarrassment that CGD had published such a poor-quality paper, and it publicly owned up to it, promising to redo the analysis.

8. I was particularly attracted to CGD because of its strong culture of open inquiry, as articulated in a 2014 essay by senior CGD staff:

“CGD does not take institutional positions, and fellows are encouraged to follow their interests and reach their own conclusions — provided they can back these up with evidence and clear argumentation.” [Building a Think and Do Tank]

9. Alex Cobham left CGD shortly after my blogpost to work for the campaigning organisation the Tax Justice Network. Alex had been the first big hire by Owen Barder as the Chief Executive of CGD Europe. My understanding is that Owen and Alex had secured a grant from Omidyar Foundation for work on Illicit Financial Flows. In 2015, Vijaya Ramachandran (Senior Fellow) moved temporarily from Washington to London to help CGD Europe with its development.10. After I published my blog, Owen Barder called me. Vijaya Ramachandran got in touch and I met her. She commissioned me to write a paper on the misunderstandings and inflated expectations that are common in debates on tax and development. This was using the final portion of the Omidyar funding that Alex and Owen had secured, and was a significant change in direction to what the donor had expected would be the conclusion of the work it had funded.

2015: First contract

11. From 6 January 2015 to 31 May 2015, I worked on a consultancy contract with CGDE to write a single paper [223–242].

12. My understanding of the relationship at this time was that I was an external contractor. I did not have a CGD email address or appear on the website. I was not entitled to write single-authored blog posts for the website (I could jointly author with a member of the team). I could not meet funders on my own and was not invited to weekly team lunches. As I will explain, this was quite different from the relationship I later had after my appointment as a Visiting Fellow.

13. A draft of my paper was put online in July 2015. In it I disagreed with conclusions and positions that had previously been taken by other CGD staff, and others in other international development organisations and funders. The CGD senior leadership that I was dealing with at the time (Owen Barder and Vijaya Ramachandran) encouraged me to write robustly, and worry about disagreeing with received wisdom, or be intimidated by personal attacks, so as long as I could back up what I wrote with clear argument and evidence. This was a strong part of CGD culture that was communicated to me, and which had attracted me to the organisation.

2016: Prospective fundraising

14. Around the time that the draft of the paper was being finalised, I began to talk with CGD (mainly Vijaya Ramachandran) about developing a longer-term programme of work on tax and illicit financial flows, and fundraising for this. We knew this would be difficult as my arguments contested some of the strong beliefs held by many of the staff of the philanthropic foundations that fund work in this area. Between September 2015 and May 2016, Vijaya had various exploratory discussions with potential funders and I produced an initial concept note.

15. On 3 May 2016 [458], Vijaya wrote that Ford Foundation was interested. She suggested we seek initial short-term seed funding (for a year) to develop the concepts and generate support for a longer-term programme, and that I do this work under a paid contract and with the title and status of Visiting Fellow.

16. On 4 May 2016, Vijaya wrote to me in an email:

“Lets focus on getting funding and on our longer term research. It will take a little while (probably 2–3 months) for the Omidyar and Ford processes to be completed, but I do hope to bring you on as a visiting fellow or something like that for a full year. So focusing on that now.” [455]

17. During the next few months, I collaborated with Vijaya to develop ideas, and raise funding for this initial “seed project”. My work focused on the intersection between the international tax system and developing countries, and on the campaigns by international development NGOs. I wrote concept notes and met with funders. [453] [456–458] [459–462] [463–454] [455–462] [467] [468–469]. I was not paid for this (and was doing paid consultancy work for other organisations at the time) but was working on the basis of the email and verbal agreement that if we were successful in raising funding I would become a Visiting Fellow for a year, with an associated consultancy contract and the explicit objective of developing a longer-term programme of work with funding.

18. We succeeded in raising funds from the Ford Foundation, whose Programme Director Rakesh Rajani said in an email on 28 September 2016 [474]]:

“We particularly appreciate the role CGD (and Maya) have played in insisting on an evidence informed approach”.

19. Rakesh Rajani offered funding for a year to enable CGD to advance work in the area.

“The first year would allow you to both test new ideas and ways of working with the others. Should this work and relationship be fruitful, our intention is to consider a larger multi-year renewal.”

20. This email was an informal “green light” that the grant would be approved (to which Vijaya emailed to me “All credit to you!”). This meant that she could go ahead with nominating me to be a Visiting Fellow.

21. The scope and aims of this were set out in a concept note [491–497] to the Ford Foundation. This was developed into the terms of reference attached to my contract [499–500], which stated that

“CGD is aiming to develop a significant program of work to strengthen the evidence base on tax and illicit flows…. This one-year project, with seed funding from Ford Foundation, aims [to] build the foundations for CGD to contribute to the debate with careful analysis of options for international business taxation, international financial centers, and the scope and limits of transparency solutions and to foster a more productive ecosystem of relationships between individuals and organizations working on these issues.”

November 2016: Visiting Fellow with a contract

22. Visiting Fellows are appointed for a year (renewable, as I later learnt, for up to three years). Each Visiting Fellow has a sponsor on staff who nominates them, and their appointment is agreed by the Strategy and Policy Group (SPG).

23. The term “Visiting Fellow” was used by CGD to cover affiliated individuals with “varying degrees of engagement” [332]. While some visiting fellows were academics or others with primary affiliations elsewhere, who were loosely linked to the organisation, others were researchers whose primary day-to-day work and affiliation was with CGD/CGDE, who act effectively as members of the team and have underlying consultancy contracts to provide remuneration for their work. This was particularly the case at CGDE at the time when I joined, as the organisation was small, still in start-up mode and struggling to hire senior staff. Thus there was a practice whereby some people were in effect paid visiting fellows, i.e. having the title and role of a visiting fellow, combined with consultancy contracts. This is reflected in minutes of the CGDE Board of Trustees from November 2016 [288]:

“CGDE has not been successful in recruiting new senior staff. In the meantime, CGDE has tried to spread overheads and create more diversity by: increasing CGDE roster of visiting and non-resident fellows, increasing our intellectual bench and profile”

24. My experience is that visiting fellows who were regularly present in the office, working on CGD/CGDE projects, and who were not on secondment or being paid by another organisation as part of their primary affiliation, were treated as integral members of the organisation, working alongside employees. They were not treated in the same way as external consultants, such as people commissioned to write a single paper.

25. A table of visiting fellows reflects this distinction between paid and unpaid visiting fellows, with columns showing which visiting fellows have offices (there are individual offices in the Washington DC office, but not in London), email addresses and salary. [420]

26. My visiting fellowship was of the type linked to funded work. I am shown on the list as having a salary. The visiting fellowship and funding were clearly linked and I was operating as a member of the CGD/CGDE team. The invitation for the visiting fellow in late 2016 was dependent on funding. If it had not been, I could have been appointed much earlier in 2016. And, of course, without funding there would not have been much point in the appointment, as I would not have been able to spend time working with CGD as I would have had to be earning a living elsewhere. Some visiting fellows also progress from this arrangement to become permanent staff.

27. On 12 October 2016 Vijaya Ramachandran emailed me [476] “You are on the management docket in 2 weeks (Tuesday October 25) for consideration to be a visiting fellow. I will let you know the outcome immediately after the management meeting.” On 8 November 2016 she emailed me [477] “The Management Committee unanimously agreed to make you a visiting fellow for the period of one year, effective immediately”. I now understand that the “Management Committee” referred to the SPG.

28. On 9 November 2016 I received the official notification from Amanda Glassman (Vice President for Programs and Director of Global Health Policy, who was also responsible for management of Visiting Fellows at that time) [481]. I was asked to submit a short biography and a photo for the website. The official letter encouraged me to “publish frequently on CGD’s website”. It said “we hope you will use your CGD affiliation as part of your CV and wherever else is appropriate”. It included the request “that you do not use your affiliation or publish with CGD where it might be a potential, ethical, legal, financial, or other conflict of interest, or perceived as such”. No other formal guidance was given.

29. On 10 November 2016, I received an informal welcome email from Vijaya Ramachandran. She encouraged me to “attend Thursday lunches in our London office whenever you wish… and plan to visit DC two or three times next year” using travel budget in the Ford grant. She also said that “For affiliation, just Center for Global Development is fine. We do not distinguish between the two offices, and have a single unified website”. [483]

30. I submitted a biography, drawing on the model of other CGD visiting fellows and staff. It included a link to my twitter account and to my personal blog. [487] I also added “visiting fellow @cgdev” to my personal Twitter bio, as other CGD staff and visiting fellows commonly do. I was included on @CGDev’s public list of “CGD Tweeters”. I was not given any specific advice about this or asked to change the tone or nature of my Twitter account.

31. One of the first things that was emphasised frequently was that CGD does not take institutional positions [277]. This is a strong part of CGD’s culture and it was communicated to me by both Vijaya Ramachandran and Owen Barder. It was (and still is) a disclaimer on every blog post on the website, for example [444], and in CGD policy reports. It was often mentioned by CGD staff and fellows on Twitter. It remained a guiding principle throughout my time at CGD. For example, on 5 and 6 February 2019 Holly Shulman (Communications Director), posted three tweets quoting CGD people about President Trump’s controversial nomination of David Malpass to lead the World Bank. In each case she followed up with a second tweet reminding that “CGD does not take institutional positions”.

32. Being published by CGD is prestigious in the international development field. CGD policy states that:

“Senior fellows, research fellows, senior policy analysts and other senior staff are encouraged to write for the CGD blog. These are people who have earned or who are earning a public reputation in their respective fields. CGD has a strong reputation and we closely guard who has the right to be published by CGD.” [428]

33. As a consultant working on a project, I had not been able to post single-authored blog posts in my own name, but had written several blog posts that were published as “joint” blogposts with CGD senior staff. The names of people who are not part of the CGD team but who jointly author content appear as plain text on the CGD website, whereas CGD team members have profile pages with a photo and biography, and their names appear as hyperlinks to “expert page” from wherever their work appears on the site. These links act as part of the site structure, linking together blogposts, media clippings and research papers by the same author and building up a consolidated public record of their work at CGD. During all the time that I worked with CGD, this included profile pages for alumni, where their bio and links to their work was maintained after the left. Once my profile was up on the website, I asked for my previous paper, and joint blogposts written before I had the status of visiting fellow, to be linked to my profile and they were.

34. Although I don’t think I was aware of this at the time, there was a meeting of the Trustees of CGD Europe on 10 November 2016 [288]. Several visiting fellows are listed with details of whether they are paid or unpaid and on what basis. I am listed as “Maya Forstater — proposed Visiting Fellow (likely to be paid half time, working with Vij on tax).

35. On 14 November 2016, I was welcomed and introduced to all CGD staff by Vijaya Ramachandran by email [488]. She mentioned my personal blog and my Twitter account, my work on international tax avoidance and evasion, and other topics. The introduction said “She is based in London and will be visiting the DC office in December.”

36. On 18 November 2016 [490] Vijaya wrote to me that the Ford grant paperwork had arrived in DC. “Once we execute the signing, we will issue a consulting contract to you as per grant TOR.”

37. On 12 December 2016 I signed a contract for the year. This contract was with CGD in the US (this was administratively simpler because the funds had been raised from Ford Foundation based in New York and were paid to CGD in the US). This contract was for me personally do to work, and I was expected to and did act as an integral part of CGD in doing that work, as I will describe. There was no possibility for me to substitute someone else; the clear expectation was that I would do the work.

38. Although my contract was administratively with CGD, it was understood that I would be based at CGDE, in the London office, which at the time was a very small team (around 5 people when I started). Before my appointment I discussed expectations, both on the content of my work and the practice of my working relationship with CGDE, with Owen Barder, CEO of CGDE, and with Vijaya Ramachandran of CGD. Owen Barder strongly encouraged me to spend time in the office in London, to be in the office on the team day of Thursday (this later changed to Wednesday) and to attend weekly CGDE team lunches, which were the only time the whole team were together each week.

39. I put the results of these discussions in writing on 4 December 2016 to make sure that they were clear: “As we discussed I will see this as an approximately 3 day/week role over the course of the year and will, if it works, aim to get into a rhythm of being in the office 1 or 2 days a week and taking part in CGD lunches.” [498] Our expectation was that if Vijaya and I were successful in securing funding for a longer-term project I would work on it as part of the team based in London.

40. From November 2017 [discussed in the hearing — this is a typo — it should say November 2016] to March 2019 I worked in the CGDE office regularly, first in Wilton Road, then in New Zealand House, then for a short period at Regus temporary offices in Trafalgar Square, and finally at the new permanent office in Abbey Gardens. During that time the London staff grew from around 5 to 30.

41. The terms of reference attached to my contract [499–500], included writing papers and blog posts for publication by CGD and other organisations, presenting at external events, co-hosting convenings and “work with CGD colleagues to lay the groundwork for a larger, multi-year project including input into strategy and fundraising processes”. In practice this would include media and social media communications, engaging with funders, and seeking to build the intellectual and reputational basis for CGD to develop a longer-term programme on tax and illicit financial flows. These sorts of activities are core functions of all senior research staff of the organisation (generally termed “Fellows” of some sort). My status as Visiting Fellow was therefore intimately linked to the work I was contracted to do which involved developing relationships and being presented as part of CGD. I could not have done this without an affiliation as a member of the team.

42. I was considered to be a core part of the CGDE team, working on a part-time basis, and I considered it my main job and affiliation. I was explicitly introduced to colleagues as being based at CGDE. In day-to-day practical terms I acted as a member of the CGDE team. I generally spent one or two days a week working in the office, including attending weekly team lunches, as well as working from home. I was given a CGD email address, business cards [501] access to CGD’s intranet (which covers CGD and CGDE) and CGDE’s “Slack” team communications channel. I was given a CGD software licence. I had a key card to the office and was able to book rooms and host meetings with guests, and to host formal CGD events. I attended the team Christmas party and summer away day. I had my photograph professionally taken by CGDE for the CGD website, which was not done for unpaid Visiting Fellows. In the CGD “Welcome Pack” for new employees I was named as part of “CGD Europe’s senior research team” [361]. I was consistently addressed and referred to by senior staff members as a “CGD Colleague”: e.g. [508] [539] [681] [1775].

43. Externally, I was presented as an integral part of the organisation. My photograph and biography were on the website and I published regularly on CGD’s website. When I wrote media articles I was specifically requested to include my CGD affiliation [546], and the organisation was happy for me to be referenced in the media as being “Maya Forstater, of the Center for Global Development” [834]. My work was included in CGD newsletters, where I was presented as a core member of the CGD team [537] [544].

CGD’s culture of open and robust discussion and debate

44. There was an explicit culture of open debate at CGD. People were encouraged to think independently, to disagree, to say why, and to engage with others inside and outside the organisation to test ideas. As authors of the essay [Building a Think and Do Tank]

“Thinking out loud is much easier with a two-way communications platform. Web, e-mail, Twitter, news media, and CGD events are all part of this approach.”

45. As a Visiting Fellow I published a range of blogposts on CGD’s website, relating to tax and illicit flows, and to other topics relevant to international development. The general process was that each member of the senior research staff (i.e. with blogging permission) was allocated to a member of the communications team, to whom they could submit the copy at any time. Communications staff would copy edit and send back any suggestions before agreeing the final version and posting it on the site. Informally, Fellows/Visiting Fellows would ask others for comments on drafts at an earlier stage (and I would comment on other people’s drafts when asked). Some of my blogposts were quite critical of other organisations, including NGOs and UN agencies. There was never any suggestion that they would not be published, or that the comms team had a veto on what Fellows published.

46. One example of this was in January 2017. I wrote a response to a piece in The Guardian and sent it to Vijaya with the request “Can you have a look /edit/ comment?”. She sent it on to Rajesh Merchandani, Vice President of Communications to take a look. Rajesh responded to me [502] “I’ve made some suggestions in track changes.” and sent me an email explaining them. He said “My suggested changes are of course just that: suggestions. The only one I would strongly urge you to take on board is to make your basic point early on and make the article as clear as possible.” This was characteristic of CGD’s approach to publishing fellows’ (including visiting fellows’) blogposts. The communications team, even the VP of Communications, would make reasoned suggestions but not dictate. There was another example of this in October 2017 (see paragraph 61).

47. On 28 January 2017, Martin Kirk, Director of an organisation called “The Rules”, wrote to Owen Barder to complain about me and Justin Sandefur, a staff member based in Washington DC, because we had been critical of another organisation in comments on Twitter. [504]

48. After conferring with me and with Vijaya, Owen wrote back to Martin Kirk defending my work robustly, and calling me a “CGD Colleague”. He set out the organisational approach:

“As an organisation we do not take an institutional position, and although there are many topics on which CGD staff agree, there are also many issues on which views among us differ. We do not collectively promote any ideas: individual scholars and researchers are free to publish their analysis and conclusions, provided that it is of high standard, transparent, and communicated in a way that is respectful of others. Everything I have seen of this work suggests that our standards of rigour, impartiality and courtesy have been met.” [509]

49. I continued to tweet about work with CGD, work with other organisations, and other matters of personal and public interest, including women’s rights. I also posted links to my work on LinkedIn, and occasionally give links and updates on Facebook. My tweets and personal blogging before and during my time at CGD also reflected my belief in feminism and interest in women’s rights and freedom of belief, for example: [433–434] [ 447–452].

50. While CGD overall had a culture of open debate, CGD Europe had a particular culture of informal, open discussion in the office. Its culture and practices were somewhat different from in Washington, where the office was much larger and more hierarchical. In Washington, staff were expected to be in the office from Monday to Friday, and junior staff had to ask for permission to work from home. It was a quiet working environment, with senior staff in glass-walled offices and junior staff in cubicles. Whenever I visited Washington, I was given an office to work in. In London the office (through several office moves) was open-plan in shared rooms without cubicles and with a mix of regularly occupied and “hot” desks. Staff were not required to be in the office apart from one day a week, and were free to work from home or elsewhere. It was understood that the value of being in the office was in talking to others. It therefore had a “chatty” culture, with the small staff of senior and junior staff often discussing topics related to their work, other organisations and political, topical and controversial issues. The office in Washington was much quieter, apart from in the large kitchen/dining area where there were informal conversations. (This description is also supported by Mark Plant’s email on 11 December 2018, when he wrote to the diversity and inclusion consultants QI with his impressions of the “CGDE way of life” — that it is informal with people sitting together in a few large rooms with “a lot of banter, both work-substantive and informal.” [1448])

51. Topics of general discussion at CGD Europe while I was there included Brexit, Donald Trump, party politics in general in the UK, Europe and the US, nationalism and patriotism, immigration, race and racism, religion, the monarchy, feminism and sex discrimination, corruption, sport, health and education. It was not an office where people were squeamish about talking about difficult, controversial or explicit topics. Owen, for example, had had a vasectomy and was an advocate of this as a form of contraception which should be considered more widely. He had blogged about this when he was a civil servant (and had been attacked in the Daily Mail at the time). Another example I remember was a discussion in 2019 about circumcision — there is some evidence that it provides a degree of protection against HIV transmission — and questions of whether infant circumcision should be undertaken as a preventative measure in countries with high HIV rates. Owen’s view, which he expressed, was that routine infant circumcision, including where carried out for religious reasons, should be outlawed and seen as a form of child abuse.

52. People also talked about politics, including demonstrations they had attended or were planning to attend, such as the anti-Trump women’s march in January 2017, and demonstrations on climate change or Brexit [604]. There were discussions about all of these topics, both within the weekly team lunches and more informally. There were periodic demonstrations and marches going on outside the office window which was opposite the Houses of Parliament in the run up to Brexit. Everyone in the London office was on the Remain side, some strongly and others less so, and there were frequent discussions about this, including shared concern about the lack of diversity of opinion and whether if a Brexiteer joined the staff they would feel welcome. Underlying these discussions was CGD’s organisational culture and commitment not to take institutional positions, encourage conformity or expect staff members to leave their political or personal views at home.

53. During my time at CGD Europe we moved through four offices (one was a temporary office). In each of the three main offices there were bookshelves and tables, and people brought in and shared literature, both physically and digitally, including books, pamphlets and conference materials they were reading, had been sent or given, or had picked up at events. In the last and largest office there was an open access “library” room. People also shared things they were reading on Slack and by email, as well as publicly on social media. The culture was of open exchange of ideas, and cross-fertilization between different areas of work and interest. There was no policy that digital or printed material shared with colleagues had to be vetted or could only come from certain sources, or must be directly related to current and funded projects you were working on.

Work and fundraising during 2017

54. On 31 January 2017, Vijaya asked me to write an outcomes report for the final portion of the Omidyar grant, which had funded my initial paper [512–516]. I did this and it was submitted to the funder. This is not something a contractor commissioned to write a single paper would normally be asked to do, but it reflected my evolving role. The outcomes reported included networking and external meetings with the charity ONE, the Department for International Development, the Minister of State for International Development, Bob Stack (US Treasury Senior Official), Tax Directors Forum and International Financial Centres Forum.

55. During 2017, I carried out the work that I was contracted to do in accordance with the description appended to my contract. I also continued work with other members of the team to secure longer-term funding for the programme. As part of the Ford funded project I managed external contractors on behalf of CGD, negotiating the terms of reference for, and managing the delivery of, the work of two external researchers, Alexandra Readhead and Annet Oguttu, for whose papers I wrote prefaces. These were finally published in 2018 [800] [1231].

56. The initial plan was that, following the first year, the Ford Foundation would be likely to offer a multi-year renewal to continue the work. The project proposal to Ford included a section on future funding:

“Currently, CGD has not sought any other funds for this work. We will use the grant from Ford to lay the groundwork for a multi-year project on tax policy and poor countries, with a focus on understanding the scope and impact of illicit financial flows. We aim to begin fundraising for this wider project in June 2017 when we [have] done more exploratory work to determine exactly what the research program will look like.” [497]

57. In spring 2017 Paddy Carter, an economist I had invited onto the advisory group for my first paper and had a good working relationship with, had begun discussions about joining CGD Europe staff team.

58. On 3 May 2017 Vijaya Ramachandran wrote to me:

“As you know, Vera and Rakesh [project officers at Ford] are very keen to have us submit a bigger proposal for funding starting January 2018. I have discussed this with our front office and we all agree that it makes sense for CGD Europe to host this grant (hopefully with Paddy on board). I want to run this by you before I discuss with Owen. First, do you want to do a grant with CGD/CGDE next year, running for two or three years? Second, OK if I move this to CGDE so you and Paddy would be on the proposal. Let me know your thoughts before I write to Owen.” [542]

59. I began discussing the prospect of appointment as CGD staff in more detail with Vijaya Ramachandran in October 2017. In an email to me [561] she stated:

“I raised the possibility of hiring you as a Research Associate in the London office. Owen is keen. It would be tied to new funding so we would have to wait till new funding comes through. Is this something you would be interested in?”

I told her that I was very interested and we discussed it, and agreed to revisit the staff appointment process once the funding came through (which at that point we hoped would be soon).

60. At this point I discussed my qualifications with Vijaya. While many CGD research staff have PhDs, this is not a rule (for example Owen Barder, Ian Mitchell, Mikaela Gavas, Masood Ahmed and Amanda Glassman do not have PhDs). However, it is unusual not to have a Master’s degree. I specifically discussed this with Vijaya Ramachandran. She said it was not a deal-breaker, since CGD was interested in impact, not credentials. She cited David Roodman (a celebrated previous Senior Fellow, who was “self-taught”, having only a Bachelor’s degree). At no time in the discussions that I had with CGD and CGDE senior management did anyone say that my lack of a PhD was a problem. Owen Barder, Vijaya Ramachandran and Masood Ahmed had all seen my CV and had discussed employment.

61. On 31 October 2017, there was another example of CGD’s culture around blogging. I was thinking about writing a blog post critical of another organisation in the field. I emailed Vijaya asking for advice. [564]. She responded “Lets ask Rajesh what he thinks..”. Rajesh emailed back with advice saying “Whether you blog about this or not I would encourage you to ask yourself this question…” He then set out the pros and cons either way and gave me some thoughts about presentation, I responded agreeing with some of his advice and disagreeing with other parts and setting out why and he responded to me. This was again (as with the blog post January 2017, as noted in paragraph 46) characteristic of CGD’s approach to publishing fellow’s opinions, with the communications team providing advice but not dictating.

62. In November 2017, I was told by Ford Foundation staff that they were undertaking a strategy review and that they would not make any imminent decisions about further funding. Vijaya and I also discussed a suspicion that they just did not want to fund this work because it disagreed with the dominant narrative being put forward by NGOs on the topic of tax and development [572]. On 17 January 2018 we heard from Rakesh Rajani (our main champion) that he was leaving the Ford Foundation [Email from Rakesh Rajani [604–605]

Renewal of visiting fellowship

63. On 28 September 2017, Vijaya Ramachandran asked me to remind her when my visiting fellowship had begun. I looked it up and forwarded her the email with the date “9th of September last year”. She responded: “OK I will renew this at the end of October” [559]. On 24 October 2017 she sent me a direct message “We just renewed your VF appointment” [562]. This process appeared to be a formality based on Vijaya’s nomination.

Close of the Ford Foundation grant

64. In January 2018 CGD submitted a final report to the Ford Foundation (covering the first year of my visiting fellowship). I drafted this report, in discussion with Owen Barder and Paddy Carter, and it was signed off by Amanda Glassman before it was sent to the Ford Foundation. It said:

“During the one year investment period, Visiting Fellow Maya Forstater (more recently joined by CGD Senior Fellow Paddy Carter) began to build a program of work to produce practical policy proposals in the area of international taxation and illicit financial flows, at the same time building increasingly strong networks and making inroads in enhancing the quality of the conversation between practitioners, researchers, campaigners and policy makers in these fields.” [611]


“During the year Maya has made numerous valuable contributions to the tax debates and produced very well-received papers synthesizing the issues and putting them in perspective.”

It said that my work:

“… forms the basis for CGD’s ongoing development of a longer-term program of research to explore the potential and path to policy implementation both revenue collection and the investment environment.”

In the section under Organizational or Management Challenges, it said:

“… since both Forstater and Carter are based in London it is planned that their future activities on this topic be carried out through CGD Europe, under the overall management of Owen Barder, while maintaining engagement with relevant colleagues in Washington DC.”

65. I received positive feedback on my work [595] and on external impacts from CGD senior staff, including CGD President Masood Ahmed and CGD Europe Vice President Owen Barder. I did not receive any indications that I was not meeting expectations.

66. I also received external recognition. For example, I was referenced in the Financial Times and The Economist, and was named as a member of the “Global Tax 50”. I gave talks to the World Bank and the IMF. In the course of 2017, I was published in the Guardian, Financial Times, Tax Journal and Tax Notes International, and had articles included in two books. I briefed Rory Stewart, as Minister for Africa, on tax and development, and presented at the OECD/IMF/World Bank/UN Global Platform on Collaboration on Tax first international conference.

67. Although my consultancy contract with CGD ended on 31 December 2017, I continued to work on the final outputs from the Ford Foundation funded contract into February 2018, when the report was launched, and beyond this on final editing of commissioned reports from two external contractors that I had managed.

68. In the event, because of the change of strategy and staff at the Ford Foundation, we did not manage to secure additional funding from them at the end of the year. On 26 January 2018 [608] Paddy and I started working with [Complainant 3], the new fundraiser working in London, and with Mark Plant, who I had first met when he was a visiting fellow based in London in 2017, and was now Director of Development Finance and a Senior Fellow in Washington, who was building a programme on Sustainable Development Finance.

Contracts to personally do work in 2018

69. I had two further contracts with CGDE. These were offered to me as a solution for funding my ongoing involvement with CGD/CGDE, because securing funding for longer-term work on tax and illicit financial flows was taking more time than we had hoped. Owen Barder suggested that, as a bridging solution, there was work that was already funded at CGDE that needed doing, and which I could do on a consultancy contract while we pursued longer-term funding options for my work on tax, and together we identified the projects I would work on. This reflected the nature of my overall relationship with CGD/CGDE, which I have already described above — i.e. that the whole point of my visiting fellowship was to provide a platform for my work on CGDE’s programmes and there was therefore an expectation that I would work with CGD to fundraise, and if successful would do that work. Mine was always intended to be, and always was, a working visiting fellowship linked to funding. This is why Owen Barder arranged this bridging solution, pending longer-term funding for the tax and illicit financial flows programme. This was very different from the relationship I had in 2015 as a purely external contractor for a single piece of work, and from the relationship of other external contractors who are commissioned to write single papers, but who do not develop relationships with the foundations that fund their work, and who work with CGD itself on a more transactional basis.

70. Owen discussed this with Masood as part of a discussion on ongoing staffing and funding at CGDE, and their understanding was recorded in an email sent by Masood on 2 March 2018 [646].

71. From March 2018 to May 2018, I was contracted by CGDE to undertake a piece of analysis feeding into the Commitment to Development Index, a CGD flagship product. There was no possibility that I could substitute someone else to do this work. This was an output-based contract with CGDE for payment of £4,000. I can see that the contract terms said that I could provide a substitute in the event of illness or injury, but in practice there was no expectation that I would and it was clear that I was expected to do this work personally. [247–258]

72. The major project I worked on at CGDE in 2018 was to co-lead a Working Group on Commercial Confidentiality and Open Contracts with Senior Fellow Charles Kenny (paid on a consultancy contract from April 2018 to the end of December 2018) [259–271]. In this role I was replacing Owen Barder (Director and CEO of CGDE), who was originally named in the project proposal to co-lead the Working Group, and working directly alongside CGD Senior Fellow Charles Kenny as a colleague.

73. This was a contract for 90 days’ work at £400 a day. It was a contract personally to do work, and I was acting as an integral part of CGD/CGDE. Again, there was no possibility in practice that I could send a substitute to do the work, despite the term in the contract providing for that in the event of illness or injury. There was clear subordination to CGD/CGDE in control of how this work was done and integration into the team, as is clear from the detailed description of the work appended included in the contract [259–271]. This is not a piece of work that could have been led by someone who was only acting as a consultant and it was a piece of work that made me very much part of the team. Fundraising for future project during 2018

74. During 2018 I continued to pursue various potential funders for CGD, including the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Department for International Development (DFID). I contributed my research ideas to funding discussions and proposals with others. The mutual expectation when I contributed to these project development processes was that if the funder agreed the grant, based on my ideas, my reputation and my CV, I would make myself available to CGD to do the project that we had developed together, and that CGD would employ me to do the work. Although this was not written down as a contract, it was a clear understanding which was communicated both to me and within CGD. As set out above, much of the relationship between CGD and me (and CGD and others) was relatively informal and without clear written terms; but was nevertheless entirely understood by all sides.

75. In undertaking this fundraising work, I worked with the fundraising team and had to comply with the guidance and instructions I was given, which will be apparent from the account that I give below, and examples of this can be seen at [599–600] [601–603] [675–676] [740–741]]. I was also explicitly told that I must not raise funds from private companies, particularly from tax and accounting firms, because of the perception or potential for conflict of interest, and that this applied both to funding for CGD and any other work I might undertake personally. [643]

76. On 5 April 2018, Owen Barder wrote to Rachel Turner at the UK government Department for International Development:

“I’m writing to ask if you and your team would consider financing our work on illicit financial flows and tax.

My colleague Maya Forstater has been doing some excellent work on this area… Her work is highly respected among many of the experts, and has had significant impact, but unfortunately it is regarded with suspicion by some of the NGOs who campaign on these issues (and, in our view, exaggerate the problem and the opportunities that follow from tackling it)…

But we have had difficulty securing funding for our work. The foundations who are interested in this area are mainly funding the campaigning NGOs, and are not enthusiastic about financing us to take this more nuanced and evidence-led approach…

So I’ve got a great researcher, with an agenda of important work, and at the moment I haven’t been able to finance it. (Maya is currently working on something else for us while we try to get funding for this but that will run out fairly soon.)” [680–681]

77. In 2018 CGD was undergoing some reorganisation. On 13 April 2018, [Complainant 3] emailed Amanda Glassman in Washington to update her on our fundraising efforts [676]. Amanda responded, saying that my work should now come under the new Sustainable Development Finance programme that Mark Plant was developing. Although I knew and liked Mark (having got to know him when he was a visiting fellow based in London) I was concerned about this. I wrote to Owen expressing my disappointment at this as it felt like a layer of bureaucracy being added. He responded “Maya — I’m sorry this is frustrating but I have a feeling that by wrapping this up with other CGD work, we may be more likely to succeed. Apart from some delay, I don’t think there is a downside”.

78. I continued to work on pursuing the prospect for funding with DFID [678], meeting with their tax team and pitching to them in May 2018 [721–723] and sending them an updated version of my concept note based on this discussion in June 2018 [731–737]. This was in collaboration with [Complainant 3] and the Institutional Advancement team in Washington.

79. Around this time my main point of contact in Washington DC switched from being Vijaya Ramachandran to Mark Plant, and I sent Mark my concept note and he sent me the one he was working on. Mine was about the interaction between the international tax system (such as tax treaties) with developing country taxation, whereas his was about domestic tax policies in African countries. It would involve research and a series of roundtables with finance ministers. We agreed that the two research agendas were complementary and that my work should form part of the wider DRM (domestic resource mobilisation) programme that Mark was raising funds for.

80. During the week of 12 June 2018, I was in Washington for meetings at the World Bank (on a separate project, outside of CGD), but I also spent time in CGD’s offices. Amanda Glassman asked if I would meet with Vishal Gujadhur at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We had a good meeting and he was enthusiastic about my work. Following the meeting I sent him the concept note for the work I was looking to lead in London. I said:

“Although it has developed somewhat separately from Mark, Sanjeev and Antoinette in DC they are complementary and elements of both could be combined into a programme of work.” [772]

81. After meeting with Vishal, I met with Amanda Glassman at the CGD offices in Washington and we discussed elements of my concept note being integrated into the proposal to the Gates Foundation that Mark Plant was developing, while also pursuing funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) who were also interested, and were keen on co-funding work with the Gates Foundation.

82. At the same time as these fundraising efforts were ongoing, I worked on the two projects I was contracted for, spent time each week in the office, contributed to the work of others [738–739], attended CGD lunches and other events and meetings, wrote blog posts on the platform (both on tax and on other topics [700–702]), contributed to hosting meetings and presented at external events as a CGD Visiting Fellow. This can be seen for example in a list of things that I had done in my capacity as visiting fellow, which I put together in response to a request from [Complainant 3] for some information to provide to a funder [812].

83. On 15 June 2018, Ian Mitchell sent an update on CGD Europe’s work to the SPG. I was referred to as a member of the CGD Europe team (there are 17 team members, which includes both me and Mikaela Gavas, who was also a paid visiting fellow) [787–771].

84. On 31 July 2018, I received an email [814] and updated version of the Gates Foundation concept note from Mark Plant. The proposals for work on tax from my concept note had been integrated as a section within a larger funding proposal also involving staff in Washington DC. At this stage the proposal was for three years’ funding.

85. The expectation that I would be employed if funding was secured for my work on tax was widely socialised within CGDE and with the SPG. For example, in CGDE’s 2019 Budget Overview presented to Masood Ahmed and the SPG in July 2018 [343] it was stated “if funding permits, we propose to take on Maya Forstater to take forward work on tax and transparency”.

86. In July 2018 the SPG considered options for structuring CGDE’s relationship with CGD. I am included in the team in the various options that were presented. [714–716]

87. Over the summer I contributed to the development of drafts of this proposal, which were discussed on an ongoing basis with Vishal Gujadur at the Gates Foundation. The proposal later went down to two years overall.

88. I asked to be employed on a 90 percent basis, rather than full-time, as I had one external project I wanted to continue to work on. [831] This request was noted by Mark Plant and he said that he would seek to fund 50 percent of my time from the Gates Foundation: “We’d then look to DFID or other sources to bring you up to 90 percent. And my understanding is that with 50 percent funding we could discuss bringing you on as a staff-member fellow rather than a visiting fellow.” [830]

89. My understanding of the reason why my whole salary was not included in the overall proposal to the Gates Foundation (which was over $1m a year to CGD) was because CGD also wanted to win funding from DFID, who were also interested in my work, and to build a larger proposal co-funding CGD’s work on tax with Gates. (As Amanda said in an email to the Institutional Advancement team on 31 October 2018: “we are interested in adding DFID to form a funding consortium in these areas” [1235]). There was also interest in CGD work on tax from AFD (the French Government Development Agency). Having me only part-funded by Gates would mean I could also be part of proposals to these other funders as set out by Mark in response to a question by Vishal from Gates [1181].

90. On 20 August 2018, Mark emailed me [836] to confirm that, following a discussion with Vishal saying that we would seek funding for two years for 50 percent of my time from Gates and setting out my work as a third component of the proposal. On 23 August 2018, Mark emailed me to confirm the activities to be included in the grant [849].

91. The proposal for two years of funding on Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) was submitted to the Gates Foundation on 29 August 2018. [858–859] This included the international tax system work that I had developed, which was integrated as “workstream 3”. In the proposal I am listed in the section under “personnel” and with the grant to cover 50 percent FTE for me for two years, with 85,000 USD budgeted per year (there is a separate section of proposal for consultants; I was not written into that section). I am named as a “visiting fellow” in the proposal using the bio cut and paste from the website, which reflected my current title at the time.

92. With this kind of funding proposals (like the earlier Ford Foundation grant) the proposal is informally agreed with the funder before it is finally submitted. Mark Plant said in an email to the team on 30 August 2018 [858–859]: “We’ll probably need to do another round of changes but I have every expectation this should go through”. Therefore, from the beginning of September 2018, I had the expectation that the grant would be agreed and that I would be brought on as staff, as I had discussed with Vijaya, Mark and Owen since October 2017.

93. During September 2018 I mentioned to Owen that my second visiting fellowship would formally run out in November; that I had originally been nominated by Vijaya Ramachandran but was no longer working closely with her; and that I was worried that we would not complete the agreement of the funding for me to become staff by then. Owen said not to worry, that he could nominate me and I could continue as a visiting fellow until funding was secured.

94. In an email conversation on 26 September 2018, Amanda Glassman of CGD mistakenly requested that I submit a Fellow’s report for compilation and delivery to the CGD board (something that senior research staff are required to do). When I responded I didn’t think I needed to, Amanda Glassman responded: “You are right, no need to do (yet — hopefully next year!)” [974]. She also responded to a query from Ian Mitchell re Mikaela Gavas (who was in a similar position to me as a paid visiting fellow pursuing employment) and added “also should not have included Maya for this round.” [976]

95. I also worked with Charles Kenny to develop plans for a further funding for an extension of our “commercial confidentiality” project and liaised with our project officer Laura Bacon at the Omidyar Network (renamed Luminate) over this additional funding. [1433], [1684–1686], [1764]

96. The success of CGD in securing the Gates Foundation grant, including the workstream I had developed, was the final outcome of my work and the offer that Vijaya Ramachandran had made to me in 2017 — did I want to be included in a three-year grant for a project with CGD (to be managed by CGDE)? I would not have contributed my time and my ideas to the various proposals and discussions we had with funders, which eventually culminated in the Gates Foundation grant being approved for 2019 and 2020 (as well as the Omidyar/Luminate Grant being extended for 2019), if there was not an expectation and an understanding that CGD would employ me to do the work. I understood from what had been said to me that they had undertaken to do that; and CGD would not have been able to submit proposals to funders which included my CV, and with my name against a particular role, if it did not have a reasonable expectation that I was willing and available to fulfil that role. I strongly doubt that it would have been successful in securing the funding, had it indicated to the potential funders that there was no expectation that I and other personnel who were named on the proposal, but were not yet permanently employed, would be willing and able to perform the work. It certainly did not communicate this risk to the potential funders.

97. For example, in the Gates Foundation proposal there is a section on “Risk Mitigation” which asks “describe any significant risks to the success of this project and how you plan to address them”. [841]. CGD does not say in this form that there is any significant risk that it would not offer the work to the named personnel on the proposal, or that it might not be interested in undertaking the work. The existence of this mutual obligation, and the work I and other named personnel put into developing the proposal, formed the basis for CGD’s ability to raise funding.

Discussion of all-male panels

98. On 5 March 2018, after receiving a general staff invite, I attended an internal meeting on promoting gender equality both in our workplace and the development community more broadly. [648]. The discussion was hosted by CGD Fellow Cindy Huang, with “special guest” Alice Evans. Alice is a lecturer at King’s College London and was a friend of mine.

99. I attended (virtually from home — the meeting was hosted in DC with several staff attending virtually from London). The discussion was about recruitment and promotion of more female staff. CGD had a greater proportion of female researchers at the junior staff level, while Senior Fellows were a greater proportion of men, and there was a feeling of frustration amongst many of the female staff. There was discussion of the broader culture whereby female researchers and economists are viewed as “difficult” if they disagree with established viewpoints, whereas men are celebrated for challenging orthodoxies.

100. One of the topics of discussion was promoting female speakers at events and whether CGD should adopt a policy of avoiding all-male panels, or “manels”. This is a personal commitment that had been popularised in the development sector by Owen Barder. He had made a personal public pledge in 2015 not to agree to speak on “manels” at conferences, and to encourage the conference organisers to include a woman. This had become known as the “Owen Barder Pledge” and he had set up a website where other men could sign up to it. The “manels” pledge was not CGD policy, and there were different views on it within CGD. At the meeting it was discussed whether CGD should adopt this as an organisational policy.

101. I mainly listened at this meeting, as did the others dialling in from London. While the language of “gender” was used, this appeared to be simply a synonym for sex, and a reflection of American English. The talk was of men and women, male and female. There was no discussion of sex being a spectrum, or unimportant. An ad hoc group was set up to continue discussions. [657]

102. On 22 June 2018 a memo was sent round from this group with Updates on CGD Gender Equality Efforts. Although it used the word “gender”, there was no indication that it was not referring to sex. It noted, for example, that about 65% of the staff at lower-to-mid levels were women, while 36% of upper-level staff are women. Analysis found that the average woman employed by CGD DC earns 76 percent of the amount earned by the average man (the figure is 71 percent in CGD Europe). [787–791]

103. A US consultancy, Quantum Impact, was contracted to undertake an assessment of CGD’s culture and processes, and to provide a series of diversity and inclusion training workshops in Washington and London.

Starting to engage on the gender self-identification debates

104. The longstanding agreement and plan to continue to work with and become a full member of staff at CGD, conditional on the success of our fundraising efforts, only came into question after I started to tweet about the topic of sex and gender on my personal Twitter account.

105. During the latter half of 2017 and into 2018 I had been reading about sex and gender identity, and about the UK government’s proposal for “gender self-ID” reform to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, with increasing concern. The date when I started paying serious attention was 17 September 2017. A video was circulating of Maria MacLachlan, a 60-year-old feminist, who was pushed to the ground and punched in the face by a tall, young male person advocating for “trans rights” at Speakers’ Corner. I watched the video in which the woman was clearly attacked, and then others where she was accused of being the attacker and the feminist protesters were labelled as TERFs (“Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists)”. This appeared to me to be a clear example of male violence against a woman being obscured through changes of language. The attacker (who was said to self-identify as a woman, but looked every bit like a young man) was later found guilty of assault, but Maria was reproached by the judge for referring to her attacker as “he” when describing the assault as a witness for the prosecution.

106. I set up a private Twitter “list” of people making arguments in this debate so I could read their posts without publicly following the accounts. I was particularly concerned about the impacts of proposed legislative changes on women and girls. I read extensively around the topic and had private conversations. I was concerned about the issue from the perspective of UK public policy, but I also considered the issues in relation to international development organisations.

107. I was aware from following the debates on Twitter and in the media that this was a controversial topic on which there were strong emotions. I took my time in making sure that I understood the issue and could articulate my own position. I also understood that if I spoke publicly about it, I would attract criticism; nevertheless I felt increasingly strongly about the issue of the political erasure of sex in favour of gender identity, and about the silencing and attacks on the reputation of women who spoke out. Although I knew I would be criticised if I started writing and posting about the topic, I did not think that the criticism would come from within CGD, which had a strong culture of enabling debate and discussion, and which had recently been discussing the position of women in public debates.

108. On 3 July 2018, the UK government’s consultation on gender self-ID opened, with a deadline of 19 October 2018, and the degree of public discussion on the issue increased and became more focused. But I still did not have the courage to tweet about the issue.

109. On 15 August 2018, Alice Evans (an academic who had presented at the CGD internal workshop on 5 March gender and was a friend) posted a multiple-choice question on Twitter. It was about definitions around gender, sex and sexual orientation and whether sex is a spectrum. We had a public exchange of tweets about it. As we had several mutual followers amongst CGD staff, they would have been likely to see this.

110. After this discussion I began to retweet the occasional tweet about the ongoing UK government consultation on the Gender Recognition Act.

111. On 2 September 2018 I started a Twitter thread on sex and gender for the first time, posting a series of tweets [875] highlighting the UK government consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act and stating my position that:

“radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept, and will undermine women’s rights & protections for vulnerable women & girls.

Some transgender people have cosmetic surgery. But most retain their birth genitals. Everyone’s equality and safety should be protected, but women and girls lose out on privacy, safety and fairness if males are allowed into changing rooms, dormitories, prisons, sports teams.”

112. I included a link to a guide to the consultation produced by the organisation “Fair Play for Women” [The booklet].

113. Around this time there was a change of leadership at CGD Europe. On 24 September 2018 Owen Barder sent an email to all staff at CGD Europe welcoming Mark Plant as interim Chief Operating Officer of CGD Europe [909]. This was quickly followed by an email from Masood Ahmed making the same announcement. [910] He announced that Mark Plant would be relocating temporarily to London as the Interim Chief Operating Officer for CGDE. Mark arrived in London that week and took up the acting role of COO, although he was only officially appointed on 3 December 2018. I understood from discussions in the office later that Owen did not know about this change until the day before it was announced, and Mark arrived the next day. After this Owen spent less time in the office, and was less present as a decision-maker, although he remained nominally CEO and Director of CGDE until he left in May 2019.

Manels discussion on Twitter

114. On 20 September 2018, Credit Suisse tweeted “Congratulations to Pips Bunce on being listed on the Top 100 Female Executives list in the 2018 @HeroesinB @FT champion of #WomeninBusiness #FTHERoes18”, together with a split picture of a man in a suit and the same man in a pink dress and a wig. [tweet] Feminists on Twitter tweeted that it was insulting to women to give an award for women in business to a man who is a part time cross-dresser.

115. I followed the Twitter discussion and read the news stories that followed. In the Times it was reported [Sunday Times]:

“Philip Bunce, who is married with two grow-up children, typically spends half his time as Philip and half as his female alter ego, Pippa. He says he is ‘gender fluid’ and ‘non-binary’.

In previous interviews, Mr Bunce described climbing the career ladder as a man and waiting until he was ‘very established’ and ‘quite senior’ at the investment bank before starting to cross-dress at work four years ago.”

116. I thought it was inappropriate of the FT to give an award for women in business to a man who likes to cross-dress at work. While people should be free to wear what they like (within professional boundaries), a man who likes to wear women’s clothing is not, by any definition, a woman. Mr Bunce did not even claim to be a woman. In his Twitter profile he described himself as a “Proud Father & Husband.” [901] I felt that the FT was mocking and demeaning women and the issue of sex discrimination by including Bunce in the list.

117. However, I also thought it was a good opportunity to ask a question which might get people who follow me on Twitter thinking about the issue of sex and gender by asking a personal, practical question. So on 25 September 2018 I tweeted with a screenshot of the Credit Suisse tweet:

“I’ve got a Q for my male twitter friends who have pledged not to appear on all male panels — if u were invited on a panel w Pip Bunce — one of FT’s top 100 female champions of women in biz & another guy would u say yes or call the organisers & say sorry i don’t do #manels?” [912]

118. This question led to conversational threads that ran on for over a week, with people discussing the definition of woman, and in what circumstances people should view, or be compelled to act as if they view, a male person as a woman. These conversations were mainly with people in my wider professional networks, including some CGD alumni as well as strangers. Only one CGD staff member (Arthur Baker) commented. Paddy Carter (who had left in April 2018) took part in these discussions, as did Alice Evans.

[All the twitter threads]

119. As part of these threads, on 25 September 2018 one woman asked me “Maya, are you saying that transwomen are not women? I’m a bit confused…”. I said “Yes I think that male people are not women. I don’t think being a woman/female is a matter of identity or womanly feelings. It is biology. People of either sex should not be constrained (or discriminated against) if they don’t conform to traditional gender expectations”. [920]

120. I also tweeted, on 28 September 2018, as part of this discussion:

“Yes people should of course be able to define their identity any way they like. But other people are not compelled to accept it as relating to any material reality. It is not possible to identify into the sex: woman. But you can identity your gender as woman (or whatever)….” [921]

121. Around this time, I started working on a draft article about the questions around sex and gender, working with Jonathan Glennie, a friend who also works in international development.

122. On the morning of 26 September 2018, I attended a demonstration at Westminster Magistrates Court before going to the office at 11am. This was a silent protest in support of two women who were being prosecuted for malicious communications for making a speech and broadcasting from a feminist event about the push for Gender Recognition Act reform. The speech referred to the events of September 2017, when Maria MacLachlan had been attacked at Speakers Corner. One of the defendants was Linda Bellos OBE, who had said in the subsequent meeting that she would defend herself if need be. A private prosecution was being brought by a trans activist who had seen the livestream and was offended. (Two months later, the CPS took over the prosecution and discontinued it. [article]) The demonstration was also, in effect, a demonstration against the proposal for self-ID, and for the ability to debate it. There were women there with banners from grassroots groups such as Woman’s Place UK, Standing for Women, Fair Play For Women and the Lesbian Rights Alliance. I came back from the demonstration with a hard copy of the Fair Play For Women booklet that I had posted on Twitter on 2 September 2018.

123. After I arrived at work, I mentioned to the colleagues in the room I was working in that I had been to a demonstration against the government’s proposal for legal self-ID, and I had an informal conversation with those in the room (as I recall this included Mikaela Gavas, [Complainant 3], Ian Mitchell and Euan Richie). I mentioned the government consultation and I said I would leave the booklet in case anyone wanted to read it. No one expressed concern to me about raising the issue.

124. I also posted a message on CGDE’s Slack forum (the internal communications channel for CGDE). This is an informal forum with channels that are used not only for work related messages but also for sharing general interest/current affairs and personal news. People post such things as holiday and family photos, sporting events, meetings, lectures and demonstrations they have taken part in, as well as things they are reading. I posted a photo of me standing beside one of the banners at the demonstration [973]. My message was along the lines of “I’ve just been out holding up a banner for women’s rights and against gender self-ID, happy to chat if anyone wants to know more.” I do not have a copy of this message, as the Slack channel it was on was later deleted/archived in a general clean-up, but that is the gist of what I said.

125. Following on from this, I had one detailed private Slack conversation [978–980] with a staff member, Arthur Baker, who initiated the conversation in response to my open invitation to discuss the topic bilaterally. There was also brief discussion over lunch about the issues sparked off by my tweets my tweets.

126. I did not know this at the time, but I later learnt that the conversation about Phillip Bunce had got attention in the Washington DC office and that at least two staff member went to see Luke Easley (Director of Finance and Administration, which included responsibility for HR) about my tweets.

Discussions in Washington

127. Apparently there was a discussion on Friday 28 September 2018. A handwritten note by Luke Easley [982–983] says:

“[Complainant 1]
Maya tweets transphobic
Not comfortable exclusive
Gender/ gender identity/ sex
Feels problematic for funders
IA team [Complainant 2] discussed

· EM

· MP

· AG

· Holly

Policy handbook

128. “IA Team” refers to the Institutional Advancement team. This was the term used in CGD for fundraising — management of grant applications and reporting to foundations and public bodies. The IA Team worked across UK and US offices. [Details on complainant 1 and 2] EM is Ellen Mackenzie (Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Administration, also a trustee of CGDE and member of the SPG). MP is Mark Plant. AG is Amanda Glassman (Vice President for Programs, Director of Global Health Policy, also a trustee of CGDE and member of the SPG). Holly is Holly Shullman (Communications Director, now the most senior member of the communications team as Rajesh had left).

129. On Saturday 29 September 2018, I noticed that Masood Ahmed, President of CGD, had liked one of my tweets [985], which I thought was encouraging. I did not know at the time, but according to internal emails Masood Ahmed said that he liked my tweet by mistake while reviewing my tweets.

130. On Sunday 30 September, Holly emailed [Complainant 1], saying: “Omg. So many more from maya” and “removing her from CGD tweeters for now”. CGD tweeters was a public list of CGD tweeters maintained by @CGDev [986]. I was not told I had been removed from the list. [Complainant 1] replied saying she had flagged it to Amanda as well on Friday.

131. I later learnt from the disclosure process that there was apparently a second meeting with Luke Easley on Monday 1 October 2018. [982]. The second note reads:

“[Complainant 2]— [Complainant 3]
→ Twitter says “CGD” and CGD Papers
“Not CGD” also very uncomfortable
Talk to CH?
How can she work on funding that might include MF as consultant?”

[Detail on Complainant 3]. CH is Cindy Huang (Senior Policy Fellow).

132. I also later learnt from the Respondents’ disclosure that at 10:29 (DC time) on 1 October 2018, Luke Easley sent an email to Holly Shulman, Ellen Mackenzie, and Amanda Glassman, headed “Maya Forstater issue” and saying that “a cohort of associate staff” had come to him “this morning” voicing concerns that I was expressing transphobic viewpoints on Twitter, although he believed I was making a nuanced argument that while he might not agree, did not seem to be offensive or inappropriate. [990]

133. Four minutes later Amanda Glassman responded, also copying in Mark Plant and Masood Ahmed, agreeing with this assessment, and asking Masood how to proceed “or whether to leave it”. [992] Masood responded, saying he had a look and suggesting “a broader discussion about how we use social media as CGD fellows”. [993]

134. Luke Easley then responded [994], with points about a potential social media policy and said maybe we ask everyone to add the customary “my tweets are my own …” disclaimer. And we can respond to the associate staff that while we recognize disagreement over viewpoints, nothing here crosses the line to hate speech, discriminatory language, etc.”

135. Mark Plant also responded [992] noting there was some discussion over lunch of this issue in the European office as a result of these tweets. He said: “I don’t think her argument (as I understand it, and I don’t have the patience to go through all the posts) is inherently transphobic. It is more an argument about the meaning of words, although the transgender community is very sensitive to the use of words.” He said he was unsure about what to do, but suggested that “at least we should raise her colleagues concern about her tweets”.

136. Holly Shulman replied, saying that there was a draft social media policy which she was happy to send around. She also said that she would like to chat to Farah [Mahesri, a consultant at Quantum Impact a consultancy undertaking diversity and inclusion training for CGD] about this, “because this does seem to be an attack on a group of people based on their identity”. [997]

137. Following a side email from Luke in which he appears to give Holly permission for this [11:06] the emails show Holly emailing Farah to set up a call, saying that “one of the fellows is tweeting a bit about her impressions/views of the trans community. lt’s upsetting some staff but leadership thinks it’s okay.” [999]

138. Holly then sent an email entitled “tweets in one place” to Farah Mahereshi [1002–1011] copying in Luke. It includes a selection of screenshots of tweets from conversational threads taken out of context. They include some on blue and some on white backgrounds (which is a feature of how an individual is looking at twitter).

[“All the tweets” email attachment]

139. Holly replied to Luke’s email that nothing here crosses the line to hate speech, discriminatory language saying [1000]:

“I totally understand where everyone is coming from. But insert the word gay or African American into some of those tweets and I’m not sure how it would really be different. It probably is but I can’t tell how.”

140. Similarly, later, on 4 February 2019 [1744], Mark wrote in an email revealed in disclosures that he wasn’t sure that he agreed with an analysis condemning me “until I substituted the word “gay” for “trans” — and it made sense.”

141. I was never shown these comments or given any opportunity to respond to them. This comparison with race and sexual orientation is not helpful in understanding my belief or critiquing it; rather it obscures understanding. I do not believe that human beings can change sex, or that being a man or a woman is an identity. I think it is important to be able to talk about sex when it matters. I use the word “woman” in its ordinary meaning of “adult human female”. Someone who is male and transgender may have a strong identification with “being a woman” as they perceive it, but this is not the same as being female. Recognising this is not a slur or a denial of that person’s strongly felt identity, or a dismissal of that person’s human rights (it is not even a demand to always refer to them by their sex or a lack of sympathy with them). This is in contrast with the view that “trans women are women”; that is, that a male person who identifies as a woman is a woman and should always be referred to as a woman. Substituting the words “gay” or “African American” into this is a meaningless exercise, because being gay or black is not a claim to be something else. Debates about whether male people should be allowed to play in women’s sports or housed in women’s prisons are not illuminated by substituting the word “gay” — there is no suggestion that gay males should be in women’s sports or spaces.

142. Disclosures also show Sarah Allen (a member of the communications team) emailing to Holly Shulman [1012] an email titled “ugh” linking to one of my tweets in a discussion about the definition of woman [tweet] and saying: “This is going to hell in a handbasket…” Holly replies “omg”, and Sarah said: “I don’t understand how she hasn’t taken any class/lecture/whatever on gender and society that discussed on sex v. gender…this is a dumb and transphobic semantics debate. One of the few times I wished I had a Twitter…”

143. At 10:49pm UK time on 1 October 2018, I tweeted in response to a comment on my “Bunce” thread from someone raising the parallel with race and posting a link to an article about Rachel Dolezal (a white woman who identified as black who had faced criticism and been featured in the media). I responded:

“I honestly don’t see the difference between Rachel Dolezal’s internal feeling that she is black and a man’s internal feeling that he is a woman (ie adult human female). Neither has basis in material reality.” [1014]

144. Just after I tweeted that, Holly responded to Masood, saying that that she and Luke had caught up with Farah Mahesri, and noting that “the tweets continue” — she linked to my Twitter timeline [1015]. She attached a draft social media policy and suggested some questions for discussion about its application, reiterating CGD’s policy of “staff holding independent views”.

145. Later that evening, 20:08 DC time, Farah sent a 14-page review of my tweets to Holly and Luke [1018–1031]. I did not see it until the disclosure process. I was not aware of this review and never had a chance to respond to it. In this it set the tone for the other reviews that would follow.

[The first review — email ]

146. The 14-page review includes several screenshots of tweets that were part of longer conversations, presented without this context. Some are tweets that were included in Holly’s pack of screenshots, others are different. They are all but one on white background with timestamps showing 28, 29 and 30 September 2018. A single one at the top with a blue background has a time stamp of “27 minutes ago”, which is my tweet in response to the comment about Rachel Dolezal. I do not know who originally took these screenshots, or how they were selected and compiled. I did not see the compilation of tweets until the disclosure process.

147. At 20:27 DC time, Luke replied to Holly, Masood, Amanda, Ellen and Mark, suggesting telling me that my language is making some of the staff uncomfortable [1034]. He said he had changed his mind from his earlier assessment of my tweets and now viewed my language as “problematic in word and tone”. He said “we all must be mindful of using inflammatory language (we can give examples — in one tweet she says a ‘man’s internal feeling that he is a woman has no basis in reality’).”

148. At 21:40 DC time [1036] Luke sent a “Quick note of gratitude” to Holly saying

“Thanks for your thoughtful pause on the Maya issue. I read only about 25% of the tweets before making up my mind they were fairly innocuous but upon closer inspection, prompted by you, I now see they clearly are not. Lesson learned, and my thanks to you.”

Email re: your recent tweets

149. The next morning, 2 October 2018, Luke sent a draft email to me to Ellen Mackenzie, Amanda Glassman, Mark Plant, Holly Shulman and Masood Ahmed for comment. [1038]. Luke wanted me to “publicly acknowledge via a follow up tweet that your position does differ from that of CGD” and that “some of the language used was regrettable.” The example of me stating that “a man’s internal feeing that he is a woman has no basis in reality” was cited as being an example of something that I had said that was “problematic” as it could be “inflammatory or exclusionary”.

150. In the email discussion Amanda and Mark expressed concern about directing people’s views expressed on social media, and about whether policing my social media expression would be inconsistent compared to statements made by Owen and Lant [1040] and [1043] additional disclosure]. Lant is Lant Pritchett, a well-known and respected male CGD Senior Fellow. Mark asked “Did we make them state that their position was not CGDs? Are we applying a different standard to Maya than to our more ‘powerful’ (and male) colleagues?”. In my tweets I had not referred to CGD policy at all, but to the personal commitments made by individuals not to speak on men only panels.

151. On 2 October 2018 I received the final version of this email direct from Luke, saying “Several staff have expressed concern about some of the language and tone in your recent engagement on Twitter” and asking me to put a disclaimer on my tweets. [1050] I did not realise it had come from a committee. Nor did I have any idea that an external organisation had already completed a 14-page review of my tweets. I assumed that the email came, as it said, from Luke, on his own initiative.

152. I complied with Luke’s request to add a disclaimer to my Twitter bio and I replied to Luke by email, copying in Masood and Amanda (because they were mentioned in his email) and Owen [1052]. I explained that I would continue to tweet about the issue as it is a live policy question where clarity and debate are needed. I said:

“The definition of women and the way that sex based rights and protections for women and girls and the rights and protections of gender non-conforming males are both secured is a live policy issue, including for the development sector, and one where clarity and debate is needed. However there has been a strong push for ‘no debate’ with little consultation and the insistence that people pledge to the belief that ‘transwomen are women’.

· Twitter does not allow for very nuanced statements, and discussions move fast. I stand by my statement that a man’s internal feeling that he is a woman has no basis in material reality — i.e. they do not in any way make him a woman. Gender identity and sex are two different things and a person cannot literally change sex. This do not mean that people’s internal feelings are not their real feelings, or that the condition of gender dysphoria is not genuine (similarly an anorexic person’s feeling that they are overweight does not have a basis in the material reality about the state of their body. Anorexia is nevertheless a serious condition).

· The policy question of whether it is right for male people to self-identify into women’s spaces cannot simply be judged on a one-way axis of inclusion, since it also [affects] the safety and inclusion of women and girls. Single sex spaces are critical for women to access education and to be safe in the public sphere. Changing the nature of programmes, clubs and sports from single sex to mixed sex (but single gender) will also negatively [affect] women. The idea that being female relates to having a “feminine personality” or to expressing traditionally feminine styles of dress is something that I find offensive and regressive.”

153. I disagreed with the characterisation of my tweets as offensive:

“I have been told that it is offensive to say ‘transwomen are men’ or that wom[a]n means ‘adult human female’. However since these statements are true I will continue to say them. Yes the definition of females excludes males (but includes women who do not conform with gendered norms). Policy debates where facts are viewed as offensive are dangerous. I would of course respect anyones self-definition of their gender identity in any social and professional context; I have no desire or intention to be rude to people.”

154. I said:

“I have had several informal online and live conversations with individual colleagues in London (including where we have agreed to disagree), and am happy to engage with anyone in DC who is interested in discussing philosophical, empirical or policy questions.”

155. I should make clear that when I said I “have been told that it is offensive to say ‘transwomen are men’”, I was not referring to anyone at CGD having told me that, but to more general statements. I do not agree that this is an offensive statement. Because I believe that sex and gender identity are different things, to me the statement that “transwomen are men” is a statement of fact. It does not carry any implied judgment about transwomen or their gender identities, and in particular it does not mean or imply that their subjective feelings about their gender identity are not their true feelings — only that they are something different from the material reality of biological sex.

156. I recommended an article by Professor Kathleen Stock, “Why self-identification should not legally make you a woman”, which had been published by The Conversation, a website that publishes articles for the general public written by academics, on 1 October. [article]

She also pointed to the example of Philip Bunce to illustrate the definitional questions about what is a woman, and to policy questions about single-sex services:

“It seems clear that woman-only spaces such as changing rooms, hostels, and prisons should be organised according to sex category, not self-assigned gender. Transwomen are biologically male. Studies show that most retain male genitalia. Many have a sexual orientation towards females. If we think there are good reasons to retain same-sex spaces generally, in terms of protecting females from a small number of malfeasant males, these reasons don’t cease to operate when males self-identify as women. Either we keep same-sex spaces, or the result is effectively mixed-sex spaces, to the detriment of females.

Meanwhile, allowing self-identification as the criterion of eligibility into woman-only resources, such as shortlists and prizes, seems to both incentivise unscrupulous cheating, and count as a stunning dismissal of the original reasons such (still scarce) resources were created — to combat the low numbers of females in associated roles. (This was recently starkly illustrated by the inclusion of Philip Bunce, a biologically male ‘non-binary’ Credit Suisse director, in a Financial Times list of 100 top ‘female’ executives).”

157. Finally, I added that I was working on a blog post on the issues, which I hoped might be published by CGD, but if not, I would look to place it elsewhere.

158. I learnt much later from the Respondents’ disclosure that Luke had sent my email on to Holly and Ellen [1055] (and that they were already in discussion about my tweets). The email did not include the text of the blog post (which I had not yet sent). Nevertheless Holly replied to Luke:

“The blog post topic does not appear to relate to global development in any way I understand the debate, so I think we can safely pass.”

159. I emailed Owen Barder about the email from Luke on 3 October 2018 [1056]. Owen was in Washington, and we set up time for a chat. When I spoke to Owen, he told me had talked to Luke informally, in the kitchen in the DC office, about the substantive issues raised in my tweets, and said he had been thoughtful. He suggested that I send the draft blog post to Luke for his thoughts.

160. On 4 October 2018, as I now know, Ellen Mackenzie emailed Mark Plant, Amanda Glassman and Masood Ahmed informing them that my visiting fellowship was due to expire that month [1060]. She said: “If you decide to renew there should be robust discussion. I suspect there will be some backlash from some staff.”

Mark replied:

“I certainly want to renew, given that she features prominently in the DRM grant. In fact, we talked about making her a senior fellow if the grant went through. Thoughts from all welcome. Including Luke, given his exchanges with associate staff. Will there also be backlash from senior staff?” [1061]

161. Two minutes later (14:22 UK time) Ellen forwarded this email to Amanda Glassman and commented:

“Can you respond to Mark and say that just because Maya is in a grant is no reason to keep affiliating with her” [1062]

162. A few minutes later Luke replied on the main thread [1064]:

“We should be well prepared to discuss the rationale behind a decision to renew because I think they will demand it. I’m not sure I can articulate a good one. My issue is not that she offended staff by expressing an unpopular view (that happens all the time); but that she is standing by her inflammatory rhetoric. If we had a transgender staff member, and chose to hire someone who referred to transgender people as ‘part time cross dressers,’ I would not be able to reasonably defend that decision to the staff.”

163. Luke then forwarded the email chain on to Holly Shulman, saying he hoped that if given a chance she would weigh in with her thoughts, and he would like to hear her views.

164. I was not shown any of these emails at the time, nor was this specific language raised with me. If it had been, I would have explained that I was not referring to all transgender people as “part time cross dressers”, but that Philip Bunce is, accurately, described as a part-time cross-dresser (and I was responding to someone on Twitter to make this clear).

Discussing my blog post

165. On 5 October 2018 I sent Owen the draft blog post. [1073–1077] It begins:

“Gender is often used as a synonym for sex. It sounds more polite. But they are quite different concepts. Sex means biology; whether a person is male or female. Gender refers to the culturally constructed characteristics of women and men — stereotypical norms, roles and relationships expected and enforced within societies. Gender is also increasingly used (in the form of ‘gender identity’) to refer to the internal sense that some people have of themselves as masculine or feminine, a blend of both, or neither. It is increasingly recognised that when individuals or groups do not ‘fit’ social gender norms, because of what they wear or how they act, they can face stigma, discriminatory practices, social exclusion and violence.

Protections and policies are needed both for women and girls because of their sex, and for people of either sex who face discrimination because they do not conform to gender norms; no one should be victimised for expressing their identity. Boys and men also have a right to privacy, and to access to services that address their particular health and social needs.”

166. I go on to discuss issues in relation to international organisations. I conclude:

“People who express concern about women and girls being forced to share intimate spaces with individuals of the opposite sex, or who have concerns [about] safeguarding risks for vulnerable people, or who simply note that it is not possible to change biological sex should not be dismissed as hateful or bigots.”

167. Owen replied saying “Let’s have a word before you publish it — is that OK? (I have no intention of discouraging you from saying any of this.)” [1080] He also gave me some more detailed comments on the draft (via Slack), which I responded to, editing the draft and accepting all but one comments and explaining the one I did not change to him in an email.[1078]

168. On 8 October, completely unaware of all the discussion that had gone on amongst the senior management team, I emailed a copy of the draft blogpost to Luke (as Owen had suggested) [1082], hoping to get some substantive feedback on my presentation of the issues. I wrote:

“I have tried to write it clearly and without seeking to give offence, but it is necessary exclusionary in the sense that the category ‘female’ excludes people in the category ‘male’ (and vice versa).”

I later learnt from the Respondents’ disclosure that Luke emailed it on to Amanda, Masood, Ellen and Holly [1089] asking for advice on whether and if so how to respond.

169. On 9 October 2019 I emailed a copy of the draft blog post to Mark Plant [1088]. I also shared a hard copy of the blog post with Mikaela Gavas (a paid visiting fellow based at CGDE who has since become a Senior Fellow), with whom I had been talking about this. She gave me written comments in the margins. I also emailed a copy to Ian Mitchell on 9 October [1087] saying “I have sent to Luke, Mark and Mikaela for their thoughts. I think we should have a CGD Europe discussion :)

170. I was in the office on 9 October and talked to Mark. We talked about how to move forward the policy discussion, including the potential for an internal discussion at CGD. He later sent an email to Luke, Amanda, Masood, Ellen and Holly on this conversation [1090] confirming this and saying:

“I reassured her that such issues could be discussed calmly and openly and that Twitter discussions weren’t the best way to do this, as people don’t read the full conversation and often misread/misinterpret posts, aren’t carefully reasoned, etc.

“My quick read of the blog is that it is much better but still needs some editing. You can sense emotion trying to seep into the argument but being kept at bay. I will give her my comments when I have a few more minutes to spend with it.

171. Luke emailed to Mark and the others that he wasn’t the right person to respond to my request for comments, and Holly said she would look when she had time. [1094]

172. Luke then responded to my email [1095] copying in Holly: “I think others at CGD (including Holly Shulman, Communications Director) are better positioned to give you feedback, so I’ve shared the blog with her. I understand you’ve also shared it with Mark Plant, which is great.”

173. I replied to Luke, Holly and Mark: [1096]

“I am not in a rush to publish this, as I understand there are sensitivities within CGD. It is a live policy issue with development relevance and I hope that CGD can hold open space for respectful, clear, evidence based discussion online and off.”

174. I was worried at this point that a draft blog post that I had shared with Mark and Luke as colleagues for their personal response was being treated as an organisational issue, and not in the normal way of exchange of ideas. I was concerned about who else had it been sent to.

175. Holly continued the conversation with Luke, Mark, Ellen, Masood and Amanda, saying that she had read the blog post and didn’t think it had a clear global development focus. She suggested that I might make the development relevance stronger, or she could offer advice on other places that might work for the blog post, or potentially help to revise it for CGD’s blog [1102]. Amanda replied that it is not connected to CGD work and not a good fit for the blog, and therefore not a good use of Holly’s time.

176. On Thursday 11 October I was in the office and spoke to Mark about the blog post again, emphasising that I had not submitted it for publication by CGD. We talked about how to structure it to make the global development relevance clearer, and the whether it might be used as the basis for a discussion at CGD. Mark confirms this in an email following up on chain with Masood, Ellen, Amanda, Holly and Luke [1112]. I did take this advice on board about bringing the development relevance more upfront in the next edits of the article.

177. Ellen responded to the ongoing email discussion about my blog post [1114] just to Mark, removing others from the email: “My sense is that regardless of how much time you put into this we will not publish. Just want to give you a heads up on the sentiment being expressed here, so you don’t waste your time.” Mark replied “I appreciate your honesty. I will give up after this last attempt and manage Maya from this end. At this point let’s decide and move on.”

Amanda then replied to the whole group saying it is “not our area, not her research for CGD, not a good use of anyone’s time to work through these issues with her.” Any discussion about how we would treat internally as a HR matter should be dealt with by Luke and Quantum Impact, and I would be “free to publish elsewhere with a clear disclaimer” [1115]. They agreed that Amanda would talk to me by phone.

178. That day I wrote to Owen, saying that Luke had “kicked it up the line”. [1111] Owen replied:

“It is a shame he didn’t ask you before doing that. He must be feeling insecure if he feels unable to give you his own opinion. But I suppose it is as well to get people’s views and advice before publication. You can then decide what you want to do.”

179. On 12 October 2018, I sent an email to Mark Plant [1118] with an updated version of the draft blog post. I said:

“I am a bit concerned that, having *not* submitted it for publication at CGD (but to Luke for his personal feedback given that he had written to me, and i understood he had chatted with Owen about the issues) this has now been passed up the chain to I-don’t-know-who and is now being discussed an organisational matter (rather than with me, in the normal CGD ‘about your draft blog post’ manner).

I am keen to get views and advice on the issues from people within CGD, before or as part of publishing an article on the topic. As I say in the draft, raising these issues is difficult, but policy issues should be open for conversation. This is the kind of thing that CGD should hold open space for!”

180. On Friday 12 October 2018 I received a calendar invite from an assistant for a “check-in call” with Amanda Glassman. [1123]. Amanda was one of the few members of staff in Washington, other than Vijaya who I had talked to informally in person, during visits to Washington. I did not take this as an official call from management (I did not know the extent of the formal discussions in Washington or her involvement in them, and did not even know that she had seen the blog post). I perceived it as a call offering friendly advice.

181. I continued to tweet about the issue. On 13 October 2018 I posted a series of tweets with links to feminist tweeters including Kellie-Jay Keen, Professor Kathleen Stock OBE, Lily Maynard, Stephanie Davies Arai, Karen Ingala Smith, Julie Bindel, Nic Williams, Linda Bellos OBE and Pilgrim Tucker. [1124–1125] In the second tweet I said:

“I had followed these women for + six months before i felt brave enough to voice a public opinion on sex self-ID. Which is crazy. This is law & policy that will effect women’s rights. We shouldn’t have to feel brave to talk about it.”

182. In this tweet I linked to a short video by the campaign group Fair Play for Women [video] and a photograph of myself wearing a T-shirt with the dictionary definition of woman (“adult human female”) printed on it.

183. On 15 October 2018 at 16:07 I had a 19-minute Skype call with Amanda Glassman. This conversation is reported in the chronology produced by Luke on 7 December 2018 as:

October 15

1. COO Amanda Glassman speaks to Maya to say that CGD/ E will not publish her blog or any other content related to this issue on CGD’s platforms.

184. I dispute this account. Amanda did not say “CGD will not publish your blog”. This would have stood out as uncharacteristic within CGD’s policy and culture around publishing fellow’s blogposts. What she did say was more like advice; that CGD did not have any institutional appetite for engaging on the issue and that it would not be wise to try to push them to publish an article. The tone was friendly and collegial, so much so that later on when Mark told me that I had antagonised senior staff in DC it did not occur to me that Amanda might be one of those people. I remember she asked me (rhetorically) “Is this really the hill you want to die on?” I asked her about the process of me coming on board as staff if the Gates Grant was agreed; would I need to come to DC and give a “job talk” (I.e. present a paper — which is commonly the process I had been told about by others). She said that it was with Mark to decide what to do, as he was now in charge of that grant. She encouraged me to concentrate on tying down the relationship and not to push to publish on the topic of sex and gender at CGD.

185. I accepted her advice, and said I would look at publishing the blog post somewhere else, but said I was not in a rush and would let CGD know if I did. We did not talk about my blog post in detail, and I did not know she had already seen it. We discussed the issues in general terms and in particular the differences between the state of the policy debate on sex and gender in the US and in the UK. I said that I thought it was an important issue with relevance to international development, human rights and data.

186. I took on board Amanda’s advice and did not circulate the draft blogpost more broadly in CGD after that. I began to look for other places to submit it for publication, later approaching the LSE “Engenderings” blog and the International Center for Research on Women.

187. Amanda followed up on our discussion later the same day by sending me an NPR article about Paige Abendroth, a person who “flipped back between male and female several times in her life” [article]. I sent her my blogpost, unaware she had already seen it. [1171–1176]

188. Amanda sent an email to Mark, Luke and Holly (but not Ellen or Masood) [1177] :

“Hi all I spoke to Maya and let her know that any blog on the topic should not go on CGD’s site, and she was ok with that. However, she does plan to publish elsewhere, maybe on Medium. I asked her to give Holly a heads up when it will be posted.”

189. On the discussion about my role with CGD she said:

“She also asked about her future affiliation. I just said that the DRM grant was still pending, but that -if it went through- it was up to Mark, as program director and point person for the grant, to decide next steps and present to SPG for decision. We can discuss separately.”

I cannot remember the exact words that Amanda used in this conversation in relation to my employment prospects — I think they must have been vague; certainly she did not tell me that I was only being considered for a continued visiting fellowship at this point, and not for a job as had been our shared assumption on 26 September 2018 [see paragraph 94]. If she had told me at this time that there was no prospect of an employment contract I would have immediately taken it up with Mark, but instead I continued to input into the proposal and discuss Gates and DFID funding, on the assumption that I would be employed, rather than continue as a consultant and/or visiting fellow.

190. Mark responded to Amanda and the others following Amanda’s report of the “Maya conversation”:

“Thanks. There’s an intermediate decision. Ellen pointed out that her affiliation as visiting fellow expires this month. My inclination is to not call attention to that, let it be in abeyance for a bit (unless things automatically get deleted from websites, etc.) and once we see what the Gates DRM grant looks like (and/or DFID, French) and then make a proposal as to her affiliation. No sense in fighting the same battle twice….” [1177]

191. Luke said he would see to it nothing changed on the website.

Questions about my future at CGD

192. On 16 October 2018, Mark Plant forwarded to Nancy Lee, Sanjeev Gupta and me an email chain with Vishal Gudjadhur from Gates Foundation, indicating that the grant proposal should be agreed in “one more day” [1178].

193. On 17 October 2018 there were further email exchanges with Vishal and Mark, including small changes to my deliverables, and discussion of whether the Department for International Development (DFID) would also be funding me and other tax work by CGD [1182]. Vishal asked why my work was not fully funded by the Gates (BMGF) proposal, and Mark said: “We indeed plan to seek other funding to support further work in this area, but as the potential sources of funding are not at all firm, we thought we’d limit our proposal to BMGF to that work we were sure we could accomplish within the specified budget envelope. He said that DFID is particularly keen on Maya’s tax work, while the French Ministry of Finance was less precise and said we would pursue these funding channels in the weeks to come.”

194. Vishal later told me the grant was agreed on 17 October 2018. He confirmed: “We’d largely agreed a few weeks before then but that’s the official date.” [1965]

195. The final version of the Gates grant proposal was submitted after 19 October 2018, with a strong indication from the Gates Foundation that it would be funded. I continued to ask Mark Plant for updates on the progress of the grant in the weeks following this, in order to seek to finalise employment, hopefully before the end of 2018.

196. On 19 October 2018 Mark Plant emailed me as a member of the CGD Europe team to schedule time for a meeting:

“Dear Maya,

Now that I have been with you for a month, I am meeting with each CGDE team member individually. I’d like to hear from you how you see yourself fitting into the CGDE team through the work that you do, the best things about working here, and any challenges you face that the operations team could help you with.” [1192]

197. We scheduled a meeting cancelled for 29 October 2018, but Mark later cancelled this using the calendar response function.

198. On 22 October 2018, Mark sent me an article from the New York Times about President Trump’s transgender policy. [1201–1205] I responded with my views on the matter and about the need for democratic debate around legislation: “There needs to be more discussion”. [1199] Mark agreed with me about that.

199. During September and October 2018 I began to work on research which would have been initial outputs from the Gates Grant project, for example on 29 October 2018 I sent a draft note on tax treaty reform to Sanjeev Gupta [1222]. This would have been my first paper produced under the Gates grant in early 2019. I also discussed with Mark Plant building on work I had done with the World Bank during 2018 to produce a CGD paper on reform of the international tax system, as part of the Gates Grant.

200. On 24 October 2018, I retweeted a tweet showing a full-page ad taken out by the campaign group Fair Play for Women in the Metro newspaper.

I now know that Luke emailed this to Ellen, with the subject title “Maya”, saying: “Is retweeting this, with the hashtag ‘Choose Reality’” (this was the hashtag being used by the campaign) [1208–1216]. Ellen then attached it to an email and forwarded it to Masood and Amanda.

201. On 26 October 2018 Amanda Glassman sent me an article from the New York Times by Anne Fausto Sterling, entitled “Why Sex is Not Binary”. [Article]

She commented: “The complexity is more than cultural. It’s biological too.” I replied to her with my thoughts on the point [1218].

202. On 30 October 2018, disclosures show there was an email discussion between Mark, Ellen and Amanda about a potential new hire in Washington: Steve Rozner, who would have been working on the DRM project. Ellen responded to Amanda: “Taking Mark off the thread. Masood mentioned using some of this money for Gyude. If we take Maya off the grant can we redirect to Gyude?”. [1225] Gyude is Gyude Moore, a visiting fellow who later became a policy fellow.

203. My Visiting Fellowship was not formally renewed in October 2018, but nothing changed and I continued to be treated as a Visiting Fellow. I assumed, following my earlier conversation with Owen Barder when he had reassured me, and given that the Gates Grant was close to being agreed, that my Visiting Fellowship would run on for a few more weeks until CGD would offer me an employment contract once the grant agreement was finalised. I was not aware that anyone was paying attention to this date or that Mark had deliberately let it lapse.

204. I now see that Ellen had already been promoting the idea of ending any affiliation with me. On 31 October 2018, Luke sent an email which appears to be a response to query by Masood, clarifying that year two of my visiting fellowship is coming to an end [1227]. He then almost immediately [4:36 PM] sent the same information to Ellen and said “Masood has asked me to confirm her end date”. Luke said “I think Masood is leaning towards not renewing, but allowing her to keep working on the DRM grant as a consultant because this puts more distance between us. FYI”. Ellen replied saying I would have to lose my email address, and Luke agreed with her. [1228]

205. From my point of view email discussions continued about seeking additional funding from DFID. On 1 November 2018 Mark copied me into an email chain with the Institutional Advancement team about DFID funding. [1232]

206. I was continuing to work on the assumption that I would be appointed to deliver on the Gates-funded project, and that we were fundraising with DFID for broader work on tax. On 2 November 2018 I sent Sanjeev Gupta a draft mini-paper (“CGD Note”), which would have been an early output of the grant [1241]. I was also working with Charles Kenney on a proposal for an extension of funding for our work on commercial confidentiality, and considering papers to commission [1343], which I also communicated to Masood [1244].

207. On 2 November 2018, an email just disclosed from Mark Plant to Kevin Conry [1238] shows Mark, acting on Masood’s instruction, starting to remove me from prospective funding but saying he wanted it “done so that it doesn’t disturb the work we have already contracted Maya to do.” Kevin responded that he would confidentially let [Complainant 3]and [Complainant 2] know. In a second email after his meeting with [Complainant 3]and [Complainant 2] he said “they understand the decision and also appreciate the sensitivity of the issue.” [1239]

208. On 2 November 2018, I emailed Mark to ask if we could meet on Monday [5 November] or Wednesday [7 November] [1240] Mark replied and said that next week was a lost cause, and he could not speak to me until after 19 November. My experience of dealing with Mark subsequent to this is that he could usually find a time, even if it had to be early morning or late evening if something needed to be discussed, so looking back on this now I wonder if he was putting off speaking to me because of the discussions that I now know were going on about my future at CGD.

209. On 6 November 2018 [1243], disclosures reveal an email from Masood to Mark, in which Masood discusses moving the existing secured funding from Gates Foundation away from me, saying he spoke with Gargee [Ghosh, President, Global Policy & Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] about moving money from international tax policy to holding events with African policy makers. He asked “What’s the most useful way to get this message from Gates for our internal purposes?” Mark responded telling him that the DRM grant already had provision for events with African policy makers. The “international tax money” refers to my section of the proposal, while the work with African policy makers concerned the part that Mark had developed with Sanjeev and Antoinette. Here Masood was discussing diverting the money from my workstream into the other, and then looking for “the most useful way to get this message from Gates for our internal purposes”. Obviously I did not know about these email conversations at the time, or about the conversation with Gargee.

210. The respondents may seek to say that these emails show that CGD’s leadership was making a mission-based decision not to continue to work on international taxation frameworks and that therefore there was “no business need” for me. I do not agree with this. Rather, they appear to be trying to shore up a story as to why my planned work on international tax would not go ahead, just at the time when we had succeeded in winning funding for it.

Meeting with Mark Plant on 21 November

211. On Wednesday 21 November 2018 at the team lunch, Mark announced that the Gates grant had been approved. This was unsettling, embarrassing and humiliating, since the other staff knew that I had been working on securing the funding.

212. By this time CGDE lunches were large affairs with around 25 people present, often including external guests and beginning with a round of introductions. At the beginning of the lunch Mark Plant, chairing, announced that the Gates grant for CGD’s work on tax and illicit financial flows had finally been agreed, making no mention of me. He got a round of applause and congratulations. It was humiliating as it was obvious that this was the first time that I had heard that the grant had been agreed, and it was not being announced together with expected news that I would be staying on to work on the project. People on the staff team looked at me and I flushed and teared up, but as there were external guests no one said anything. We then had to do a go-round of introductions. I was put on the spot and was trying to maintain some composure after this shock announcement. I did not know what to say or how to introduce myself. I think I said something like: “I’m Maya Forstater, and I’m just happy to hear the news.”

213. I met with Mark Plant after lunch. This was the meeting that had been pending since 19 October. In this meeting Mark told me that CGD had changed its mind and did not want to employ me on staff, but that I could instead stay on as a visiting fellow for one year, and then be a “non-resident fellow” (I was told at this point that visiting fellowships are only allowed to last for a maximum of three years) and be paid under a consultancy contract (i.e. for the Gates project alone). Mark made it clear it was “because of your tweets”.

214. This was absolutely crushing. I had been working with CGD since 2017 on developing this project, and now, just as the grant was agreed, I had been humiliated in front of my colleagues and then told that I would have no future with the organisation.

215. Mark told me that I had antagonised key personnel in Washington by tweeting about sex and gender (he did not say who, and I had no idea) and that these relationships were irrevocably broken. He suggested that the best course of action now was for me to stay in London, where I had good relationships and not to try to build bridges with the team in Washington, but instead to get on and do the Gates project on a half-time basis, and not seek to fundraise further or develop other projects at CGD, but take on other projects outside of CGD.

216. I was not aware at this time that I had any protection under the Equality Act, so I accepted Mark’s suggestion as I thought I had no choice. The plan as I understood it was for Mark Plant to nominate me to renew the visiting fellowship (which in the last round had been a formality) and to draw up a consultancy contract. I expressed the hope that we could get this tied up before Christmas.

217. I now know that prior to this meeting, on 19 November 2018, Mark had emailed Masood and Amanda [1278], saying:

“Maya has asked to talk with me this Wednesday, presumably about the DRM grant, future fund raising prospects and her position at CGD. I need to get my messages straight before we speak. Masood had discussed with Gargee the possibility of redirecting the money in the DRM grant to other ends, but in the end that didn’t happen as best I can tell. I suppose we can still have that conversation, but is it worth it? I don’t know if the two of you have discussed this.

On future fund raising prospects, I will say that management has decided it doesn’t want to pursue this line of work and so, while Maya is welcome to look for funding, we won’t devote any corporate resources to the effort. (Kevin and [Complainant 3] are already apprised of this).

On her position, I will say that we will continue with her in her current position as visiting senior fellow, but given the shift in corporate priorities we don’t see a possibility for making her full time staff. Note that this is a shift in the message we have given earlier.

Do I have it right? I expect it won’t go down well with her and there will be push back from Owen as well.”

218. In the event Mark did not stick to his proposed line that management did not want to pursue this line of work (which I would not have believed and would have asked questions about), but told me that it was related to my tweets about sex and gender. As I have said, he said it was “because of your tweets.”

219. After our meeting, Mark emailed Masood, Amanda and Ellen [1280] and said:

“I had a good talk with Maya today, along the lines that Masood and I discussed. I think she’s understands the message and will work diligently on the Gates grant. I think she was disappointed, but realistic.

I guess we need to put her name forward to the SPG for the renewal of her third year?

Is it worth having Gita [sic] Ravindra engage her and perhaps other CGD staff in DC in a constructive conversation around the sex/gender subject (more on process than content, perhaps) or should we let it go. She is registered to take the diversity training here in London.”

220. Ellen replied:

“This is a different outcome than I thought we had agreed to. My last understanding is that we would use her as a consultant for the DRM work, and no CGD email?

Either way it should go to SPG.”

221. Masood responded:

“Yes. That was when we thought she had done the full three years as a Visiting Fellow. Turns out that is not the case. So this is an ok outcome. Let’s discuss at SPG.”

222. At [1283] Mark emailed Owen and said: “It would be good if you can join the SPG on December 6, as I will propose Maya for a third (and final) year as Visiting Fellow. There will be some resistance, but Masood is on board. Happy to discuss off line.” Owen responded: “Will do. Why ‘final’? Does she know it is her final year? On a related note, I hope we can find a way to make Mikaela permanent.” Mark Plant responded: “There is a limit of three years as visiting fellow, perhaps honored in the breach. And yes on Mikaela, but she needs to finish her paper!” (Mikaela Gavas was also a visiting fellow with a paid contract. She was appointed as a Senior Fellow in February 2019).

223. Owen responded: “So at the end of three years, will we make Maya an offer for a permanent appointment? Do you plan to cross that bridge when we come to it?” I did not know about these emails with Owen (who was still nominally CEO but was much less present in the organisation; I had not talked to him further on the issue as I did not think he could help me).

224. An internal timeline later produced by Luke Easley states:

“21 November. Mark’s discussion with Maya, informs her that we will not be bringing her on full-time, but there is a possibility of renewing her a VF for 1 year.” [1426]

225. I do not accept this version of events of the meeting on 21 November. I note that it is also different from the accounts in the internal emails, and that CGD did not confirm or deny, or respond in any way to, my pleaded account of this meeting in their grounds of resistance. What happened is that Mark said that I would not be employed but I could do the work for the Gates project under a consultancy contract, staying as a visiting fellow for a year and then becoming a non-resident fellow as, he explained, there is a three-year limit on visiting fellowships. It was made clear that not being put forward to become a member of staff was because of my tweets.

· The offer of staying as a visiting fellow for a year with a contract to do the work in the Gates funded DRM project was presented to me by Mark as an offer, not a “possibility”.

· I do not remember him mentioning a discussion mediated by Geetha Ravindra. (I would have remembered if he had mentioned her name and would not have called her for confidential advice later). He did talk about having a discussion with staff that had been offended and I said I would be happy to talk and I hoped that CGD would convene a conversation internally on this topic. Mark first raised the idea of involving Geetha to Masood and Ellen after our meeting, and on 29 November said it is something that I had committed to. The first time I heard of this idea was in disclosures.

226. I felt cheated, ashamed, and foolish for having trusted the process and the culture of the organisation. I was worried after the announcement and the meeting with Mark, and concerned that I had antagonised unknown senior staff in Washington DC and been humiliated by Mark in front of the London staff. I could not afford to walk away from the project I had been working towards for two years in order to try to find other work in the sector. How would I explain why I had left CGD after winning the grant from the Gates Foundation? I tried to “put on a brave face” in order to take up the contract and the visiting fellowship and not be seen as a problem.

Seeking to continue as a visiting fellow with a contract

227. I spoke again with Mark after this, when I was in the office on 27 November. We talked about the next steps in drawing up a consulting contract in more detail and I said the contract needed to stay on the right side of the determination of self-employed or employed status for tax purposes and explained that my previous contracts with CGD had been output-based and that I would map out a series of outputs. I said that I was keen to have the contract agreed and signed before the end of the year, as my current contract was ending.

228. On 29 November 2018 Mark emailed Masood, Amanda and Ellen to confirm “that we are all on the same page regarding Sanjeev and Maya”. Sanjeev and I were both on the Gates grant proposal. Sanjeev was brought on as staff. [1334] The proposal in Mark’s email for me was:

“Continue Maya’s appointment for a third and last year as a Visiting Fellow and contract with her to do her work on the Gates grant ($85K per year for two years). (Ellen would prefer a contract relation with no email access, but given that Maya has done what we asked of her regarding her twitter feed, it’s hard to justify breaking the relation at this point. She’s also committed to attending the diversity training at CGDE in January and, if desired, to a structured conversation mediated by Geetha Ravindra, with staff who took offense at her tweets.)”

229. On 29 November 2018 I went to the staff Christmas party.

230. Following on from the conversation on 3 December 2018, I sent Mark Plant an email [1353] with a draft plan for the following year which included several blog posts, papers and convening meetings, based on 120 days of my time. This reflected my assumption, based on our conversation, that I would be a visiting fellow for the coming year and a non-resident fellow after that, and that I should make the best of that. According to the email, we agreed to speak on Wednesday 5 December. I can’t remember if we did.

231. My understanding of the process of being approved as a visiting fellow, based on my previous experience, was that it was a formality based on the recommendation of a Senior Fellow. I had taken a big hit in being downgraded from an expectation that I would be employed to remaining as a visiting fellow, but I did not think there would be an issue with continuing as a visiting fellow. My perception that the process of appointment of a VF is usually a formality is confirmed by an email from Kelsey Ross to the SPG with the agenda [1356]. It states: “Below are proposed VFs and NRFs for discussion. Reminder that comments can be shared by email and if there is no discussion/objection by the SPG meeting, the candidates are considered approved.” Some of the candidates have no more than a one-sentence explanation.

232. Later on 3 December, unknown to me at the time, Ellen emailed Amanda [1357], saying:

“Mark is going to add Maya’s VF status to the SPG Agenda. I’ve been organizing opposition with Holly and Cindy. We want to try the amplification technique, in case you want to join in :)”

233. I understand that the “amplification technique” refers to a practice by which a number of people repeat a point in order to give it greater prominence and make it harder to ignore [article].

234. Mark Plant officially became Chief Operating Officer of CGD-Europe on 3 December 2018, after his work visa was agreed and the Trustees made the decision [1340].

6 December: Rejection by the SPG

235. The SPG met on 6 December 2018. I now know from disclosure that renewal of my visiting fellowship was an agenda item and was supported by Mark Plant [1358], but at the time I did not know the exact date when it would be discussed.

236. I understand this would have been be a meeting with people taking part in both Washington and London offices via the teleconference system with the meeting rooms connected together on the big screen. They usually took place at 11:00 DC time. According to an email from Mark, the members of the SPG at this time were Masood Ahmed, Ellen Mackenzie, Amanda Glassman, Owen Barder, Mark Plant, Ian Mitchell, Charles Kenney, Cindy Huang, Michael Clemens, Kalipso Chalkidou and Justin Sandefur. Luke Easley also attended SPG meetings in an ex officio capacity [1664]. The Respondents have not yet disclosed any minutes of this meeting so I don’t know who actually attended, or what, if anything, was minuted.

237. I was not told anything about the SPG meeting until 17 December 2018, which I deal with below. Later I heard from Ian Mitchell that there was a heated debate, that Mark Plant had spoken up for me along with some of the staff from London. Ian told me that Mark was “the angriest I have ever seen him”.

238. I can see that after the meeting [1374] Mark emailed Masood: “Time for a chat tomorrow — Mikaela and Maya?” Masood replied: “Yes. Definitely. We have to tread carefully on Maya. I don’t think launching some investigation is going to get us very far.” Eventually they scheduled a meeting for Monday 10 December.

239. I also know now that the day after the SPG meeting, having reflected overnight, Mark Plant emailed Masood Ahmed, Ellen Mackenzie and Luke Easley suggesting that they take advice from Sue Owen, a senior civil servant and trustee of CGD Europe. He also suggested the four of them meet on Monday (10 December 2018) to discuss. [1409]

240. I went to Oslo for a meeting hosted by the Norwegian Government (from 9 December to 12 December) and worked on planning and preparation for the final working group meeting of the Commercial Confidentiality project.

241. I now know that shortly after the SPG meeting Luke Easley sent an email to Farah Mahesri and Sarah Grausz of Quantum Impact [1377]. From that email it appears that:

Three options were identified: (a) to renew my visiting fellowship; (b) not to renew it but “to consider a consultant arrangement to complete the work” (on the Gates Foundation project); and © to “end the relationship”. No decision on these options is mentioned.

Either at the meeting or following the meeting, Luke Easley and Sara Godfrey (Director of Operations Management, CGDE) were asked, probably by Masood Ahmed, to conduct a “fact-finding” investigation, to include reviewing “emails, tweets, documents, etc”, and to compile a report for the leadership team “so they have a full picture of the issue”.

As part of this “fact finding”, Luke wanted to “include in the report some statements from associate staff (especially those who first came to me to alert me)” — in other words, those who had complained about me — and in this email Luke asked Quantum Impact for some help drafting questions to send those staff.

242. I was not told anything about a fact-finding investigation. I was not asked to suggest any potential witnesses with whom I had discussed the issues in the London office who might help to provide a fair account of the nature and tone of those discussions and to give a balanced picture of how the discussion was received.

243. On 7 December 2018 I can see that Luke sent a dossier of documents and a timeline to Ellen [1407]. He was asking her to review them before sending them on. It is clear from the disclosure that a package was being prepared to send to solicitors for legal advice. Ellen responds: “Add to timeline Mark’s discussion with her on 11/21, that we will not be bringing her on full-time, but can renew her a VF for 1 year”.

244. On 7 December [1415], Cindy Huang emailed Masood, Ellen, Amanda and Luke (but not Mark) saying that she had not jumped in on the discussion yesterday (at the SPG), but wanted to raise further issues and questions. Masood responds “Thanks Cindy. This is helpful” also now adding Mark to the cc list along with the others. Mark Plant subsequently includes Cindy’s email in the briefing pack to Ruth Szabo (on 21 December [1561] and QI (on 14 January [17:06:18]) and QI, the two sets of consultants tasked with helping CGD/E resolve the issue, and Cindy’s email is referred to as a “review” in the final QI report. [1748]

245. It is recorded in the Timeline that on 10 December 2018 “Mark, Masood, Ellen and Sara discuss next steps”. After this Sara Godfrey emailed Luke [1420] FYI, Call w/ Mark, Ellen and Masood — Confidential. “To keep you in the loop, in the first instance it was agreed that Mark should seek advice from Sue Owen and inform Maya in person that her VF renewal — and any future consultancy projects with CGO/E- is under discussion and review.

246. On 11 December 2018, Mark emailed the consultants QI with his notes on CGDE office culture in general. [1448] As previously noted, he describes a chatty office. He notes tensions between London and Washington, and he said: “several female staff members have raised issues that the office culture is male dominated, dominated by a few strong male personalities with male voices dominating the informal conversation and discussion at lunch. He said: “I have also heard from at least one staff member that she has a perception that the overall CGD culture tends to favor men’s opinions and work over women’s. While I don’t observe this, I in no way discount the value her perception.”

247. On 11 December 2018 the timeline produced internally by CGD states: “Mark and Sara discuss issue with Dame Sue Owen, UK Trustee.”

248. Luke developed a survey [1441] with the help of QI and sent it out to five people using bcc [Complaint 1], [Complainant 2], [Complainant 3], Complainant 4] and Kendra White. [Complainant 4] was a policy analyst and the others worked in Institutional Advancement. [Complainant 3] was based in London and was the only person I had contact with.

249. I can now see, from Luke Easley’s description of whom he subsequently emailed on 12 December 2018 to seek their views [1441], that, despite saying that he wanted to get a “broad perspective”, in fact the people he emailed were simply “the staff who have spoken to me about the issue” [1444].

250. On 13 December 2018, I tweeted a thread that started with a broadcast of an evidence session in the Scottish Parliament over whether the next census should collect data about sex accurately or mix it with gender identity [t1450–1452]. I said:

“This is excellent! If you care about women & girls AND the human rights of transgender people watch @GoonerProf [Professor Rosa Freedman of Reading University] & Susan Smith @ForwomenScot give evidence to @SP_European Scottish Parliament on how sex & gender identity should be framed in next census

The MSPs are well prepared. Rosa & Susan are utterly sensible & clear, making case that sex & gender ID/reassignment are separate things. The human rights of people with both characteristics can be protected without undermining the other, if not conflated.”

251. In the thread, I noted that much of what Rosa said “is not allowed to be uttered on Twitter and many FB groups, gets academics & writers no platformed, complaints to their employer and worse. Yet in the light of day it clearly sounds nothing like hateful bigotry”.

252. To illustrate this, at the end of the thread I included a link to an open letter [1453–1454] to the editors of The Conversation arguing against publishing Kathleen Stock, who had been quoted by the MSPs.

253. I can now see that on 14 December 2018 there was a single response to Luke’s survey from [Complainant 1] [1456–1458] who is based in Washington and was the person mentioned in the first written note of 28 September. She expressed general disapproval of my view and noted that I had a photo in my twitter profile of me “holding up a sign that said “woman: adult human female.”” She also noted that “As recently as one day ago, she retweeted a tweet that advocates the idea that ‘sex is defined by biology’” and she said “It seems evident that Maya is intent on pushing this agenda forward; therefore, CGD should not remain affiliated with her in any capacity or otherwise provide her with any legitimacy through use of our platform and brand.”

254. She said my tweets came to her attention when “Someone else with whom I work closely at CGD” pointed them out. She also said:

“It has also come to my attention through a conversation with a colleague in the London office that Maya has also been distributing pamphlets at the CGD Europe office that advocate her anti-trans position.

“As mentioned above, this originally came to my attention through another coworker. I have also discussed this with a colleague in the London office and with a couple other colleagues in the DC office. We were all in agreement that this behavior is unacceptable and CGD should terminate affiliation with Maya immediately.”

[Complainant 1] said in her email that she does not need to remain anonymous. As far as I have seen no other staff came forward or returned the survey, even anonymously. The assertion that I had been distributing pamphlets in London (or that the booklet I did share had an “anti-trans” position) was never investigated as far as I have seen, but is repeated in further reports.

255. This response was later included in documents sent to Ruth Szabo and QI, two sets of consultants.

256. I remained unaware at this stage of events at the SPG meeting on 6 December 2018, and of the “fact-finding” investigation that was taking place. As far as I was concerned, the last I had been told by Mark Plant was that my visiting fellowship would be renewed for a further year and I would be engaged as a consultant on the Gates Foundation project.

257. On 17 December 2018, I emailed Mark to ask whether there was any update on either of those things [1475]. He replied that there was a “bit of a delay” and asked if we could speak so he could explain.

258. On 17 December 2018 I received an email from Sara Godfrey, which went to all of CGDE and to Luke Easley [1466], with two new CGDE policies approved: the Health and Safety Policy and the Anti-Harassment Policy. The email said we would have a chance to discuss the anti-harassment and bullying policies at the January 15 workshop. The policy misstated the protected characteristics, conflating sex and gender reassignment, and prohibited “receiving, or forwarding any message or graphic that might be taken as offensive to any race, religion, national origin group, or any other protected group”. I was concerned that this policy would make it impossible to talk about the difference between sex and gender identity, as the two characteristics were conflated and “might be taken as offensive” is a low bar and decided to write these concerns down.

259. I spoke with Mark by telephone. He told me that no decision had been reached at the SPG meeting. He again said that this was “because of my tweets”. He did not tell me which specific tweets; rather I took this phrase as his shorthand for talking about my engagement in the debate on sex and gender identity, while signalling that he did not want to discuss the content of the issue itself. He said there had been strong voices from Washington, and that he had saved my renewal from being refused altogether by proposing that a “process” take place in London rather than Washington to investigate the specifics of the case and to consider the broader issues of intellectual freedom and social media policy. He said that he was to bring back a report so that it could be discussed again in January 2019. I understood this to mean discussed by the SPG.

260. Mark did not say anything about a fact-finding investigation by Luke Easley and Sara Godfrey, or that they had been asked to compile a “report for the leadership team”.

261. I sent a response to the new anti-harassment policy to Sara, copying all on the original circulation list, noting that it conflates sex and gender reassignment into “gender” [1467]. I highlighted that “gender” is not defined in UK law and is not a protected characteristic, and said it would be clearer and less confusing here to list the protected characteristics. I also queried whether the prohibition on messages that “might be taken as offensive” was proportionate. I wrote:

“Prohibiting the sharing of any message that might be taken as offensive to any group’s religion or belief system seems to be an overly broad prohibition which goes beyond being an inclusive institution, and could have a chilling effect on freedom of enquiry and debate within CGD.

The line between allowing open engagement with ideas and evidence which contradict deeply held belief systems and avoiding an intimidating or hostile environment for people who hold those beliefs is difficult draw clearly since harassment and bullying can take many forms. But failure to share someone’s beliefs is not the same as mockery or disdain for them, and I hope CGDE does not mean to close down any area of robust, serious expression of views because it might be taken as offensive by adherents to any religion or other belief system.”

262. Mark sent me a thank you message to this comment. I can now also see he forwarded my message to Ellen, Amanda and Masood marked “FYI”. (He later sent it on to Luke and Farah and Sarah from QI on 3 January [1575]).

263. I emailed Mark after our discussion on 17 December and I thanked him for updating me. I attached the most recent version of my draft blog post. I said:

“As i mentioned I would like to be able to make the case that this is a policy issue around the world that people and institutions should be able to talk about clearly. If women’s rights and transgender people’s rights matter we need to be able to talk about them.

Arguing that it is offensive to talk about women as a sex I think is not a defensible place to draw the line (since this is current law in the UK, US and most other places, and is in CEDAW etc…). It is totalitarian for an ideology to make it impossible for people to discuss the law.” [1667]

264. [1486] I also emailed Owen “You may well know this, but just in case you dont….. the renewal of my term as a visiting fellow went to the senior management this week and was kicked back….. “On account of your tweets”. (This email reflected that I didn’t know when the SPG discussion took place; I didn’t realise that there had been such a delay before Mark told me about it). Owen responded “I’m sorry”. I also wrote to Mikaela Gavas and to Dr Claire Melamed, CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data who had been co-located at CGD’s offices, with a similar message.

265. On 17 December, Ellen emailed Sara and Mark [1489], telling them that Luke forwarded her[Complainant 1]’s feedback on me and said: “On my count there are three tracks this is taking — the legal discussion with Louise, Sue Owen, and the internal CCGD “committee”. I think this feedback is relevant to all three.” At this point I had only been told vaguely about one of these tracks (the internal CGDE “committee”) and I did not know about the survey of associate staff.

266. Ellen set out questions for Louise: “What should CGDE do as an interim agreement with Maya, since I am not aware, we currently have any formal agreement with us beginning in 2019.” She asked should they terminate email and VF status until these issues are resolved.

267. Mark responded, saying that he would “appreciate not knowing from whom these emails come. Luke has been quite diligent in protecting their identity and it helps me handle the issue correctly if I know nothing more than the content of their responses.” (I have only ever seen one email response in disclosures.)

268. Mark then emailed Masood saying “Spoke with Maya today. Meeting with lawyers tomorrow. Ellen needs to be called off. I’ll forward an email she sent. And my response” he then forwarded the conversation with Ellen to Masood, who replied to him: [1490]

“My take is that while the issue is being addressed, we should not take precipitate action that would prejudice the relationship. Worth checking with the lawyer but I’d be concerned if we decided to cut off — and then reinstate — her email or took her name off the grant proposals we have in train.”

Sub Committee

269. On 17 December 2018 [1502], Masood emailed Mark Plant: “Re: Maya”, copying Cindy, Ellen and Luke, to say that he had spoken to Cindy “and she’s kindly agreed to be part of the panel that will take forward the handling of this issue.”

270. Disclosures show that on 18 December [1493] Mark wrote to Masood, Ellen and Amanda that he had taken legal advice and proposed a plan to draw together an advisory committee of two people” (Cindy Huang and himself), and to contract an external advisor. He said that one of the issues I had raised on the new harassment and bullying policy was legitimate and the others were not (I was never told which or spoken to about my comments on the policy at all ). Masood agreed with this plan, and said:

“My advice is to do this as expeditiously as you can. The current unsatisfactory state of the relationship — contractual, professional and personal — is best kept as short as possible.”

271. On 18 December I hosted the meeting of the Commercial Confidentiality Working Group in London with Charles Kenny (who had come over from DC for it). The evening before I went out for dinner with Charles and Caroline Anstey, previously World Bank Managing Director who was on the working group, and was an old friend of CGD, and Guyde Moore who was also on the working group and visiting from DC. We discussed the issue, and I told him what was happening to me and Charles said he had no idea. I told him I had written a blog post which I had submitted to other platforms to consider for publication. I emailed Charles and Caroline my draft blog post [1503–1504], mentioning the International Centre for Research on Women, the LSE’s Gender Studies department as two organisations that had turned it down to Charles. I also attached in my email to Charles the open letter about Kathleen Stock which I had included in my tweets of 13 December 2018. I said to Charles:

“I think its really worrying organisations that should be publishing careful, accessible analysis won’t touch the question, venues won’t host meetings of women that want to talk about it, and academics that write about issues in the law are intimidated and ostracised.”

272. Over the next couple of days as I waited for a reply from Mark, and having spoken to Charles and the others I reflected further on the “process” that was going on, which I knew little of, and the intention for Mark to produce a report (as I understood it) for the SPG to consider in taking a decision on my visiting fellowship (although I wasn’t at this time aware of who was on it). I became increasingly concerned that I was being left out of this process, and that I had been isolated from senior colleagues in Washington and was unable to make a case for talking about the issue. I was not clear what exactly the concerns were, or what specific tweets or other communications by me were considered problematic or why. I did not know what form the “process” was taking and I had not been told any terms of reference, asked to comment on what evidence ought to be considered, or been spoken to myself.

273. Disclosures show on 19 December 2018 [1505] Mark made contact with Ruth Szabo, the external advisor he had contracted and briefed her on my situation. I did not yet know anything about her. Mark described me in these terms:

“She is not an employee. Her appointment as visiting fellow expired in October 2018 and her contractual work is almost completed. We have included her in a grant that will is [sic] funded by the Gates Foundation to do work over the next two years on tax issues in developing countries, but no contract has been issued, nor has her appointment as visiting fellow been formally renewed for a third (and final) year.”

274. On my views, he said:

“She is active on Twitter ( ) both with her CGD-related work, but also on the issue of sex and gender — whether they are the same, whether sex is a mutable condition and where the rights of transgender people might come into conflict with those of women. It’s a live policy issue in the UK, a very controversial one, and one where she takes what appears to be a minority view that raises a visceral reaction in many people. Some of her tweets were disturbing enough for a few CGD employees to complain to our human resources director in Washington. An “investigation” took place. She was informed that her tweets were a cause of discomfort for many, which she regretted. She was also asked to make clear on the masthead of her twitter feed that her views were her own, not those of CGD.

At a recent meeting of the Senior Policy Group of CGD, I proposed that she be renewed for a third year of visiting fellowship and met resistance. It was decided that further investigation and discussion was warranted before making any decisions.

The purpose would be to come up with a plausible way forward to make an informed decision that would respect Maya’s rights and at the same time deal with those who feel aggrieved by her public positions on the sex/gender issue.”

275. On 19 December 2018, having not heard from him and feeling increasingly concerned, I wrote to Mark again [1540]. I made clear that, whilst I was grateful for the efforts that he had made to advocate for me, I considered that “it is ultimately not in my interests to be so completely outside of the process, and not to be able to make any representation to colleagues on the senior team collectively about it”. I explained my position further and asked for details of the relevant decision-makers and an opportunity to make representations to them. Mark sent the email on to Sara Godfrey.

276. In the morning on 20 December 2018 [1545], Mark, Sara and Cindy email about a first draft terms of reference Ruth Szabo written by Mark. Cindy asks if there is anyone else in CGDE who could participate, “especially given that Maya sits there?” Mark responded to Cindy that he is hesitant to include anyone else in CGDE, “given the small nature of the office. I’d like to keep some distance from day-to-day working relationships.” He asked Cindy and Ruth to deliberate together. He also said he wants to “maintain a bit of distance” between QI and the process.

277. Mark replied later in the day to me [1589]. He advised me against writing to the senior team because that could be counter-productive. He repeated that he had “succeeded in bringing this issue to this side of the Atlantic and have now established a process for us to consider how to move forward”. He went on to explain that he would be advised by Cindy Huang and by an independent consultant, who was a UK national based in Switzerland (this was Ruth Szabo).

I now know, but did not at the time, that Cindy was part of “organised opposition” to me being coordinated by Ellen Mackenzie: see paragraph 197 above. In light of Mark’s comments, I accepted his advice at that stage.

278. On 21 December 2018 Mark emailed Ruth Szabo and Cindy with revised terms of reference and a pack of information on me [1561]. He said:

“Maya’s current status with CGD is that the second year (of a possible three years) as visiting fellow expired on October 31, 2018. We have not formally renewed her status as a visiting fellow, nor have we removed her privileges yet: listed as an expert on the CGD website, email address, access to the London office, and the ability to publish materials on our website. She is currently finishing up a contract on commercial confidentiality, which had an end date of this year, but will likely spill into early next year. There is a possible extension of that contract for about another six months, but details have not been signed. She was also included as an expert consultant on a grant from the Gates foundation on domestic revenue mobilization, although no contract has been issued. Finally, the OECD are interested in her doing work as a contractor and they have indicated to her that it would be beneficial to them if that work was run through CGD, rather than done on her own. The discussions on the last contract are in the preliminary stage.”

As stated in the terms of reference, I see three options: visiting fellow and contractor, contractor, sever our relationship. Of course I am open to other ideas; however, I have told Maya that there is no prospect for her to become a CGD employee and that if she is confirmed as a visiting fellow this would be for only one more year. The controversy surrounding her position had no bearing on these decisions — they were based first on business need and second on policy.

279. The TORs [1559] show Ms Szabo was asked to assist CGD:

“in making recommendations to resolve a workplace conflict by helping to set down boundaries that recognize Ms. Maya Forstater’s right to freedom of expression while ensuring that she is conducting herself in a way that she abides by CGDE’s anti-harassment and bullying policy and culture of inclusivity.”

280. Ms Szabo was asked to review my tweets and emails as well as contracts and work products, and to meet me by teleconference:

“to ascertain her point of view on her tweets and advocacy, how they have been handled by CGD and CGDE, how she would envisage moving forward as a visiting fellow and/or independent consultant, including, what if any she would be willing to adhere to regarding her non-CGD activities.”

281. I never saw these terms of reference or the briefing given to Ruth Szabo and Cindy. I was never asked for my permission for Ms Szabo to review my emails and drafts. Nor did she ever contact me for a teleconference, although the terms of reference stated that she would.

282. If I had seen these documents or claims made to Ms Szabo would have disputed them — explaining that I had written and developed the proposal for the section of the grant from Gates in which I was included, not simply been considered for the work, and that Mark had told me I was not being given an expected employment offer “because of my tweets”. “I therefore do not agree with the suggestion that the decision not to make me a full member of staff was because of “business need”, which is a phrase that is inserted into a number of documents which appears to me like a bit of a mantra. I address the point further below in reference to another insertion of the phrase into Ms Szabo final report.

283. I had a stressful and worried Christmas, with my consultancy contract running out on 31 Dec 2018 and not knowing whether I would have any significant secured income in the new year, whether I should continue to work on the ongoing projects, or if my future at CGD was about to be cut short. I did not know what was being said about me by whom, which colleagues had already condemned me as a bigot and on what basis.

284. On 29 December 2018 I set up a new Twitter account @2010Equality. It was not connected to my name.

As I tweeted in my first thread [1566- 1573]:

This account is to tweet about the Equality Act 2010 and what the law says about single sex services, spaces and other provisions (from changing rooms, prisons, dormitories, charities, womens’ sports etc…).

I had decided that since my primary policy interest about sex and gender was about the UK I would be better off setting up a new account, unconnected with my original personal account which I had used for the past few years to tweet mainly on international tax. This would allow me to separate the two streams.

285. On 3 January 2019, emails show that Mark and Cindy apparently met with Ruth Szabo. On 8 January 2019, unknown to me at the time, Mark Plant emailed Ellen Mackenzie to tell her that he and Cindy Huang had met Ruth Szabo and that she would give her report the next week [1580] Ellen forwarded this on to Luke and Amanda.

286. On 9 January 2019, Ms Szabo sent her report to Mark Plant in draft. [1581–1586] It was never sent to me and I saw it only in disclosure for these proceedings.

287. The draft report appears states “She is not under any form of employment relationship with CGDE, nor is there any prospect of her becoming an employee, of which she has been informed.”

288. In her report [1614] under the heading “Is MF’s conduct in breach of CGD’s anti-harassment policy?” Ms Szabo states:

“MF’s conduct involves the general expression of her views on a policy debate, not statements directed at another member of CGD’s staff. That said paragraph 2.6 suggests a person can be harassed even if they were not the intended target if the behaviour of the alleged harasser created a hostile environment for them.”

289. She says:

While the one complainant who responded to the questionnaire indicated that he/she felt that MF’s tweets created a hostile working environment, this would be insufficient to reach the conclusion that MF’s conduct breached the anti-harassment policy. The reason is that it would be unfair on MF to reach such a conclusion on the basis of the details provided in one anonymous complaint. To make a determination on the basis of the anti-harassment policy, an investigation would need to be conducted that involved interviewing the complainants, MF and possibly other colleagues that MF or the complainants might suggest. The complainants and MF would need to make themselves available for such a process. However, for the moment the complainants have indicated that they wish to remain anonymous, which would complicate an investigation and could pose issues further down the line if MF would not know who accused her, which would limit her ability to challenge any statements made.

290. Leaving aside that, from what I can see in the disclosures[Complainant 1] had said she had no problem revealing her identity [1456], at no stage was I interviewed about her views, or asked about any specific tweets or other communications. Nor was I ever asked to suggest possible colleagues to interview in order to ensure a properly balanced cross-section of views.

291. Ms Szabo also said:

“As discussed, at CGD there appears to be no written policy or other type of value statement on statements made in public that MF ought to have known and therefore would purportedly have breached.”

292. And

“It would also appear from our discussion that there are different opinions on whether MF’s tweets present a legitimate reputational concern and no clear guidance in the Employment Handbook on which behaviours or activities might be considered by CGD as presenting a possible reputational risk to the organisation”

293. She recommends that “CGDE should not be seen to be making a decision about MF’s future with CGDE before she is given the chance to know and comment on the complaints. As mentioned above, this will be difficult if the complainants continue to insist that they remain anonymous”

294. She recommended that Quantum Impact might be asked to provide a report on my tweets, networks and people I had endorsed, blogs and articles, and that this report could cover the UK policy context. She suggested that this report could be used to “educate” me on the nature of the complaints and “educate” CGD managers about the intent and background of my tweets. In relation to those who had voiced concern, she said:

“they may not be aware of MF’s contribution to the wider debate that is currently live in the UK but not in the US”

295. On 10 January, having not heard anything from Mark, and feeling anxious, humiliated, isolated and not welcome to go into the office, I emailed Mark, copying in Owen Barder [1588]. I wrote:

“Having this thing hanging over me all through Christmas and now into the new year is making me feel anxious, precarious and unable to plan for the year ahead.

I cannot tell people that I am going to continue as a visiting fellow at CGD, or that I won’t, or why i am uncertain about it. I do not know if I will be doing the Gates funded project or if I should be looking for other work. I do not know what has been said about me in Washington. I do not know what the ‘process’ is, or when it will be decided what the process is. I do not know what its aim, scope and subject matter is (is it concerned with specific tweets from October, or other social media posts, or that I continue to hold the view that [there] is a biological class of women, which does not include men with gender dysphoria). I do not know if it is a disciplinary process — to determine whether I have undertaken misconduct prohibited by the policy under harassment “ generating, receiving, or forwarding any message that might be taken as offensive to any protected group” or some other kind of process. I do not know when i might be told the answers to any of these questions.

I do not know whether it is appropriate for me to attend the training session on January 15 to participate a general discussion on the Anti Harassment and Bullying policy, as I am not sure whether the ‘process’ that I am facing is an investigation of misconduct in respect of the policy.

I understand the hiatus over the Christmas break was unavoidable but as it stretches into the new year it leaves me in a state of isolation, uncertainty and stress.”

296. Mark Plant responded: “Maya I understand your anxiety. I am pushing things as quickly as I can.” He suggested we talk and the next day and that I attend the training. [1588]

297. That afternoon he emailed [1595] Ruth Szabo’s draft report to Masood saying “There are a few small inaccuracies that I’ll have her correct. But the analysis is sound. Are you comfortable with it?” He said he was purposefully not including Ellen and Luke. He also sends it to Cindy for her thoughts.

298. Cindy sent back comments [1596–1601]. She questions whether the person who complained had insisted on being anonymous. This is then changed to has not pursued a complaint. She also suggests that it is added that I am not being offered employment for “business need reasons, not anything to do with this matter.” Mark adds “as there is no ongoing business need for her expertise” to the final draft.

299. I do not agree that there was no “business need” for my expertise. The Gates Foundation funding was a large grant and included a workstream that I had been developing since 2016. The proposal was submitted on 19 October 2018, stating CGD wanted to develop this area of work. I had also worked on the commercial confidentiality programme, which the funder was looking to extend with additional funding, and which my colleague Charles Kenney was asking me to work on. CGDE was expanding substantially and looking to recruit new Senior Fellows, and for the reasons I have given my expertise was certainly required.

300. Before the objections from Washington about my views on sex and gender, Mark Plant had expressly indicated an intention to bring me on as a full staff member if funding were secured on the Gates Foundation project. There had been no change in the “business need” for my expertise. The only thing that had changed was that, as Mark himself told me, my tweets about sex and gender had “antagonised” some key people in Washington. It was clear to me that that was why the decision had been taken not to give me a full employment contract as a member of staff when the Gates funding was approved. That is what Mark himself had told me on 21 November 2018. The “business need” explanation given to Ruth Szabo was never mentioned to me or discussed with me and was not true.

301. Disclosures show that later on, in reporting to the Flora Hewlett Foundation on activities [2022] in 2019, a note in track changes (from “BS” — I am not sure who this is) says: “In our original proposal, we mentioned Maya’s work on illicit financial flows and Sara noted that Joe [Joseph Asunka from Hewlett Foundation] likes the integration of the illicit financial flows (iFFs) stream of work Into the SDF program. So we should probably develop some language on Maya’s departure.” “MP” (Mark Plant) responds: “I missed this initial comment. Somewhere we could put a sentence along the lines of “Despite some changes in staffing CGD will continue to work in the sphere of international taxation” he then references work commissioned in the area I would have been working.

302. On 11 January 2019, I received an email from [Complainant 2](who worked in Institutional Advancement — i.e. fundraising — based in Washington DC), setting up a time for a kick-off meeting on the DRM grant with Sanjeev Gupta and Vishal and other staff from the Gates foundation [1621].

303. On 11 January 2019 Mark Plant wrote to Ruth Szabo-Khalastchi accepting her report with minor additions [1603]. And a final copy is sent to Mark on 13 January. I did not see this report until the disclosure process in these proceedings.

[Ruth Szabo report]

304. On 14 January [1628] Mark emailed Masood, Ellen, Amanda, Luke, Cindy, and Sara to tell them about Ruth Szabo-Khalastchi’s report. He says:

“As a way forward she suggests that I ask Quantam Impact to updates its earlier report, taking into account new information (recent blog by Maya, outcome of the SPG) and focusing on the points of friction that might have to be resolved if Maya were to continue as a fellow or contractor at CGD. Maya should be allowed to contribute to such a report, read it once it is done, and offer any comments.”

305. Ellen queried the cost and Mark said it would be paid for by the UK office. Mark wrote:

“What is most important is what parameters we set with Maya for going forward.

Her case has been discussed twice by senior staff without her being aware of it or having had any input to the process. She rightfully asks to know what is being said about her and to have some chance to respond to those concerns.

With the consultant I hired we established a process to move forward in a way that gives all concerned a voice. I see no reason to short circuit the process.

306. I met with Mark in the office that day. He explained that there would be a process involving external consultants QI looking at my case, and that these would be the same ones who were due to conduct Diversity and Inclusion training at CGDE on 15 January. It was not clear to me at the time how this related to what had originally been described to me in the email of 20 December 2018 as a “highly-skilled and well recommended independent consultant on these issues, who is UK citizen and based in Switzerland”, or that this review had in fact happened and a report had already been submitted and agreed.

307. I was not given a timetable or a process for the assessment that would be undertaken by QI. From the discussion with Mark I was under the impression that the scope of their work was creating a policy for CGD on academic freedom and freedom of expression, using my issue as a case in point. I did not think it would be primarily an investigation of me, but a question of developing a clear policy. I understood that they would talk to me.

308. On 14 January 2019 Mark emailed Farah Mahesri and Sarah Grausz at QI [1634–1670], with a pack of documents on me, briefing them to write a report following on from Ms Szabo’s recommendation that this not be handled “as a full disciplinary case requiring full investigation” but instead that my case “presents thorny problems for an institution that does not have an institutional viewpoint on policy issues and whose policy is to allow fellows to espouse their own views. There are issues about how these views are espoused (vehicle, manner, tone) and how much institutional tolerance CGD has for heterodox ideas, both within and outside the development realm.”

309. He asked them to complete an updated report (i.e. updated from the one delivered on 1 October which I did not know about), and said: “Maya should be allowed to contribute to the report, read it once it is done and offer any comments.”

310. On 15 January 2019 the planned diversity and inclusion training took place in London, carried out by Quantum Impact. The opening slide show included a section on definitions, which used “gender identity” but not sex. I pointed out that “sex” is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, and that this is different from gender identity.

311. As part of the session they asked the group to divide into “people who identify as women” and “people who identify as men”. There were no trans people at CGDE (and none in Washington DC, as far as I know), so in practice the two groups were men and women divided by sex. I pointed this out, and stated that I do not “identify as a woman” but that I am a woman because of the fact of being female. We had a short discussion about this in the women’s breakout group, where I said that being a man or a woman is a material reality, not an identity.

312. As part of the Diversity and Equality training day, CGDE management highlighted that staff could contact the independent Ombudsperson Geetha Ravindra, or Sue Owen, member of CGD Europe’s board of trustees, for advice and assistance on matters of discrimination, harassment or bullying.

313. During lunchtime on the training day I introduced myself to the two trainers, Farah and Sarah, and said I understood that they were doing some work that related to me and to the issue of sex and gender. I assumed that at some point they would interview me, but thought I should take the opportunity while they were in the UK to introduce myself in person. I asked them if they understood that there was a debate relating to a proposed new law in the UK and why people are concerned with having clear words to discuss the sexes. They said that everyone should be able to self-identify and language should not be “exclusionary”. They said they thought that any objection to this was based on prejudice, and that the fight for acceptance of gender identity was similar to the fight for gay rights. I said that many of the people whom I talked to who were concerned about the erasure of sex were gay and lesbian, and I said that lesbians in particular were being pressured to accept fully intact “trans women” (i.e. males with penises) into their dating pool. I asked if they thought this was OK, and shouldn’t lesbians be allowed to say that being a lesbian means being same-sex attracted without being called “exclusionary” or “bigots”. Sarah said that of course everyone should be able to choose who they have sex with, but “maybe your friends could come up with a different word for their identity than lesbian, because that includes transwomen”.

314. On 15 January, I now see from disclosures, Charles Kenny emailed Mark [1673] and asked for an update on my contract. He said: “we’re meant to be wrapping up the working group and I’m assuming her uncharacteristic silence is due to that.” Mark responded on 16 January [1674]: “still working on her contract for the new work. It’s a long process. There is no impediment to her finishing off work on old contracts and being paid for it. She is discouraged a bit and that may explain her silence. Do you want me to check in with her?”

315. This email is an example of CGD’s expectation that I would continue to work on contracts even after their nominal end date, and also the expectation (on Charles’s part) that I was about to get a broader contract (not a consultancy for the Commercial Confidentiality work specifically, as Charles knew we had not yet agreed the contract extension with the funder). Charles then emailed me for a call. I apologised to Charles for dropping the ball on the commercial confidentiality work over the past week and picked up on it.

316. On 17 January 2019 [1675], I sent a final draft to Laura Bacon at Omidyar Foundation, telling her that we were now working on layout, and communications and outreach for the launch.

317. On 18 January Mark and Luke had an email conversation [1678] and agreed to have QI “look at Maya in conjunction with the larger question”. Mark responded to the Quantum Impact consultants on 19 January, noting that they had had a conversation with Luke when they were in London and asking them to complete the report on me, but with regard to setting up a wider conversation within CGD about a policy that would set out CGD’s standards. He said CGD would like to resolve my situation in the next few weeks and asked for a complete report by 30 January. I was unaware of any of these communications at the time.

318. On 25 January 2019 Farah Mahesri emailed Mark suggesting they produce two reports: one to show me and the other for CGD management. She suggested that the second report should remain confidential to this group [i.e. Mark, Cindy and Luke] or a few other key leaders as “this will allow me to provide you some key guidance on how to navigate this conversation and bring up a few additional pieces of evidence and will allow me to present my findings more directly”. [1691] Mark agreed with this approach. Again, I was unaware of this correspondence at the time.

319. On 28 January 2019, as I had not heard anything since 11 January, I emailed Mark asking “any word on the timeline of “the process”? [1706] Mark replied that he was waiting on the consultants’ report and he would have it this week.

320. On 31 January 2019 I emailed Sue Owen, who had been introduced at the meeting as the trustee to talk to if we had any concerns about harassment, and raised the issue of sex and gender. I said: “I’d be interested on your thoughts both on the topic and your experience of the debates around this issue in your role in the civil service. At CGD my future prospects of continuing to work with the organisation having expressed these opinions are now in question (and i’d appreciate any chance to meet for your advice).” [1707] I did not receive a reply.

The Quantum Impact report

321. On 1 February 2019, Farah Mahesri from Quantum Impact emailed Mark with the draft report. [1718] She said:

“We spent some time reviewing Maya [sic] online presence (mainly Twitter) and the online presence of some of the other individuals she follows/ retweets and conferring with colleagues with more legal expertise in HR issues and with transgender issues overall to make sure we weren’t missing anything (we did this without mentioning CGD or Maya).

Our main finding is that Maya fully knows exactly what her arguments are and her writings is offensive and discriminatory. She has colleagues who have faced reprimands from their employers for saying the exact things she has. She knows exactly what is problematic about what she is saying. In particular there is a letter to the editor that she retweeted as part of a longer thread that covers everything I would have put in a report to Maya outlining what on her posts and blog article are offensive and discriminatory (and does so more eloquently and with more evidence than I am able to do).”

322. Farah attached two reports to this email. One is described by Farah as “my honest assessment and detailed recommendations for a conversation that we think Mark needs to have in-person with Maya”. They recommended that this conversation be verbal.

323. The second report was for sharing with me. Farah said:

“It is really vague — I did it deliberately because I recommend against getting into a discussion with Maya on topics such as “is saying that trans women aren’t women offensive?” because she knows the whole context of the discussion really, really well and I recommend being really cautious about being pulled into that debate.”

324. The long confidential “honest” report (marked for Mark and Luke) says it is based on the “Equality Act of 2010” (but the text on harassment and discrimination does not reflect the Act and seems to be cut and pasted from some other websites). They said:

“Maya is arguing that transgender women should be treated differently from cisgender women based on the physical characteristics that they were born with (and may or may not still have).”

“Specifically the Equality Act was updated to include a broader definition to ensure that transgender individuals are included as a protected group, and there are active discussions to broaden that category.”

“In terms of harassment, staff members from CGD have come forward to officially state they are offended by Maya’s written and spoken words. Staff have also reported that they found Maya’s comments offensive.”

“Based on Maya’s depth of knowledge of this topic we believe it would be highly counter-productive to discuss any specific tweets or comments and engage in discussion of whether, or why or how specific comments are disrespectful, contribute to a hostile work environment or are offensive to co-workers.”

325. In the report they say: “She has people in her online community who have been reprimanded at work for making similar comments. Maya believes society is wrong and that her colleagues were wrongly reprimanded.” Specifically, the QI report highlights the twitter feeds of three female academics: philosopher Professor Kathleen Stock (at the time Sussex University), human rights law professor Rosa Freedman of Reading University (who had presented evidence to the Scottish Parliament in the video I tweeted on 13 December — see paragraph 202) and economics lecturer Dr Evan Poen of Exeter University. They said they found “similar language” in their tweets as well.

326. The nine-page confidential report reveals that the “letter to the editor” they rely on is the one attacking Professor Kathleen Stock that I had tweeted on 13 December 2018 (see paragraph 252). It is a critique of the Conversation article that I had shared with Luke by email on 2 October 2018 (see paragraph 156). Its “evidence” is self-selected surveys which have no robustness. The QI authors say this letter outlines “point by point everything QI would have put in a report dissecting Maya’s blog and clarifying what point in her blog are discriminatory and/or offensive”. They quote the open letter (in relation to Kathleen Stock, but also by extension to me) saying. “Indeed, we think that it makes a number of claims that are inherently transphobic, and that are not backed by any evidence. For instance, the article asserts that transwomen are not women (“Transwomen are not biologically female.”).”

327. The QI consultants say:

the fact that Maya engaged with this letter demonstrates that she understands the arguments of why her own blog should be considered offensive; and recognizes that fellow academics also see a clear difference between having a discussion of how to protect one group vs making discriminatory statements.”

328. Underlying Quantum Impact’s report is the assumption that gender critical beliefs are not worthy of respect in a democratic society:

“Argument itself is offensive. Maya’s main argument that transgender women are not women is baseline offensive because it seeks to eliminate the existence of a group of people.”

329. The Quantum Impact report does not say who they spoke to, but says: “in terms of harassment, staff members from CGD have come forward to officially state they are offended by Maya’s written and spoken words. Staff have also reported that they found Maya’s comments offensive.” A later email between Luke and Farah in 31 March 2019 [2011] after I launched this claim only references Cindy’s review “+ the complaint that came from someone in DC”.

330. The report says: “In the email from the CGD and in conversations with London-based staff it sounds like Maya may have been handing out pamphlets in the office for a rally on the issue of protecting single sex spaces”. It is not stated anywhere that QI had conversations with London-based staff about me. I did not hand out pamphlets for a rally on the issue of protecting single sex spaces; I brought in a single booklet about an ongoing government consultation.

331. Reporting on our conversation in the lunch break in London (paragraph 228 above), they said that I

“made some specific comments about the sexual orientation and preferences of friends, explicit statements about people’s genitalia, etc. Although Maya may think it is difficult to debate this topic without such conversations, CGD’s policy on sexual harassment is clear — no conversations about your own or someone else’s sex life; nothing explicit or graphic.”

332. Under the heading “Organizational Risk Factor”, they reference a tweet thread that I posted 17 December about Comic Relief. They say that I “severely criticized and baited a well known funder in the global development space”. They quote my tweet about Rachel Dolezal, Anthony Lennon, Stephonknee Wolscht and Emile Ratelband, and then say:

“The thread continues with a strange reference to support for Nazis and someone responding to Maya’s posts with, ‘Well, as they are “comics”, perhaps it is fitting they have made laughing stocks of themselves.’”

Having researchers engage with potential funders poses an organizational risk for CGD. This particular thread happened on 17 November, so after Luke had already spoken to Maya and she was fully aware of the discussion happening internally at CGD.“

The Quantum Impact report

333. Comic Relief was not to my knowledge a funder of CGD. Luke had not already spoken to me on 17 November (or at all by 13 December — the first time I ever spoke to him was the day before the Diversity and Inclusion training, when he was in London in January, when I walked out to lunch with a group of staff). The comment about Nazis was not part of my thread, but a reply by someone else.

334. These tweets were never shown me, and there is no sign that the consultants or CGD management considered the context of them. If they had asked me, I would have explained that these are three cases that had been reported in the media that illustrate the issues with self-identification. Anthony Ekundayo Lennon is a white theatre director who has identified as black and had been criticised for receiving arts council funding intended for black and minority ethnic artists [1252–1256]. Stephonknee Wolscht is a transgender father who now identifies as a six-year-old girl [1257–1259] Emile Ratelband is a 69-year-old who at the time had launched a legal battle to shift his birthdate by 20 years. He said: “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” [1261–1263].

335. QI recommended that CGD let me know that:

“you had three independent people look through her social media posts and other online materials and all three agree that Maya did cross the line into offensive language. You are not interested in dissecting each sentence to point out where things were offensive in the past. You are interested in laying out clear guidelines for moving forward.”

336. They said CGD should let me know that:

“Complaints — plural — were logged against her. Maya is not entitled to know the names or specifics of those complaints. They were listened to, investigated, and discussed. Leadership discussions on HR are by invitation only and staff are not automatically invited to join.”

337. Suggested guidelines included:

· Absolutely no passing out materials in the office.

· No use of “exclusionary language… that denies the existence of a group of people” for example “trans women are not women”, in the office or at work related events.

· “CGD recognizes gender and gender identity. For example, CGD’s policy for panels means that a transgender woman will be recognized as a woman. Please let Maya know that raising this question will not be appreciated or entertained by the leadership.”

· “If a staff member wants to opt out of working with Maya given her views, they should be allowed to do so without repercussion”.

338. I was not shown the covering email or the long report. I did not know of its existence. When I did read it after disclosure, I was shocked to learn that such an authoritarian and ill-informed report was accepted by CGD and used as a basis for its next steps.

339. As far as I have seen, no formal complaints were logged against me and there was only one response to Luke’s survey of Associate staff in December, which complained that I retweeted a tweet that “advocates the idea that “sex is defined by biology””. Quantum Impact had failed to talk to me (apart from when I sought them out in the lunch break) and instead judged me based on the networks of people I had tweeted, and academics I followed, condemning us all based on simply accepting the views set out in an open letter by people holding the opposite viewpoint.

340. The first confidential report (by Ruth Szabo) recommended that QI consider the UK policy context. They did not do this. And when I had tried to explain some of the policy issues to them, they said that my explanation itself was offensive, as I mentioned genitalia, and was “exclusionary”.

341. On 4 February 2019 Mark Plant emailed Quantum Impact thanking them for their report and saying “the point is made clearly” [1741]. He made some comments on the report to be shown to me, and suggested that the recommendations not be shown to me. Mark said: “we need to have report to which Maya can react. Thus far she has had no means to comment formally on what is being said about her and I firmly believe we need to give her that prerogative.”

342. Farah responded that removing the recommendations from the report might be strange and “Maya may feel she is not being told everything”. Mark and Luke both signed off the reports and agreed that the shorter, vaguer version should be circulated to DC management before being shown to me. [1757].

343. Mark then responded separately to Luke [1742], saying: “I wasn’t sure I agreed with all their conclusions until I substituted the word “gay” for “trans” — and it made sense. I hope I can take that line with Maya. My plan would be to give her the report and ask for any comments she might have. Then have the talk. Then we decide what next…long and complicated.”

344. Mark never did make the argument to me that the reports only made sense if he substituted the word “gay” for trans. If he had, I would have responded explaining that substituting the word “gay” for trans does not make sense, as being gay is not a claim to be something else, whereas the political and policy arguments I was talking about concern the claim that people who identify as trans should be treated as if they are the opposite sex for all purposes, and in particular pointing out the impact this has on women’s rights in areas such as sport and single sex services. There is no parallel with sexual orientation.

345. From 5 to 8 February 2019 I was in Kigali, Rwanda, attending the 2019 International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) Annual Meeting & African Tax Administration Research Day, as a guest of the government of Rwanda and as a CGD Visiting Fellow.

346. On 5 February 2019 Charles Kenny emailed about the proposal for the ongoing work on the Commercial Confidentiality project, noting that for a jointly led project CGD had costed Charles’s time at $32.4k and mine at $16.3k for equal days. [1764]

347. On 6 February 2019 Mark Plant responded to my enquiry and said that the QI report was being run by Masood before it was sent to me [1768]. He sent it to Masood, Amanda, Luke and Sara.

348. On 7 February 2019 Mark Plant sent me the report from Quantum Impact [1774]. He said:

“Per our earlier conversations, please find attached the report by Quantum Impact on your statements and other interventions on gender and sex. As I told you earlier, this is not a formal investigation, but a review of the impact of your statements within CGD. This report has only been seen by the HR teams at CGD and CGDE (Luke and Sara) and by CGD management (Masood, Ellen, Amanda, me). We have not yet taken any action on this report. We ask that you not circulate this report further. The consultants’ final recommendation is that CGD management discuss the situation with you and seek a constructive way forward. Before I have that conversation with you, I would like to give you an opportunity to comment in writing on the review, if you so desire.”

The report is six pages long, in a larger font than the nine-page report (which I was not told about).

[The short QI report]

349. This deliberately “vague” summary of the Quantum impact report [1720] judged that I did not break CGD’s harassment and bullying policy, but that my tweets and draft article nevertheless contained offensive language, constituting “disrespectful conduct”, a term not found in either the US employee handbook [362- 371] or the recently adopted Anti-harassment and bullying policy for CGD Europe [1460–1464].

350. It stated that my tweets had been reviewed by the Director of Human Resources and Quantum Impact, and their analysis had been shared with CGD leadership. Leadership also contacted a legal expert to review and analyse from a legal perspective, and had another senior fellow review the materials. It says there were three independent reviews conducted of the social media posts. These were conducted by an external D&I Expert, External [sic] in Workplace Dispute Resolution and an Internal Fellow. The external D&I consultants also conducted an additional review of tweets after October and staff conversation — “In doing so, the external D&I consultants asked additional experts discrete [sic] questions, including a tenured professor of LGBTQ studies, an HR and legal expert, and a D&I expert engaged in cases involving transgender staff members.”

351. I had never seen any of these analyses, or details of which tweets were judged to be offensive by Quantum Impact or the other reviewers. They appear to relate to QI’s email review of October 2018, Ruth Szabo’s report and Cindy Huang’s email to Mark Plant. They did not at any time interview me.

352. The report also considered my draft blog post and said:

“Although she was not looking to have CGD publish the blog article, she did share the blog article with several colleagues. The article in question also used disrespectful and offensive language including verbiage that suggested that a group of individuals has not existed in history, and language crafted to induce fear against a marginalized community. Such language stands in opposition to CGD’s values of for a non-hostile, fear-free and inclusive workplace.”

353. I was shocked to read the QI report, which was vague (I now know deliberately so) and which described a CGD that I did not recognize — one where people cannot mention sex or genitals in relation to policy areas where sex matters, or talk about areas not directly related to their currently contracted projects, or bring in any political literature.

354. I strongly dispute the characterisation of my tweets and article as using “fear-mongering against a marginalized community”. As I tried to explain several times in emails to Luke, Mark, Amanda and Masood, if there is a word for female people then that word is by necessity exclusionary of male people and vice versa. And if it is legitimate to be able to have services, statistics, schools and sports for male people and female people separately, then it must be possible to use these words and concepts clearly. Saying that women and girls should be able to change, shower and sleep in rooms without male colleagues, classmates or strangers is not fearmongering, but is based on a rational assessment of the needs of women and risks posed to them if they are not able to have privacy and security. The needs of male people who identify as having a female gender identity (“transwomen”) should also be considered and accommodated in public life, but not by making a hostile environment for women. The way to achieve protection of everyone’s rights must involve talking about the conflicts and trade-offs of different policies.

My response to the Quantum Impact report

355. On 11 Feb 2019, I sent an email to Mark and the HR team [1778–1787] attaching my response to the Quantum Impact report [response]. I said that while I agreed with the suggested next step, namely that CGD management discuss the situation with me and seek a constructive way forward, there were several problems with the Quantum Impact report as the basis for this. The issues I raised were:

1. Lack of transparency in judgement of “disrespectful conduct”

  1. Definition and criteria not set out in CGD policy or defined in the consultants’ report.
  2. Detail of writings which were judged as “disrespectful” not disclosed.

2. Inaccurate claims of events (things that did not happen which appear in the report)

a. Substantive discussion with the HR Director on these issues.

b. Handing out pamphlets and information on rallies or events in the office.

c. Talking about individuals’ genitals.

3. Quantum Impact’s analysis is based on a shallow engagement with UK Equality Law and International Human Rights Law

a. Quantum Impact do not appear to understand UK equality law.

b. Quantum Impact argue that “changing norms and standards” make existing human rights protections for women outdated.

4. General suggestions for “out of line behaviours” that are inappropriate for a think tank

a. Prohibition on sharing materials advocating policy actions unless specifically related to people’s direct jobs.

b. Prohibition on talking about genitals or sex-related topics.

356. I said that I did not think that the QI report was useful in finding a way forward, and that, given the inaccuracies, the misreading of CGDE’s culture and policies, and the lack of clearly articulated support for its judgement, I did not accept the report in its current state. I said that while Quantum Impact judged me guilty of using “disrespectful and offensive language” they did not quote any particular language. I went on:

“I suspect the issue is not one of language (which could be rectified by editing, deleting particular tweets and apologising for poor choice of language) but substantive differences in opinion about whether being a woman is a matter of biology or identity, and a reflection of broader pressure across society to shut down debate on this issue. l would hope that the heart of CGD’s culture is a commitment to hold open the space for debate, analysis and evidence on policy relevant issues, rather than to take offence at them. “

357. I asked that this response be shared with Masood, Ellen and Amanda. Mark sent it on. Ellen then responded to Amanda by email (which I only saw in disclosure): “Presumably, you have now been given a mandate OVER Mark and CGDE. Can you put an end to this? We should not invest any more time or resources into dealing with Maya. We will pursue a social media policy, but we should end our affiliation with her.” [1788], I do not know what this mandate refers to (Amanda Glassman was appointed Chief Executive of CGD Europe from 1 June 2019).

358. In my response, which was seven pages long, I referenced academics such as Rosa Freedman, Michael Biggs, Alice Sullivan, Judith Suissa, not realizing that QI had told CGD that such academics were also offensive in their beliefs, and therefore that citing them would just be seen as further evidence that my words were offensive. I realized I was facing an unfair and biased report, but I did not know how biased because the core of their argument (as set out in the letter against Kathleen Stock that they relied on) was not even shown to me.

359. During this time I tried to continue with work, including spending time in the office, attending CGD lunches and meetings, and introducing myself as a visiting fellow (and being featured on the website). I published blog posts on the CGD site [1894–1896], succeeded in getting a letter published in the FT (in which I am named as a visiting fellow) [1897], and contributed to a kick-off meeting for the Gates funded project with colleagues and Vishal Gujandur, where I was presented as an integral part of the team.

360. Right up to 6 March 2019 I continued to work on the Commercial Confidentiality project, which was ongoing, both on the report of the working group and blogpost to go with it, and on planning the next phase including conversations with the funder, although I had billed for the last part of the contract, which officially ended at the end of December. It was not uncommon for the actual dates of work on a project not ultimately to align exactly with those specified in a contract (as had been the case with editing the papers commissioned in 2017 that were not finally published until mid-2018). The understanding and expectation was that I would not simply “down tools” when this happened but would complete the work, which is what I did.

Next steps

361. On 13 February 2019 I met with Mark to discuss next steps. I said that the Quantum Impact report was inadequate, and Mark agreed, so we set it aside. I proposed a way forward to create more of a separation between my role at CGD and my writing about gender and sex: I said that while I stood by the content of my previous tweets I had decided to tweet less on this topic on my main Twitter account, since most followers were interested in tax and development. I said would not raise the topic in conversation in the office again and accepted that I should not have left the Fair Play for Women booklet on the desk in the office, as I was a “hot desker” and I so shouldn’t really be leaving anything on a desk at the end of the day. Mark agreed with this plan, and said they should get on with contracting for the project.

362. I stated again that I had not been told which of my tweets were offensive. Mark finally gave me some verbal indications, saying that the tweets with the phrase “no material reality” were judged to be offensive. (This refers to my tweet of 1 October 2018, after the initial complaint.) He said there had also been complaints about a video that I tweeted which has a black, red and white colour scheme and has ominous music and was said to “remind people of the Nazis” (I interpreted this to refer to the Fair Play for Women video that I tweeted on 13 October [1125–1148]). Looking at the documents disclosed by the Respondent, it does not appear that there was a complaint about this; rather, it appears this was a comment made by Cindy Huang on 7 December [1668]. Cindy was supposed to be one of the independent assessors, but I now know that she had been “organizing opposition” to me being renewed as a Visiting Fellow on 3 November, together with Ellen Mackenzie and Holly Shulman — see paragraph 232 above.

363. I thought we had reached agreement on a way forward where I would be a visiting fellow as planned. But at the end of the meeting, once the steps were agreed, Mark said: “I don’t want to take the visiting fellowship nomination back to the SPG for a decision, I think you should just be a consultant.” I was shocked and upset by this, as I did not think this was the basis on which we were discussing. I excused myself and left the meeting and the building because I did not want him or other colleagues to see me cry. I saw Owen Barder at the front door on the way out and he saw that I was upset and asked if I wanted to discuss it. I said I would appreciate that.

364. On 14 February 2019 I met Owen Barder outside of the office and we discussed the situation. He suggested that I try to speak to Masood directly, and said that if I wanted to stay as a visiting fellow I should pursue this option without turning down the potential of just being a consultant. I took his advice.

365. On 15 February 2019 I emailed Mark [1802], saying:

“Sorry for walking out on you on Wednesday. I was quite upset and needed to gather my thoughts. I appreciate all that you have done to argue for me in the SPG up to this point.

Continuing as a visiting fellow at CGD is important to me, both for external legitimacy and internal belonging. I value being able to introduce myself as [a] visiting fellow at CGD, and also to publish blogposts and papers under the CGD name, as well as being part of the extended team, in London and also engaging with others on the DRM project. Of course legally, in either case I would be a consultant. But it would be a loss to me to fall out of the organisation into a no man’s land position of no affiliation in this way, both for my immediate work with CGD on the tax project, and outreach on commercial confidentiality, and personally for whatever I do next. I am not willing to give up on something which is important to me by walking away from it. If the SPG decide they don’t want me as a visiting fellow that should be their decision.

Happy to talk it through with you — is the downside risk that if I push to stay as a visiting fellow I end up out of the project altogether? Is it worth me talking with you and Masood, since his is the view which ultimate[ly] matters most?”

366. On 15 February Mark emailed Luke reflecting on this discussion [1801], saying: “Maya wants her case to be considered by the SPG for visiting fellow. I’m not inclined to dissuade her. Do you think we could get away without circulating the QI report and Maya’s response?” Luke responded calling the report “somewhat flawed”, but saying to bring Maya forward without the report might seem like withholding information. Luke said he didn’t think I had good prospects to be reappointed as a visiting Fellow, but said: “if this is what she wants best not stick our necks out further by being less than transparent”.

367. Disclosures show Mark’s emailed Masood, Ellen and Amanda on 18 February [1804] to tell them about our discussion: “I had a discussion with Maya last week. She seems to understand the sensitivities involved in her work on sex/gender and that it should be kept out of the workplace, unless there is a specific invitation by a colleague to talk about it. She is also sensitive to ensuring that her tweets show respect for others and do not dismiss the dignity and feelings of trans and other people. Finally, she understands that CGD policy is that trans women (or men) are women or men and that we do not make the sex/gender distinction in our workplace.”

368. On 18 February [1804] Ellen responded: “I find it surprising that Maya seems to have now developed an understanding of the issues and concerns we’ve expressed, and embraced CGD’s policies. It was only a week ago, in her written response to the QI report, that she totally rejected the findings. As Masood stated in an earlier meeting, (and as our policy states) we hold contractors to the same standards as staff and visitors. I would not support Maya as a VF, and therefore do not think we should engage her as a consultant.”

369. On 18 February Mark responded to my email and on 19 february we arranged to meet on the 20th via Blue Jeans.

370. On 19 February [1806] Luke responded to Mark, Masood, Ellen and Amanda that although not formally a member of SPG, he I would not support me as a VF. However whether I should be disqualified as a consultant is less clear. He said: “I agree with Ellen that Maya’s response to the report was rather defiant, but acknowledge the report is flawed in some ways. This was also Maya’s first engagement in the process and it must have landed hard. However, she should by now be clear we are not willing to debate the nuances of her position but instead insist on restraint and a clear firewall around discussion of these issues with colleagues in the workplace while we develop the organizational policy QI has recommended.”

371. I now see that on 19 February [1809] Ellen emailed Mark (copying Luke) with the subject “Maya no longer a VF” said: “Whether or not you engage Maya as a contractor, it is clear she is no longer a VF at CGD. I’d like to email web updates to have her removed from our website. We also need to terminate her email. We do not offer emails to consultants. We can give her a couple of weeks notice, and then she can leave an OOO for a month to redirect.”

372. Mark responded to Ellen at 10:54am on the 20 January “Given this is still in discussion, I’d rather not signal a final decision to Maya until the SPG meets next week. So let’s hold off on changing the email and website until that meeting. One week more won’t cost us anything.” [1816]

373. At 2pm on 20 January Mark and I discussed what I wanted, and steps forward again. I again said that I understood that CGD did not want to discuss this issue and I would separate my writing and tweeting on the issue from my main Twitter account and not initiate discussions with colleagues. He asked me to write a note to the SPG setting out the proposed way forward, on how I would avoid giving any potential offence by mentioning the topic in the office, but continue to engage on the topic outside of my work at CGD. He agreed that he would take the decision to the SPG at my request. Although it seems from the emails of the day before that the the decision had already been made at this point not to renew my visiting fellowship.

374. I also asked to speak with Masood directly.

375. On 21 February it was announced that Mikaela Gavas would be joining staff as a Co-Director of our Europe / UK Policy Program and Senior Policy Fellow.

376. On Friday 22 February 2019 I sent an email to Mark [1820–1824] with a draft note and attaching my response to the Quantum Impact report.

I said:

“The issue at hand is my belief that women exist, as a material reality based on biological sex and that human rights protections for women and girls on the basis of sex need to continue. Protections for women’s equality in policy, law and practice rely on having a clear definition of women as female people. This excludes men from the definition of women, but it does not mean that males, including transgender males are excluded from universal human rights. Specific and separate civil rights protections are needed to protect transgender people from discrimination and harassment.”

“I suspect that at the heart of this is not an issue of specific language or tone, but the substantive difference in opinion that exists about whether it is acceptable to say that the definition of women is based on biology and excludes men (including those who identify as transwomen). Or whether that in itself is seen as an offensive thing to say.”

“This is not just a matter of words. I extend people the courtesy of calling them by whatever name and pronouns they request in most social situations. But there are live policy issues about whether women and girls should be forced to share prison cells and women’s refuges, changing and washing facilities in schools and public places, and women’s sports competitions with male-bodied people. The case may be made in either direction, and arguments should be heard, but language prohibitions prevent these discussions taking place clearly, and prevent women from understanding the rights they currently have, and that they stand to lose if they lose the definition of woman.”

377. I also said:

“I have shared drafts of the article with people including Rosa Freedman, Professor of Law Conflict and Global Development at the University of Reading, Kathleen Stock, Professor of Philosophy at Sussex University (who said “I generally think it is excellent” as well as giving specific comments), Karin Christensen from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Caroline Anstey of the InterAmerican Development Bank. Debbie Hayton (a transwoman) said “Clear objective and well structured. You speak a lot of sense and speak it very welI”, Helen Joyce, senior staff journalist at The Economist who has written and commissioned several pieces on transgender issues said “This is a clear, compassionate and balanced exposition of issues that are extremely important to protecting women’s rights. Both transgender people and women deserve laws that protect their privacy and dignity, and it is well past time for a civilised, open debate on how best to achieve both those aims.”

“In any other situation where there was a controversial, policy relevant issue I think we would be inviting Rosa Freedman, Helen Joyce and others who have thought carefully about this topic to sit around our table with interested members of CGD staff and potentially also the wider network of policy makers and people from development organisations that are grappling with the issues and policy questions. Instead the question is being dealt with as a quasi-disciplinary matter about whether one woman is allowed to voice an opinion.”

378. I did not know at this point that Mark and Luke (and whoever else in senior management had seen it) had already accepted QI’s long report saying that people such as Professors Rosa Freedman and Kathleen Stock were themselves offensive.

379. I stated, as I had to Mark:

“I recognise that this issue does not directly relate to my work on tax at CGD, and that colleagues at CGD have their own freedom of belief and speech to choose which issues to talk about. I added a disclaimer to my twitter bio when that was requested of me and have since decided not to tweet very much about this issue on my main twitter account @mforstater, as most of my followers there follow me for content on tax, accountability and sustainable development. Nor will I initiate conversation about it in the office.”

“I will, however, continue to write about it and engage in public debate in my own name outside of these two venues. And I am always willing to talk to anyone, whether on tone and language, substantive issues or on how to take the debate forward. “

380. Mark sent my email on not to the SPG but to Masood, Amanda, Ellen and Luke with a cover note. [1825–1826] He said:

“After Maya responded to the Quantam [sic] Impact report, I had two discussions with her. The first one was an extended one where we discussed the report and, while I acknowledged it had some deficiencies, I explained that the basic finding held that she had used language that some found offensive and that the particular policy debate in which she is engaged was not central to CGD work and should be not engaged in unless individuals at CGD/E solicited a discussions, especially as her policy position was at odds with our corporate position on transgender people. She understood this and agreed that materials related to this issue should not be distributed in the office and that she should take care in her engagement on Twitter not to promote hate speech or deny people’s dignity.”

381. This is not accurate — we had not discussed “hate speech” or “denying people’s dignity”, since I would have asked what was the definition of that, and defended myself against the implied accusation of promoting hate speech. What I had said was that I had decided I would not discuss the issue on my twitter account anymore, and would not tweet news about it much, if at all. I do not accept that I have “promoted hate speech”.

382. Mark said in his email to Masood, Ellen, Amanda and Luke that he would support my reappointment as visiting fellow for one year. He reiterated that CGD has promoted a culture of allowing fellows to take any position they want on a policy issue:

“there is no corporate line on policy issues. But clearly there are some policy positions we would find abhorrent and would want to disassociate ourselves from someone who took them (e.g., at an extreme, racial extremism or apartheid). The question is whether Maya’s position is so extreme that it merits disassociation. I would argue that that it does not.”

383. He said that, absent a corporate position, he would be hard pressed to identify “the policy line she stepped over”. And if it is not about my policy line, but my behaviour, he said:

“then we are on weak grounds. The reports find that she did not violate our bullying and harassment policies (some of which were articulated after her tweets began). She understands that she may have inadvertently offended people and raised issues that are not appropriate to our workplace and has moderated her behavior. I would note that she has taken all remedial measures we have asked of her to date.”

384. He said: “I know the others on this email disagree with me and this is now a matter for Masood to decide. I will of course respect that decision. I hope, if it is against continuing her as a policy fellow that we can keep her on as a consultant.” He said:

“Amanda, Ellen and I discussed a way forward different than that I described in my last email on this topic — if the decision is in favor of Maya continuing as a visiting fellow, then it would be brought up at next week’s SPG, but without the background documents and her responses. Instead, Masood and/or I would describe the process we went through and he would put his decision forward. If the decision was against her being a visiting fellow, no SPG action would be needed.”

385. He also passed on my request to speak to Masood.

386. On 22 Feb 2019 Mark responded to me [1838]: “This has just gone to Masood, Amanda, Ellen and Luke. There will be some discussion amongst us as to how to take forward before forwarding other documents.” However, I can see from his email of the same day that he had no plans to forward the documents but only himself or Masood to present orally.

387. On 25 February 2019 I received an email to Mark, to which I was accidentally copied into by Masood’s PA [1850]. It said:

“Hi Mark — I am scheduling a call for Masood with Maya later this week. Ellen’s asked me to reach out to you to please provide talking points to Masood re: the decision before he speaks with her. Thanks”.

388. I responded to Mark:

“Has a decision been made then?

I thought the idea was that I was asked to write in my own words, so that the decision would be taken by the SPG?

If a decision has already been made please just let me know.”

389. Mark replied:

“Yes, Masood has decided not to pursue the option of visiting fellow. He does want to explain his reasoning to you.

I’m truly sorry that an email mistake prompted this.”

390. Mark then wrote to Masood telling him this and including talking points for the call [1847–1848]

391. I wrote to Mark on 26 February, copying in Masood [1856]:

“The mis-sent email at least gave me an honest view into the decision process. If a person needs to be given talking points after the fact in order to explain their reasoning then that suggests it is not their reasoning. I do not want second hand talking points and I do not trust verbal communication anymore. Everything that has been said to me verbally has been later withdrawn: that if CGD got the Gates Foundation grant I would be employed as a staff member to work on the project. Then that offer was rescinded and I was told I could continue as a Visiting Fellow. Then that offer became uncertain and I was told that the decision was in the hands of the SPG and that if I wanted them to consider it I should write to them in my own words explaining how I propose to keep a separation between my work at CGD and my wish to continue to express an opinion on women’s sex based rights. When i did this some other decision making process came into play and the decision was taken out of the hands of the SPG.

This untransparent process has gone on for three months now, with people writing reports about me, and talking about me in meetings to which I have had no input or visibility. I would appreciate a clear response from the decision makers, whoever they are, about the decision that they have made.”

392. On 27 February 2019 I tried to contact Sue Owen by email again [1854]. I said: “I would very much appreciate an opportunity to talk with you about this situation, in you [sic] role as CGD trustee and mine as visiting fellow about to lose her job for expressing a view on the sex and gender debates. I would appreciate any advice.” I did not receive a reply.

393. I now know that Sue Owen had forwarded my email on to Mark Plant, and on 27 February 2019 [1891] Mark replied to Sue Owen:

“We have decided not to renew her as a visiting fellow. (No more mention on the website as one of our experts. No CGD email address).

We are willing to offer her a contract to do work on international tax initiatives and corporate confidentiality at the same rate she was being paid before.”

Call with Masood Ahmed

394. On 28 February 2019 I had a call with Masood Ahmed, which I recorded [transcript] because, as I said in my email, I no longer trusted verbal communication. He told me he had decided that he didn’t want to renew my visiting fellowship, but that Mark wanted me to work for CGD as a consultant on the Gates project, and he was happy to allow this. He said he had reached this decision because CGD recognises people for whatever sex or gender they identify as, and that my position on this had led to a lot of distress among other staff, so that he could not get consensus among the senior fellows that my visiting fellowship should be renewed.

395. I pointed out that in UK discrimination law there is a protected characteristic of sex and it is not self-identified, but what it says on your birth certificate. I argued that to say that my viewpoint, which is aligned to UK law, is unacceptable because the CGD takes a view which is not aligned to UK law, could not in my view be justified. I ask on what grounds other than expediency a decision was being made that I would not be part of the team.

396. Masood Ahmed replied that he was making a “hiring decision”, and repeated that the issue was a lack of consensus. He assured me he did want to be consistent with the law in the UK, and so he would double check that this was the case.

397. I pointed out that I was named as a full-time employee in the proposal to the Gates Foundation and that CGD had made a verbal commitment to employ me, and the lack of consensus was based on the fact that I had an opinion that is consistent with UK law. I also argued that it would not be possible to do the job as a consultant, as, for example, I would not be allowed to write single-authored blog posts on the website, and I would not be part of the team or able to introduce myself to people externally as being part of CGD. I said that I did not think it would be possible to continue to work with CGD for the next two years under these conditions, where I was made to feel worthless and told I had no status in the organisation.

398. Masood Ahmed noted that I was upset and suggested that we take some time out to think a bit more about whether and how it would be possible for me to work on the Gates project and we could talk about it again. I agreed to this and the conversation ended there.

399. He followed up with an email to Mark, Ellen and Amanda [1871] saying that we had had a difficult conversation and I had said that I was “being denied employment for holding a view that is consistent with UK law and for standing up for women’s rights”. He noted that I felt it would not be feasible to continue to do the work on the DRM project as a consultant “while being told that ‘she is not wanted or respected or valued as an employee or affiliate by CGD”, and had raised the question of blogs.

400. He wrote to Mark: “I think the most useful next step is for you to engage with her on the consultancy and see if she is willing to take that on.”

401. Mark responded [1875], and proposed waiting on contacting me until next week “to let things settle down”. He mentioned the Commercial Confidentiality project “where Charles is providing the inspiration but Maya is doing the detailed work”. Masood responded that he could not see me doing the next phase of the project.

402. Ellen also responded to Masood’s original email copying in Mark and Amanda [1872]:

“I think she wants to use her “not doing the work” as leverage over us.
I would put all discussions in writing.
I would offer her a contract but give her a short window to decide. Maybe we have the contract written and email it to her as part of the discussion.
I would be prepared to go back to Gates and ask for this specific deliverable to be redirected.

Separately, this raises concerns for me on our policy on VF’s. I think the line was very blurred with Maya. We should have more guidelines surrounding these appointments.”

403. Mark responded saying: “I’m fine with reprogramming Gates if needed. Masood had already hinted at this with Gargee. As per the earlier email, I’m a bit more concerned about Omidyar, even though the money is small.” He said he would work on the contract and agreed with Ellen on guidelines for VF hiring, as well as needing a “discussion on what speech/twitter from our staff (visiting and permanent) goes too far?”

404. Masood [1877] took others off the email and replied directly to Mark “We can’t keep engaging her to do more and more work for us as a consultant after saying we wont hire her as a visiting fellow. It will become progressively untenable. And I doubt she will agree or, if she does, be a happy team member.”

405. On the main email chain Ellen confirmed that without a formal affiliation I would not be able to write blogs on the site. She suggested cutting ties. Masood said to leave it over the weekend for me to “absorb and react and take stock on Monday”.

Follow up on the call with Masood

406. On Friday 1 March 2019 I sent an email to the Ombudsman [1880–1881], Geetha Ravindra, headed: “Your advice please: Discrimination”. I summarized the conclusions of the call with Masood Ahmed and stated that I was drafting a note to him saying that the offer to remain only as a consultant did not align with my expectations.

407. After talking it over with Geetha Ravindra (which she promised to keep confidential), I decided to write a shorter email to Masood in order to confirm my understanding before taking further steps or decisions.

I asked him to confirm: [1884]

· CGD views the process of deciding whether to renew my term as a Visiting Fellow as a hiring decision.

· You have decided not to take that decision to the SPG because you predict there would not be consensus amongst the senior fellows.

· The reason for the lack of consensus is because some people object to my view on sex and gender identity, as reflected on twitter, and the fact that i have stated that I intend to continue to engage and write on this topic outside of CGD.

· CGD would like instead to hire me as a consultant over two years to work on the Gates funded tax project and also to undertake the final part of the Commercial Confidentiality (Luminate funded) project.

· CGD does not recognise the protected characteristic of sex as recorded on someone’s birth certificate but takes the position that sex is a self-defined characteristic which is interchangeable with self-defined gender identity.

408. I asked that he let me know by close of business on Monday, if possible, whether these are correct understandings.

409. I did not hear anything back by the close of business on Monday, or at all.

410. Disclosures show internal discussions in response to this. Masood decides to take legal advice and on 5 March Mark emailed Masood and Ellen [1900]. “See below from the lawyers [redacted] And we’ll see what happens” [1903] Ellen said: “Agree he should send email ASAP”. Masood said: “Let’s do it,” and asked his assistant Raksha to send the email. Mark then sent the text to Raskha and asked her to send it from Masood’s account.

411. On Tuesday 5 March, I received an email from Masood Ahmed with the subject line “Update” [1905]. It said:

“Dear Maya, In follow-up to our phone conversation last Thursday, I wanted to confirm in writing that your appointment as visiting fellow at CGD will not be renewed for a third year with immediate effect. In one week’s time your CGD email account will be closed. Thank you for your contribution to CGD and CGD-Europe’s work over the last two and a half years.”

412. I was shocked by this. While I had initially said on the phone that I did not think I could stay on as a consultant, Masood had asked me to take time to think about it and I had agreed to that. He had said that he would check on the issue with blog posts, as he said he was not aware of this policy, and we had agreed to discuss it further. I took it from the shortness and finality of this message, and the fact that Masood had not responded to my request to confirm my understanding of the conversation, that the offer to continue to work as a consultant was now no longer on the table.

413. I accept that immediately after 25 February 2019 I was not sure whether I was prepared to work as a consultant if my Visiting Fellowship was not renewed, as this demotion would be detrimental to my reputation, my personal wellbeing and my future earnings. But my mind was not yet made up on that when the decision was taken out of my hands.

Leaving CGD

414. On 6 March 2019 I sent an email to all staff, headed “Dear colleagues — on leaving CGD” [1935], in which I expressed my sadness at leaving and set out the reasons why I was leaving. I explained why I thought it was important to be able to talk about these policy questions and said:

“However in tweeting about the issue I caused offence and complaints were raised to CGD management. Following an investigation it was found that I had not violated CGD’s bullying and harassment policy, but I had nevertheless said things, including in the draft of the article I published today that some people find ‘offensive and disrespectful’. The offer for me to be employed at CGD to work on the DRM project was rescinded. Finally the offer to continue as a visiting fellow was also withdrawn last week.”

415. I also published the blog post I had been writing since October [Blogpost] and publicised the blog post on Twitter.

416. I did not hear anything back from CGD management after that, although I did get a number of personal responses from CGD staff, including a message from Nancy Birdsall, Senior Fellow and Founder of CGD, which said: “Maya: It is a big loss for CGD. I have followed your work eagerly. I looked at your article and couldn’t see anything that I would call “offensive and disrespectful”. I fear your departure will be seen as reflecting the unconscious sexism we are all trying to avoid.” [1936]

I also got supportive messages, among others from Charles Kenney [1934], Kalipso Chalkidou [1935], Ian Mitchell [1946], Bill Savedoff [1929], Caitlin McKee [1960] and Michele de Nevers [1977].

417. I also sent a similar message to other people in my professional networks, including fellow CGD alumni, members of the commercial confidentiality working group which I disappeared from, and funders and other contacts I had been working with.

418. On 6 March [1937] Mark sent an email to Masood, Ellen, Amanda, Holly, Luke, Sara and Reetan (the finance director in London), saying: “Dear all The email Maya sent is creating quite a stir around here, as I imagine it is in DC. But given Maya was a close colleague here, it cuts a bit more deeply.”

419. Mark says: “Of course her email was incorrect, particularly regarding being unasked from doing her work on DRM, but I don’t think contradicting her will help us at all.” I do not accept that my email was incorrect. As I have explained above it had always been the mutual expectation that if we were successful in raising funds for the DRM project, based in part on my profile and work, and the work I had put into developing the proposal, that I would be employed as a staff member to do the work.

420. On 6 March this email chain continues. Amanda suggests wording for an all-staff email from Masood [1953]. She said: “I do think we need to clarify that an official offer to continue as a VF or to participate in the DRM grant was not made so as to eliminate any legal confusion.” Amanda’s text says that my contract and visiting fellowship had expired and “Management of CGD judged that the positions she took on sex and gender were not consistent with the values of CGD as an institution, and that we would not renew the formal relationship. Many of you may disagree with the decision. Like all difficult decisions, there is no black and white, but rest assured it was taken with due deliberation, including getting advice from outsiders and, of course, hearing Maya’s views.” Masood said this draft was good.

421. Ellen then emailed Masood alone [1954], saying: “[Part of the in-person discussion should mention that we went to great lengths to make it work with Maya by engaging QI, etc…..Paraphrasing their report — We never tried to convince Maya (or anyone) that her opinions in question were incorrect. But we tried to make absolutely clear what CGD’s internal policies and guidelines are with regard to respectful dialogue and set expectations for the future. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our efforts to find a way forward.” Masood replies to Ellen that a verbal communication with everyone in DC and London will be impossible.

422. Later Amanda follows up [1939] to her own email with another, saying that Ellen advises putting nothing in writing but only stating verbally that my contract ended at the end of December and my visiting fellow appointment on the same date. “That’s it.”

423. Mark replied:

“Maya is a friend and colleague to many here, unlike DC where she is only known by a few. To say it was just the end of the contract is a dodge. Everyone here knows there were complaints, a process, etc. as do many in Washington. Management has to own this decision and articulate at some level its reasoning or Maya’s email controls the narrative.

And staff here are asking rightful questions — where is the line that I might step over inadvertently or purposefully? We don’t have a good answer to that. If we don’t acknowledge that and commit to a process to figure out how to articulate a policy, then it perpetuates the observation that it isn’t rules and values that govern how we work together, it is a set of arbitrary decisions made based on who is “in” and who is “out.” And that’s only likely to get worse in the months to come.”

424. Masood agrees that there should be something in writing. Ellen then responds to [1958], saying not to say anything about my position regarding sex and gender, and to assume I will see any all-staff email. She suggests:

“After several complaints to human resources, we felt it important to address concerns regarding activities that made several colleagues feel uncomfortable. We never tried to convince Maya that her opinions in question were incorrect. Our goal was to set clear guidelines with regard to respectful dialogue in the workplace and set expectations for the future. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our efforts to find a mutual way forward.”

425. I disagree with Ellen’s description that there were “several complaints to human resources”. There were no formal complaints, and as far as we have seen there was only one person willing to fill in the written survey. There was no formal complaint investigation process, and insofar as there were efforts to find a mutual way forward, I agreed with Mark Plant not to initiate discussion about the topic in the office and said that I had decided not to tweet about it on my main account. I did everything that was asked of me.

426. Conversely, at no stage did anyone from the Respondents articulate to me any “clear guidelines” about “respectful dialogue” or how any of my external or internal communications had breached any such guidelines. Certainly, I never rejected any “mutual way forward”. It is clear to me from what I have now seen in the disclosure that in fact the real problem was not any particular aspect of what I had said but a fundamental objection to my beliefs themselves by a number of the senior people who were participating in the decisions

427. Mark’s response to Ellen reflects this. He says:

“I respectfully disagree with Ellen. Maya did everything we asked of her and agreed to moderate her behavior and did so. There was no negotiation to find a way forward. Management decided it didn’t want to renew her appointment as a senior fellow. For transparency management should say why. The only thing Maya was intransigent on was her views.”

428. There is nothing in the disclosures to indicate that an all-staff email was agreed and sent, and staff members I was in contact with at the time said that a management statement was promised but never appeared.

429. These emails, in which Mark states that I did everything asked of me, were only disclosed in January 2022 after my legal team had to make additional disclosure requests on 05 November 2021 and again on 17 January 2022.

430. I do not accept that I was “intransigent”. I hold an ordinary belief, shared with the majority of people, that human beings, like all mammals, are sexually reproducing animals and that being one sex or the other has implications for our personal, social life, and for the risks and barriers we face and therefore for law and public policy. I was truthful about this belief.

431. In the notes to the March 2019 COO report to the Trustees of CGDE, it is noted that my visiting fellowship was not renewed, and that I have been removed from the staff headcount [400].

432. CGD’s values as expressed at the time when I lost my job were:

“We strive for excellence and intellectual rigor.

We believe global prosperity starts with smart policy based on evidence. Our work is non-partisan, and our recommendations are not influenced by our funders. We are willing to challenge powerful institutions and the status quo to promote better, evidence-based practice. We are committed to transparency, diversity, and professional and personal integrity. We value mutual respect, a collegial work place and a healthy sense of humor.” [1984]

433. I believe that my conduct was consistent with CGD’s stated values and professional expectations in my role. I have been discriminated against, harassed and victimised because of holding and expressing gender critical belief, and for not being willing to deny my belief and express the contrary belief in “gender identity ideology” i.e. that “trans women are women”. Both of these beliefs are covered by S.10 of the Equality Act 2010, as has been established in the EAT judgment on the preliminary issue in this case.

434. The long process of losing my job at CGD left me emotionally and professionally damaged. Throughout this long period I was expected to (and did) act professionally with external partners; funders for ongoing and forthcoming work; and external members of the Commercial Confidentiality working group, presenting myself as part of CGD with external stakeholders and talking about planning for projects into 2019, while all the while, first unknown to me and then gradually revealed piece by piece, my future with the organisation was removed. This was very stressful and destabilising.

435. I was humiliated by Mark announcing the Gates Grant to the whole team at CGD Europe in my presence while so obviously cutting me out of it. I had invested significant amounts of time and effort, while working in insecure conditions, to secure funding for long-term work at CGD. And then, just at the moment when those efforts came to fruition and the grant was agreed, that promise was taken away from me.

436. I was isolated from colleagues, as I had been told not to talk to them and I did not know who in Washington DC had already concluded I must be a bigot, and on what basis. I began to doubt myself and my worth.

437. During all the time when my tweets were being investigated and my future at CGD was at risk, I felt isolated, uncertain and anxious, as the process was not clear and steps that had been agreed did not happen or were changed. Reports were written about me that were not shared. I never had a chance to hear the accusations against me or to defend myself.

438. As promises were gradually broken I felt betrayed, angry and despondent, and foolish for having trusted anyone. I was unable to sleep and I stopped taking exercise. I became withdrawn and disengaged from family activities. I found it difficult to pick myself up and plan again for the future, or to trust people.

439. As the details of what was happening in Washington, with the various investigations and meetings and the way I was portrayed, have been revealed, I recognise that I was manipulated by being fed a partial and false narrative that made me question my judgment and lose self-confidence.

440. On 8 March 2019, as it was International Women’s Day, I posted my blog post on Twitter again and it attracted a lot of interest. I also stated that “I’ve lost my job at @cgdev over this”. This led to me receiving some legal advice and in turn bringing this claim.

441. On 15 March 2019, I presented a claim in the employment tribunal against CGDE. This was a protected act. I presented the claim as quickly as possible having learnt that I was not without legal rights as I had believed.

442. I also acted promptly to try and secure alternative employment and consultancy work. As part of this I told Vishal Gujadhur at the Gates Foundation about what had happened, and I met with him in London on 8 March 2019. He was surprised, as his understanding was that I was part of the team that would undertake this work. He suggested that if I found another institution, the Gates Foundation would strongly consider supporting me to undertake similar work elsewhere. In the end this did not happen as organisations that considered me decided I was “too controversial”.

443. On 9 April 2019, in response to an invitation to attend Owen Barder’s leaving party, I told Sara Godfrey and Luke Easley that I had put in an employment tribunal claim for discrimination [1982].

444. On 5 May 2019, I launched a CrowdJustice campaign in order to raise funds for legal representation [1987]. My CrowdJustice page referenced CGD and linked to my personal biography page on their site. My story also featured in the Sunday Times [1985].

445. After going public about the circumstances that led to my leaving CGD, I heard from people working in the sector who tweeted my article.

446. I learnt from Jonathan Glennie that, on 5 May 2019, he was contacted by Amanda Glassman, who wrote:

“Just to say — maya was offered a follow on contract after her consulting contract expired which she declined. Her affiliations visiting fellow {which is more honorific) expired and we did not renew. She took down tweets which were explicit about people’s genitals and related. They were vulgar and disrespectful. This is just inaccurate.” [1998–1999]

447. He was also contacted by Michael Clemens, who wrote:

“Jonathan I saw your tweets about Maya Forstater. I wonder if you would consider tweeting a clarification, or if you are interested writing a story about it. Forstater “declined” CGD’s offer of a renewed, paid consultancy contract. The claim that she was sacked or fired is a lie. Her complaint that she is “the breadwinner of her family” is a lie because she declined CGD’s paid offer. Beyond this she was using her work communications to disseminate statements to the *entire office* that the gender of some employees here is imaginary and *does not exist*, a completely inappropriate act in violation of our personnel policy, that CGD could and should be sued for if it allowed that to continue.”

448. In reply, Jonathan said he would be happy to share a response from CGD. Michael Clemens replied:

“She is suing CGD, which constrains what I can say publicly, which is why I am communicating to you privately that she is lying. The person whose claims you trusted when writing your own statement on this subject does not deserve your trust. All I can do is let you know the facts of the matter. All my best wishes to you.” [1999]

449. These statements are untrue. I did not take down “tweets which were explicit about people’s genitals, or that were vulgar and disrespectful”. I very rarely take down tweets. I am the main breadwinner in my family. I did not decline CGD’s paid offer: it was taken away while I was still thinking about it. I did not disseminate statements to the *entire office* that the gender of some employees here is imaginary and *does not exist* or say any other disrespectful things. I have consistently talked about sex, and my concern about the legal and policy treatment of the idea of gender identity. I did not talk about the gender of any people in the office (and as far as I know there were no transgender people at CGD).

450. On 7 May 2019 Paddy Carter messaged me and said:

“I have been contacted by Mark plant, amands g and Micheal Clemens all telling me I’ve got my facts wrong you weren’t fired, your version of events is inaccurate. I’ve told them I don’t want anything to do with it. I’m going to stop tweeting about this (at least until your case is heard). Cowed.” [2008]

451. I do not know how many other people have received similar messages. This damages my reputation. These statements about deleted tweets and disrespectful behaviour in the office are impossible for me to refute and lead professional and personal contacts of mine to think, on authority they will naturally assume is good, that I have said horrible things and acted unprofessionally.

452. After this, whenever I went to meetings and conferences, I felt anxious about which people had received messages from CGD declaring me a liar and someone who had harassed colleagues. I stopped going to meetings and conferences.

453. I can see from the official letters that were drafted to be sent out to funders and collaborating organisations after I launched my crowd funder, that my fears that people were talking about me were well founded. In the letter drafted for funders of projects I had worked on, and for members of the board, CGD staff said that despite their “high tolerance of diverse views” I “caused offense to many”. In all letters they said “All individuals who are affiliated with CGD are expected to uphold our respectful workplace policy, outlined on our website which notes ‘We are committed to transparency, diversity, and professional and personal integrity. We value mutual respect, a collegial work place and a healthy sense of humor’”. This strongly suggests that the reason my relationship with CGD ended was because I breached this standard of behaviour. I do not know who these messages were sent to amongst the boards of CGD and CGDE and amongst funders such as Ford Foundation, Luminate, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the Hewlett Foundation. [2001] I do know that when I have reached out to many people in these foundations, and in other organisations in the sector subsequently, their response has been cold.

454. When I first left CGD, my expert page had been updated to “Former Visiting Fellow” and included under “Alumni” rather than “Visiting Fellows” [2043]. This was normal and in line with the way other former staff, visiting fellows and interns were presented. Their profiles also remained on the site and accessible via the alumni page [2051].

455. On Saturday 18 May 2019 I noticed that CGD had removed my “expert” profile from the website altogether. The url instead directed to a message stating that “this page cannot be found”. My name, where it appears as an author for a paper or a blogpost, was now no longer a hyperlink, suggesting I did not have any affiliation with CGD at the time I did the work, and that CGD was completely disassociating itself from me. Because CGD is a prestigious organisation in the sector, this is detrimental to my reputation. I looked on the Internet Wayback Machine archive and could see that my expert page and biography were removed from the site between 8 and 9 May 2018 [2048]. At the time I checked, other alumni profiles remained in place [2051]. On 22 May 2018 my lawyers amended submitted an amended claim to the Employment Tribunal to include victimisation, based on my profile being removed from CGD’s website.

456. On the morning of 18 June 2019 we received the ET3 and grounds of resistance. These included the claim that my profile was “removed from the website after the decision was made not to renew her visiting fellowship”, and that “This is consistent with CGD’s policy which is not to retain profiles of individuals on the website once their affiliation has ended.”

457. During the afternoon of 18 June 2019 I checked CGD’s website and all alumni profiles had been removed. The alumni page was empty of any names [xx] and the URLs for individual expert profiles all led to the “this page cannot be found” error page, for example those of Owen Barder and Paddy Carter. Unlike my name, these other alumni’s names remained as URLs (which are now broken links) throughout the site. I used the Google cache facility to record historic snapshots of the overall alumni page, and several alumni profile pages, as they used to exist from dates around 9–13 June [2051]

458. I did not know what was being said about me at the time, but I have been shocked to read statements based on hearsay and misrepresentations: that there had been multiple complaints against me, that I handed out pamphlets for a rally, that my tweets were associated with “strange reference to support for Nazis”, and that my tweets might amount to “hate speech” [1825]. There were comments by QI comparing me to a neo-Nazi [1019]. That my ex-colleagues have read and accepted these reports, and that others have been made too afraid to speak up for me for fear of facing the same treatment, has been devastating.

459. CGD is very influential in this sector. After CGD, I was turned down for positions at two development research institutions. Sussex University turned me down as “too controversial” and I was also turned down by the ODI for the same reason. I fear I have, in effect, been blacklisted by its public disavowal of me and private whispering campaign. I have since left the sector.



This is mainly where I write about sex and gender

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