Ada J. Wells, LBGT+ Convener at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA), has resigned following controversy over tweets that appeared to incite violence against police officers.
In a posting Tuesday afternoon to the LGBT+ Liberation Group’s Facebook page, Wells, who uses the pronouns “they”, “them”, and “their”, cited abuse they had received following their tweets as a reason for their resignation, and expressed a willingness to help their successor settle into the role.
The incident began with a tweet posted on 8 August, when Wells wrote: “I sure hope more police die today #acab”, including an acronym that stands for “all coppers are bastards”.
About a week later, Wells repeated the claim, “bc the police are a violent and oppressive force that exists to maintain existing power”.
Robin Brinkworth’s August 18 article for The Tab Edinburgh breaking the story was met with outrage, setting off a storm of criticism against Wells on Twitter, who subsequently set their account to private.
Wells is known for their colourful online insults. They have courted controversy in the past, calling a former EUSA presidential candidate the anti-semitic slur “Zio” in a tweet that EUSA reported it was investigating.
Speaking to The Student, Wells stated that it was entirely their choice to resign from their position as LGBT+ Convener, and that they received no pressure from the University to do so.
Wells qualified their police tweet stating: “criticism and anger at institutional violence at the hands of the police is no excuse for the vile harassment I have received.
“I wrote that comment in the context of a wider criticism of police brutality both in the US and the UK. I object to the way that police officers who die in the line of duty are always celebrated as heroes, and never held accountable for the brutality that they likely participated in or witnessed while alive.”
Wells denied ever referring to women with vaginas as “cuntscum” and stated they have been wrongly labeled an “advocate for FGM”.
They stated: “Both “cuntscum” and the FGM thing are fabrications by TERFs who regularly fake twitter screenshots in order to incite hatred towards trans women.
“The fabrications first started circling in October last year when I challenged someone running for women’s officer over their transmisogynistic manifesto.”
In a final comment on whether this controversy has become a distraction from the wider LGBT+ cause, Wells said: “I absolutely think this controversy has become a needless distraction, but I take no responsibility for that.
“If it hadn’t been my tweets, the same bigoted people who oppose LGBT+ liberation would have found other ways to vilify and disrupt my work.”
Speaking to The Student, Robbie Travers, a commentator at the Gatestone Institute, called Wells’ latest tweets “criminal”.
Travers said: “EUSA obviously should not take action against Ada’s more repulsive views, which were within the realms of the law, but when she directly incited violence, she stepped over a line that was criminal.
“It is concerning that there was a lack of scrutiny in the race for LGBT convener. A lesson that we must investigate candidates far more.
“We must emphasise that liberation groups must be reaching out to potential individuals who can help promote equality, rather than promoting violence and divisive politics that attack women, lesbians and other groups.”