Thread: @cityofmelbourne, we have worked and are working together and I hope we will continue to but I have something to say. If you cave in to pressure from the media to rescind Clementine Ford's arts funding you will set a dangerous precedent for funding and your own reputation
It doesn't matter what you think of what Clementine tweeted, it doesn't matter what I think of what Clementine tweeted. What matters is that pressure is being put upon you by politically motivated commentators who want the right to determine who receives arts funding.
If you cave in to that pressure they will do it again, they will flare up with outrage about something an artist has said, they will want you to cave in to their demands, nay, they will EXPECT you to cave in to their demands. Arts will lose it's freedom of expression.
Your ability to promote arts funding as impartial will be gone. It will only be a matter of time before people start concocting outrage at your arts funding decisions and attempt to force you to defund other artists they simply disagree with. Who's next?
If you let them win, if you give them what they want they will make more and more demands. The question then is, who is next? Whose funding will they demand you remove? Will they go for me next, concoct outrage from a tweet out of context and use it to pressure you to defund me?
There is another risk, of course, if you cave in to them it puts pressure on artists to toe the line, to moderate our opinions, which is against everything that arts is. It's possible that the respect that many of us in the arts feel for you could be damaged.
Clementine fired off a controversial tweet in anger. In the context that was intentionally ignored by the media it was not as offensive as it was out of context. Whether or not her tweet was divisive it is impossible for you to determine that she intended harm to anybody.
So, artists would be right to feel this has a chilling effect, that pressure from the media, much of it the Murdoch press, can harm our careers, can cause you or other arts organisations to pull our funding.

I ask respectfully that you consider this in your decisions.
Disclaimer and COI: I don't have any city of Melbourne arts funding but I am working on a major commission for them.
You can follow @clairegcoleman.
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