The Saint article sparks criticism for defending male ‘locker room culture’

FemSoc said ‘the insensitivity of this piece towards survivors of assault is horrific’

CW: Mention of sexual assault

An article written by the deputy editor of The Saint, Linden Grigg, received backlash after it defended “locker room culture”.

The article joked about “predatory straight men” and said male-female friendships don’t work because “the human urge to physicalise emotion will scupper it”.

The article sparked criticism from the St Andrews Feminist Society, as well as lawyers representing survivors of sexual assault at St Andrews. It has since been taken down and apologised for by The Saint.

In The Saint article, Grigg said he would be dissociating himself from “female relationships of any kind” because “the sex part always gets in the way”.

Grigg argued it was unjust to paint a picture of society as “some dusty plain with tribes of predatory straight men dressed in cowhides and carrying clubs roaming the plains, barely able to put a sentence together and directed solely by their own groins”.

He also said: “This is merely the inaccurate caricature of ‘locker room’ culture. In my experience men who enjoy the locker rooms ditch the cowhides and are, in fact, quite coherent. Yet the caricature perpetuates the myth that it is this environment that encourages rape culture.

“This is a disservice to those men who enjoy innocent bonding of a more masculine, testosterone-y kind.”

The St Andrews Feminist Society published a statement in response to the article saying: “the insensitivity of this piece towards survivors of assault is horrific and incredibly damaging.”

The statement also said: “we are incredibly disappointed that, in light of the serious allegations made over summer, there is not one mention of the word ‘consent’ in the Saint’s supposed ‘Fresher’s Guide”.

Patrick McGuire, of Thompsons Solicitors, which is representing survivors of abuse at St Andrews, told The Times Mr Grigg’s comments were “crass and cruel”.

He added: “They are an insult to every survivor of abuse at St Andrews university and across Scotland

“Mr Grigg should resign from The Saint, which should immediately publish an apology and retraction.”

The Saint has since issued an apology and a retraction. A statement from its executive team said: “We apologise for the humorous tone with which salient issues were approached. We take seriously the concerns of the student body and recognise our failure.

“The Saint takes gender-based sexual violence seriously and we acknowledge your criticism and hope better articles will be produced as a consequence.”

Grigg said: “I apologise to all members of the St Andrews community who feel that I have disregarded their very real experiences of sexual assault. My intention was certainly never to write an article in which these experiences were mocked or derided.”

He also said he has three sisters and a mother, saying: “It goes without saying that I respect all women.”

The St Andrews Tab contacted The Saint, St Andrews Feminist Society, St Andrews Survivors and Linden Grigg for comment. 

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