Co-founder Christian Henson leaves Spitfire Audio following transphobia row

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Christian Henson, co-founder of music software company Spitfire Audio, has announced that he will no longer have any involvement in the company, or its subsidiary operations Pianobook and LABS, following a dispute over alleged transphobia.

Announcing his departure via a Twitter post on Friday (February 24), Henson wrote: “As an original founder I am deeply saddened that Spitfire and Pianobook has become embroiled in something it has not involvement with.

“I have today decided to put them first and step back from any involvement in Spitfire Audio, Pianobook and LABS including acting in any consulting capacity,” he continued.

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“This is effective immediately. I hope this action allows my former colleagues at Spitfire to get back to focusing on what they do best without any further distress or distraction.” Henson remains co-owner of Spitfire Audio.

He had previously taken “a break” from working with the company after publicly tweeting his support for author J.K. Rowling and television writer Graham Linehan.

In a now-deleted tweet from last year (September 2022), Henson wrote: “As a parent, I can no longer keep my mouth shut about this. I’m in full support of glinner & J.K. Rowling.”

Both figures in recent times have courted controversy for espousing what many have seen as anti-trans views.

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J.K. Rowling has come under fire for alleged anti-trans comments, having perceivedly mocked the term ‘people who menstruate’, a term usually used to be inclusive of trans and gender nonconforming people.

In 2020, Linehan was banned from Twitter, reportedly after he tweeted “men aren’t women tho” in response to a post from the Women’s Institute that wished transgender people a happy Pride, as well as previously comparing trans-rights activists to Nazis.

Henson’s original tweet led to a backlash online, including from producer Jeremy Blake, who published a YouTube Video last week (February 19) titled ‘Spitfire Audio has a Transphobia Problem’, and claimed that Henson’s comments have made “people uncomfortable using the products and are traumatised using [Spitfire Audio’s] products.”

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Blake responded to the news of Hensons’s departure by expressing his disappointment with the outcome, speaking to MusicTech. He said: “I am saddened and disappointed [that] the efforts of the community to redeem a beloved company have ended in Christian’s departure.

“I have tried very hard in my video to offer a path to open communication and clearing of the air, and we have gotten none of that,” he continued.

“The fact of the matter is, Christian hasn’t apologized or explained his stance on the matter addressed. Nobody has. It’s still there, looming like it always was.

“This is one of the worst outcomes for this situation, and I urge everyone involved to reflect on how this doesn’t solve the problem, it just sweeps it under the rug. A little.”

Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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