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Waterstones employee fired over ‘tearing up’ gender critical books comments

Taking to her TikTok Tilly Fitzgerald says she is hoping to move "on to bigger and better things"

By Alastair James

Tilly Fitzgerald and Waterstones
Tilly Fitzgerald and Waterstones (Image: TikTok/@tilllovesbooks1 and Unsplash)

The bookseller and influencer who was sacked from her role at Waterstones for saying she’d bin the works of a gender-critical author has thanked people for their support.

Tilly Fitzgerald, who posts under the name Tilly Loves Books on social media, was sacked by the high-street bookshop after commenting on the works of the author Christina Dalcher. The latter had expressed support for the SEEN publishing network for those “concerned about the impact of gender ideology.”

In response, Fitzgerald recently wrote on X: “Ooh I’ll enjoy tearing up your books and popping them in the bin today. Thanks for the heads up.” This led to her being sacked from Waterstones. Fitzgerald then clarified she never intended for Dalcher’s works to be removed from any Waterstones branch. “My initial comments weren’t trying to get anyone cancelled or taken off shop shelves – I was speaking of my choice to throw my own books of theirs away as I didn’t want to personally support them,” she said on social media.

Speaking to The Independent on Wednesday (10 July) Fitzgerald said: “I’m absolutely devastated that this escalated to me losing a job a love. I acknowledge that my comments were a violation of the social media policy, and I did apologise for any trouble caused, however, I think the punishment was disproportionate and a warning would have been more appropriate.”

She also told the outlet: “I was talking about my own personal property on my personal social media account, and I have every right to get rid of books by an author I no longer wish to support based on their behaviour.”

“Letting go of someone who clearly loves, and takes great pride in, their work, is a terrible loss for Waterstones”

The situation has drawn a lot of support from the public, many demanding Waterstones “bring tilly back” on the company’s social posts. Others have lambasted the brand’s PR strategy with one person saying it was doing Waterstones “very little favours” after they archived some posts due to “safeguarding issues.”

Taking to her TikTok she thanked her supporters and said she was hoping to move “on to bigger and better things.”


Very quick thank you to the kind majority, then disappearing again for a bit. But don’t worry, i’ll be back once it’s safe with more 226 view reels to underwhelm you with 🫶🏳️‍🌈

♬ original sound – Tilly

On Instagram, where she also uses the same username, she shared a screenshot of an open letter to Waterstones on her behalf. “We feel it is an egregious error to terminate the employment of a dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable bookseller,” the letter reads “for expressing a personal opinion about an author and their work on their social media page.”

It goes on to say, “Moreover, letting go of someone who clearly loves, and takes great pride in, their work, is a terrible loss for Waterstones as a company.” Organised by comedy writer Sara Gibbs it has also been signed by other authors and people in the book industry.

Waterstones has told Attitude: “We are an inclusive employer and follow due process in HR matters. For obvious reasons we are unable to comment on the specifics of individual cases.” On X the Waterstones Help account added: “We have received some messages about an employee who has been dismissed. This was on the grounds of contravening Waterstones policies and has nothing to do with transgender rights.”