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London Dungeon Sparks Fury After Changing Jack The Ripper To Female On International Women's Day

Jess Hardiman

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London Dungeon Sparks Fury After Changing Jack The Ripper To Female On International Women's Day

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon has come under fire for changing the gender of Jack the Ripper from male to female in a stunt to mark International Women’s Day today (8 March). 

For one day, the top London attraction used a female voice for the role of the infamous serial killer, who was thought to have operated in the East End of the capital in 1888. 

According to MyLondon, the London Dungeon’s exhibit saw the historical figure regendered as ‘Jackie the Ripper’, posing the question: “Was the notorious killer actually a woman?” 

It was based on the story of Mary Pearcey, a convicted murderer who killed her lover’s wife and child - and was also named a Jack the Ripper ‘suspect’ by author William Stewart back in 1939. 

Illustration from the National Police Gazette in February 1889 titled 'Another Victim of Jack the Ripper'. Credit: Alamy
Illustration from the National Police Gazette in February 1889 titled 'Another Victim of Jack the Ripper'. Credit: Alamy

A press release for the event, as quoted by MyLondon, said the London Dungeon would be ‘challenging all traitors and peasants brave enough to come face to face with femme fatale Mary Pearcey (a real-life suspect in the Jack the Ripper investigation) to see if they can survive the horrors of Whitechapel and escape with their organs intact’. 

A spokesperson for the venue also added: “With men often stealing the spotlight when it comes to the ghastly and gory crimes, we wanted to give ladies their dues for International Women’s Day. 

“Rather than the usual honouring, we’ve given the day a London Dungeon twist while telling a story that many may never have heard before.” 

But women’s and domestic abuse charity Refuge said the ‘cheap marketing stunt’ was ‘tone-deaf’, making light of the systematic murder of women – especially in the wake of the anniversary of the death of Sarah Everard, who was killed on 3 March 2021 by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens as she walked home. 

Kim Manning-Cooper, Head of Communications for Refuge, told MyLondon that she had to read the statement ‘more than once to check it was real’. 

She said: “Not only does it trivialise the systematic murder of women by a serial killer, but it makes a mockery of a day that is supposed to be about celebrating women’s achievements. 

“In England and Wales two women a week are killed by a current or former partner, and 1 in 4 women will suffer from domestic abuse at some point in their lifetimes. 

“125 women have been murdered by men since Sarah Everard was killed by a serving police officer - just one year ago. 

“This cheap marketing stunt uses very damaging language around gender-based violence which we know to have real-life consequences. 

Credit: The London Dungeon
Credit: The London Dungeon

“Violence against women has never been higher on the public and political agenda and the London Dungeon is deciding to spend International Women’s Day on this. 

“It could not be more tone-deaf if it tried.” 

Responding to Refuge’s comments, a London Dungeon spokesperson said: "Jack the Ripper has been a featured show in the London Dungeon for more than 30 years as part of London's darkest history. 

"The introduction of a female actress taking on the role, for one day only, was based on a genuine theory about who 'Jack the Ripper' could have been that we wanted to explore in more depth for visitors. 

"Our intention was to give air time to an existing and well-documented theory and was not intended to offend. The London Dungeon apologises sincerely for any offence caused." 

LADbible has reached out to the London Dungeon for comment. 

Topics: UK News

Jess Hardiman
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