Posted on | May 2, 2014 | 114 Comments
British couple Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow with two of their surrogate babies.
A British millionaire who stars in a Sky TV reality show about his surrogate baby business responded to an e-mail from a critic by boasting about his £18 million London mansion and threatening to use his influence to “crush anyone” who opposed him.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow is CEO of the British Surrogacy Centre and, along with his gay partner Tony, stars in the series The Parent Makers that began airing last month on the Sky 192 satellite channel. Publicity for the show drew a hostile online reaction from Luke McKee, an Australian exile living in Asia. McKee posted a message full of anti-gay slurs (“queers,” “faggots,” etc.) at a right-wing online forum, suggesting that Drewitt-Barlow’s surrogate business may be violating British and U.S. laws. After a lengthy e-mail exchange with McKee, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow sent a message Friday morning calling McKee a “stalker” and “trailer trash,” and bragged that his wealth would protect him from investigation or adverse publicity. An excerpt of that e-mail:
From: Barrie Drewitt-Barlow <barrie@BSC-AMERICA.COM>
To: Luke McKee
. . .
Sent: Friday, May 2, 2014 9:26 AM
Subject: RE: i always have the last word
. . . This time, you have met someone who is not only wealthier than you who can fight your pathetic attempt to blacken their name, but someone who is far more intelligent then you and someone who actually, does not give a shit about what anyone else in the world thinks of him! . . .
Do yourself a big favour and move on, you cannot win a fight against me, I’m far too well respected for some little idiot like you to do anything to. And as far as using other people to do the job for you as you say, hahahhahahaha I laugh in your face, and say to you, BRING IT ON, my vast wealth and contacts will crush anyone you bring onto your team! . . .
[T]onight, I will sit in my 16 bedroomed, £18 million pound London mansion, sipping champagne and eating the finest foods available to me, cooked by the house keeper and served by one of our three live in maids, before tucking my stunningly good looking 5 children up in their amazing bedrooms! After which, I will go for a swim in my swimming pool with my husband and talk about how much money we have made over the past 48 hours whilst YOU, sit in the poverty of your own making! Now do something worthy with your miserable life and get a job!
You prick! lolol
Drewitt-Barlow has often been controversial. Last year, he and his partner sued the Church of England demanding religious recognition of same-sex marriage. That lawsuit provoked criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron from conservatives like Colin Hart of the Coalition for Marriage, who told the London Daily Mail: “The ink’s not even dry on the [new marriage law] and churches are already facing litigation. We warned Mr. Cameron this would happen, we told him he was making promises that he couldn’t possibly keep. He didn’t listen. He didn’t care. He’s the one who has created this mess. Mr. Cameron’s chickens are coming home to roost and it will be ordinary people with a religious belief who yet again fall victim to the totalitarian forces of political correctness.”
The commercial surrogacy business is a growing international trade that has been criticized as a form of “human trafficking,” especially by women’s rights advocates who say the lucrative practice — which is outlawed in many countries — enables wealthy people to exploit poor women as “breeders.” Reuters reported last year:
India opened up to commercial surrogacy in 2002. It is among just a handful of countries – including Georgia, Russia, Thailand and Ukraine – and a few U.S. states where women can be paid to carry another’s genetic child through a process of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo transfer.
The low-cost technology, skilled doctors, scant bureaucracy and a plentiful supply of surrogates have made India a preferred destination for fertility tourism, attracting nationals from Britain, the United States, Australia and Japan, to name a few. . . .
A U.N.-backed study in July 2012 estimated the surrogacy business at more than $400 million a year, with over 3,000 fertility clinics across India. . . .
India’s surrogacy industry is vilified by women’s rights groups who say fertility clinics are nothing more than “baby factories” for the rich. In the absence of regulation, they say many poor and uneducated women are lured by agents, hired by clinics, into signing contracts they do not fully understand.
In May , surrogate mother Premila Vaghela, 30, died days after delivering a child for an American couple at a clinic in Gujarat. It was recorded as an “accidental death” by police.
Negative attention was also focused on surrogate parenthood last year by the highly-publicized case of a gay couple whose son — which they said was produced by a Russian surrogate impregnated by one of the men’s sperm — was exploited by an “international syndicate” of pedophiles known as the “Boy Lovers Network”:
Mark Newton, 42, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison last week by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Authorities say Newton and his partner, Peter Truong, 36, paid a Russian woman $8,000 to give birth to a boy they said was conceived using artificial insemination with Newton’s sperm. The men began sexually abusing the boy before he was two weeks old, recording the acts on video they shared online with other pedophiles.
“What can be said? What can be done to erase some of the horror of this?” Judge Barker said Friday in giving the maximum sentence to Newton, an American who had become an Australian citizen. Prosecutors said the case was tried in Judge Barker’s U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana because images of the boy were found on the computer of an Indiana man who was arrested as part of a larger child-pornography investigation.
Records in the case had previously been sealed, the Indianapolis Star reported. Newton and Truong made the boy available for molestation by other men in France, Germany and the United States, according to prosecutors. “For more than one year and across three continents, these men submitted this young child to some of the most heinous acts of exploitation that this office has ever seen,” said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett.