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October 20, 2012

This Week In Tolerance: Homophobic UK Politician Threatens Gay Couple Via Twitter


UK politician Nick Griffin is TWIT of the week for being a twat.
Nick Griffin, the Member of European Parliament for Northwest England, is our This Week In Tolerance = TWIT of the Week for being an intolerant twat.
British Member of European Parliament And Most Intolerant Brit’ Awarded Our “TWIT of the Week” For Being A Royal TWAT

Cambridgeshire, England -- A right-wing extremist and polarizing figure in British politics had his Twitter account suspended, for publicly tweeting the home address of 2 gay male partners. The Cambridgeshire gay couple were in the news because they won their lawsuit against a Christian bed and breakfast owner who refused to allow the men to share a room, because of her religious beliefs.

Michael Black and John Morgan, had booked a room in Berkshire, and sent a deposit to guarantee their stay. When they arrived they were told there was no room at the inn for a homosexual unmarried couple. The court fined the b & b owner, and Black and Morgan are going to donate the assessed damages to charity.

This enraged Nick Griffin, the MEP (Member of European Parliament) for the North West Region, and the Chairman of the British National Party (BNP). So he sent a tweet to his 17,000 followers asking for the address of the gay couple, and inferred that he wanted to demonstrate outside their home.

For this action alone, and for being one of the most intolerant politicians in the United Kingdom, Nick Griffin is designated our This Week In Tolerance = TWIT of the week.

Unfortunately someone complied with Griffin’s request, and supplied the MEP with the couple’s address. He the tweeted the address and also posted it online.

Lizzie Davies described what happened in The Guardian:
But within hours of celebrations at what was seen as a significant vindication of equality legislation, gay rights activists were outraged by several messages on Twitter by Griffin, chairman of the BNP and an MEP, in which he made public Black and Morgan's address and claimed a "British Justice team" would come and protest the ruling at their home.

The first messages read: "If anyone can give us address of the 2 bullying 'gay' activists who've won case v Christian B&B owners, we'll hold demo … for rights of all home owners, gays included, to rent or not rent rooms to whomsoever they wish."

Two hours later, Griffin posted the following tweet: "A British Justice team will come up to [their Huntington address] & give you [Black and Morgan] a … bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple's home is their castle. Say No to heterophobia!"

The comments sparked anger. LGBT Labour, the party's campaign for gay rights, urged people to report Griffin for allegedly breaching the Communications Act 2003, under which it is an offence to post menacing messages on the internet. Others said they had reported his comments to the Metropolitan police's internet hate crime unit.

Griffin then wrote: "Why don't left & gay activists confront Muslims instead of picking on meek & forgiving Christians? Bullies are always cowards!"

Twitter users trying to access Griffin's account were subsequently told it had been suspended.

The British National Party is a political party that is aligned with right-wing extremists, and fascist political parties in Europe. Like the Republican party, they are closely identified as an “anti-immigration” organization. Their recruiting materials state that they support "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home." They also want to repeal anti-discrimination legislation in the UK, as well as in Europe.

Darren Milner wrote an Op-Ed for the newspaper The Independent.


Twitter is a forum for debate by Darren Milner in the Independent 10-19-12
Darren Milner in The Independent
Yesterday I read the news that Michael Black and John Morgan had won their case of discrimination against a bed and breakfast owner who had refused to let them stay, and like many, was pleased for them.

This was a couple that had taken the courage to stand up against homophobia and they had been vindicated. But within hours the story had changed.

Nick Griffin MEP tweeted the home address of the couple and encouraged his 17,000 followers to cause a “bit of drama” at their home. And no, he wasn’t talking about popping round for the Strictly final. For a couple that had already been through so much this was disgraceful. But more than that, it was threatening and I suspect, illegal.

I started a petition on Change.org to get Nick Griffin banned from twitter and when I woke up this morning 3,000 people has signed it. Now over 7,000 people have and it’s still growing.

Twitter needs to listen.

I support freedom of speech – I use it a lot to express my views on twitter and it’s this exact freedom that allowed me to start my petition. But I do not support inciting hate crime. And this is the issue here. Twitter is great forum for debate but should not be used to incite homophobic hate. The police are rightly investigating Nick Griffin’s tweets and I hope they will take swift action.

But twitter must act too.

The “Twitter rules” state that twitter reserves the right to immediately terminate your account without further notice in the event that, in its judgment, you violate its rules. It is not clear how “in its judgment” applies in the real world. We all occasionally get carried away, say something we don’t mean or something that can be taken out of context, so it’s good that twitter rules are not draconian.

But that is not the situation here. No organisation can turn a blind eye to homophobia or inciting hatred.
Nick Griffin, MEP is a Cambridge educated lawyer. According to his Wikipedia biography, he was a “holocaust denier” for many years. In 1998 he was convicted of “publishing or distributing racially inflammatory written material,” which is against the law in the UK.
Nick Griffin, MEP offensive tweets
Griffin's Offensive Tweets.

Michael Black appeared on BBC Breakfast, a morning show.
"I think Nick Griffin has got very little support in the country," Black, 64, told BBC Breakfast. "Certainly, the public response to the incident, when it happened two and a half years ago, and again in the last 24 hours, has been overwhelmingly in support of our stand against discrimination, so hopefully that will mean the vast majority of the people in the country will just see what an idiot Nick Griffin is and reject his views."

An idiot indeed!

We should be holding Twitter and Facebook to the same standards that UK citizens are demanding of Twitter regarding Nick Griffin. Public figures, politicians and religious leaders should not be allowed to incite hate on those very public forums.

This gives me lots of ideas. Are you listening Tony Perkins?

You can sign the change.org petition here.



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