Controversial comments about immigrants from professional provocateur Katie Hopkins sparked a backlash that led to a Kingston woman launching a campaign to have her sacked from The Sun.
Katie Hopkins’s infamy reached a new high (or low) after comparing migrants to ‘cockroaches’ and saying she would use gunships to stop them from coming to the UK.
Izzy Saunders, a 22-year-old from Kingston, created the Remove Katie Hopkins as a Columnist petition asking The Sun newspaper to redeem themselves from publishing the prejudiced comments.
She told SW Londoner: “Yes it is her opinion and she is allowed to have it, but it’s not an opinion that should be in a national newspaper with a readership of around two million people.”
Business support officer Izzy explained that she never thought the petition would gain so much attention and that it would attract so many signatories.
“Since it has gained so much attention, I’ve used it to fundraise for migrants crossing the Mediterranean,” she said.
So far 2,368 donations have poured in, raising nearly £39,000 for Médecins Sans Frontières to help with the Mediterranean aid operation and other essential projects.
Izzy said: “Ironically, Katie Hopkins’ comments were so inflammatory they probably raised more awareness than the petition.
“Now I think it’s getting the attention it deserves.”
Peter Herbert, the chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, made a complaint to the Metropolitan Police reporting both Ms Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore for incitement to racial hatred.
The complaint read: “Given the huge circulation of these comments in The Sun and in the media generally, the propensity for racial violence against people of African descent in the UK is obvious.
“I would definitely agree. If a celebrity is calling African migrants ‘cockroaches’ people may emulate her, consciously or not.
“It promotes a negativity of people who are ‘different’ who haven’t been in the UK their whole lives or who don’t have white skin.”
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussen, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged the UK authorities to take the complaint seriously and examine closely the issue of incitement to racial hatred.
“This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK tablod press has continued unchallenged under the law for far too long,” he said.
The High Commissioner argued that this falls under the country’s obligations under national and international law.
“The nasty underbelly of racism that is characterizing the migration debate in an increasing number of EU countries, has skewed the EU response to the crisis,” he added.
The immigrants who drowned this week are among millions of others who have fled their countries because of war or extreme poverty.
Most of these people pay thousands for themselves and their families to cross over to countries such as Greece and Italy.
They are aware of the risk involved but they still consider it a better option then to stay in their countries.
“It’s sad that immigrants are being demonized in our country and many others in Europe,” said Izzy.
“People must remember that immigrants are all individuals, people with their own story and reasons for being here. Some are here out of choice, others necessity, all should be respected.”
Whether that was intended or not, Hopkins’ comments have luckily raised awareness for this important issue and people are now facing the reality of it.
Hopefully, petitions and fundraising initiatives similar to Izzy’s will give voice to those who need it and will silence the others.
Picture courtesy of Coast Guard News, with thanks