Following Sun Columnist Katie Hopkins’ provocative article titled “Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants” in which Hopkins refers to illegal immigrants as “cockroaches” – complaints and condemnation have flooded social media websites with many calling for Katie Hopkins to be sacked from The Sun newspaper (with one petition “Remove Katie Hopkins as a Columnist” having reached 264,000 signatures at the time of posting).
On Monday, however, a more serious complaint has been raised to the Metropolitan Police Commissioners Office, accusing The Sun editor and Katie Hopkins of inciting racial hatred. A crime, which if found guilty of, carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
The complaint was made by the Society of Black Lawyers directly to the Metropolitan Police Commissioners Office, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, at 4.05pm on 20 April.
Dear Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe,
I hope this email finds you well. You will recall that I was an independent member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (2000 to 2008) and Vice Chair for a period of two years during part of your earlier career at the MPS.
As former Chair of the MPS Hate Crime Forum we did on occasions report incidents of incitement to racial hatred directly to the Commissioners Office for urgent action. More recently as SBL we have done so with anti-Semitic and/or racist comments in the football arena.
The recent comments by the Sun journalist Katie Hopkins, authorised for publication by her Editor and senior staff, are sadly some of the most offensive, xenophobic and racist comments I have read in a British newspaper for some years. These comments comparing the African migrants fleeing Libya to “cockroaches” , almost certainly all “trafficked” persons facing intimidation, violence and extortion at the point of departure represent some of the most vulnerable people in international law at the present time. Many will have legitimate claims for asylum under the 1951 Geneva Convention.
The use of this term employs a word used with devastating results to describe the Tutsi minority and Hutu moderates during the 1994 Rwanda genocide when they were referred to by those responsible for the genocide as “cockroaches”. This fact is well known to journalists and is a matter of historical record proved by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in several judgments.
The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) therefore requests that this matter is investigated as a matter of urgency under the Public Order Act 1986. I am aware that this section requires some intention but given the scale of the tragedy currently unfolding, the likelihood some some of these migrants may already be in the UK having fled during previous months or likely to land here in due course these comments can amount to incitement to racial hatred.
We are in the process of writing formally to the International Criminal Court to petition for an investigation into these comments under the provisions of incitement to commit crimes against humanity.
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. We request that these matters be investigated as a matter of urgency and the case file be passed to the CPS for a decision to be made as to the merits of a prosecution.
We will submit a more detailed letter in the course of this evening but would request that your office makes a public statement about the need to avoid such comments being made by any in the media whilst this matter is the subject of a criminal investigation.
Our complaint is against the journalist herself, the Editor of the Sun newspaper and other editorial staff involved in the publication of this commentary. We would request that you obtain a transcript of her interview that we understand was conducted on LBC radio on Sunday morning, 19th April 2015.
The journalist concerned sought to justify her comments in that radio interview so may provide evidence of her state of mind.
D. Peter Herbert O.B.E.
Chair Society of Black Lawyers
The complaint follows a similar report made about Hopkins to Greater Manchester Police by Labour MP Simon Danczuk in March.
The journalist appeared to equate men of Pakistani origin to child abusers in a series of posts on Twitter.
Her comments follow a lengthy argument with Danczuk on the social network about his decision to mark National Pakistan Day on 23 March in his constituency of Rochdale by raising the Pakistani flag for 30 minutes.
Hopkins claimed it was wrong to raise the flag in the constituency where, in 2012, nine men were jailed for their part in a paedophile ring. Eight of the men were of Pakistani origin.
Hopkins, Dinsmore and representatives of The Sun newspaper are yet to respond to request for comment about the allegations.
What do you think about Katie Hopkins’ article? Should she go to prison for ‘inciting racial hatred’? Comment below.