A Change.org petition with nearly 600,000 signatures in support of press freedom and free speech has been targeted by Buzzfeed News for removal.
The grassroots #FreeTommy petition seeks to raise awareness and show support for British journalist Tommy Robinson, who was arrested in the U.K. last week for “breaching the peace” while live streaming in front of Leeds Crown Court where a Muslim grooming gang trial was underway.
Within one hour of his arrest, Robinson was sentenced to 13 months behind bars for “contempt.” The incarceration has lead to an outcry of support from free speech advocates. In the days since his arrest, rallies around the world in London, Tel Aviv, New York City, Washington D.C. and other cities have attracted thousands of marchers.
As of Monday afternoon, the petition on Change.org had amassed 589,000 signatures.
The alt-left website Buzzfeed now claims the petition is “racist.” Buzzfeed says Robinson being “arrested and jailed for reporting on Muslim grooming gangs,” isn’t true and has used its massive global following to put pressure on Change.org to take the petition down.
Buzzfeed UK reporter Hannah Al-Othman penned the article, headlined: “Change.org Has Refused To Take Down An Inaccurate Petition Calling For Tommy Robinson To Be Freed.”
According to Al-Othman, “Change.org is facing demands from anti-racism campaigners to remove a petition calling for far-right activist Tommy Robinson to be released from prison because it contains major factual inaccuracies and hate speech which could breach the site’s own rules.”
The Democrat-mouthpiece website goes on to mischaracterize the #FreeTommy movement as “making money from hate,” while the movement’s supporters say they are drawing attention to the systemic rape of children that some Islamic societies have imported to Europe.
In a damning blowback to Buzzfeed, Change.org stood its ground against the leftist backlash, saying it had “determined that the text of the petition did not violate those policies.”
George Soros-funded far-left group “Hope Not Hate” spokesperson Nick Ryan commented, “So let’s get this straight. Tommy Robinson was not arrested for ‘reporting on Muslim grooming gangs’. He was arrested and jailed because he broke the law. He is not a journalist. In fact, he has threatened journalists.”
Robinson formerly worked for Rebel Media until breaking off to do independent reports on his own channel. The “breach of peace” accusation relates to police observing Robinson talking into his phone about grooming gangs while accused members of such a gang were on trial. The British courts issued an immediate press blackout for reporting on Robinson’s arrest, which was removed days later. Robinson’s swift jail sentence was due to the British activist being on a suspended sentence for a previous court violation.
The Buzzfeed report insists there is “no connection to ‘free speech'” and “The petition [was] promoting a lie.”
A Change.org spokesman elaborated its position: “We have Community Guidelines and policies to address misuse and a team dedicated to reviewing complaints from the community – we did review this petition and determined that the text of the petition did not violate those policies.
“Change.org is an open platform, which means that every petition that you see has been started by people in the community – it’s very likely that people will find petitions with which they disagree, as the platform is a place for a variety of debate. As with any issue, we have seen multiple petitions, with varying views started by the public in regard to this story.”
BuzzFeed’s founder, Jonah Peretti, was the proud owner of a website called “Black People Love Us” that laid racial humor and stereotypes on thick in the early 2000s. In 2016 Buzzfeed banned Donald Trump from buying ad space on their site during the election.
Spoiler: He won anyway.
feature image: Hannah Al-Othman (right)/Lancashire Telegraph
Pawl Bazile is Patriotism Correspondent for DANGEROUS and Production Director for Proud Boy Magazine. He tweets at @PawlBazile.
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