Freedom of speech campaigners are today rallying around columnist Katie Hopkins using the hashtag #JeSuisKatie after she was reported to police for tweeting hate speech.
Hopkins latest brush with controversy came when she accused all of Pakistani men of being paedophiles connected with grooming gangs in Rochdale. Many of her followers have defended Hopkins. Twitter user @EnochFollower said “This is so obviously satire it’s not even funny. I mean, it’s really not funny. That’s how satirical it is. #JeSuisKatie”
Politicians around the world have also come out in support of Hopkins. “Even though we may not agree with the things she says, the way she says them, or how annoying it is that we even have to talk about her, freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy and must be upheld at all costs,” said UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.
Some members of the public disagreed with the #JeSuisKatie movement, claiming that it was wrong to support the columnist’s offensive views. “It’s actually quite a subtle point, but just because she’s anti-Muslim that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to support her view point,” said James Poulin. “When Charlie Hebdo made fun of Muslims it was different because they were being sarcastic. That’s what satire is: clever people who’ve been to university saying things they don’t believe to make people angry because it’s funny. We should die for that right.”
“However, when you say things you sincerely believe and it just happens to make people angry, that’s hate preaching and we should lock those people up.”
However, others defended the work of Hopkins as elaborate satire that could not be understood without context. “You can’t simply quote remarks like ‘If you are suicidal, for goodness sake top yourself in private’ stripped of their surrounding details,” said Dr. Sarah Felton, who has started a website explaining Hopkins’ more offensive tweets to non-native English speakers.
“When you place that tweet within a complex evolving news story about a tragic plane crash involving the deaths of 150 people, then you see that it’s actually very funny. I’m laughing just thinking about it!”
‘Je suis Katie’ rallies will be held around the world next Sunday. People are being encouraged to bring hairdryers and klaxons in support of Hopkins’ unique debating style.