We reported earlier in the week on the Welsh soccer player who tweeted that since they hadn’t snagged a medal, Olympic divers Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield could go “bum each other.”
But now it seems Daniel Thomas, a midfielder for Port Talbot Football Club, has been arrested for his malicious comment.
Yesterday, South Wales police department announced it had “arrested a 28-year-old man from the Port Talbot area in connection with offensive comments made on the social networking site Twitter.” The identity of the man was initially unknown, but it was later confirmed to be Thomas.
“We’ve taken legal advice and, when the police inquiry is concluded, we will deal with it from then,” an official with PTFC said.
Thomas had initially claimed he hadn’t sent the message, calling it a prank done when he had left his phone unattended. But his Twitter account was shuttered and both Thomas and the club apologized for the incident.
The UK has passed a number of broad measures targeting hate speech, including the Malicious Communications Act of 1988, which makes it illegal to send an offensive electronic communication with the purpose of causing distress or anxiety to the recipient. The penalty involved can be as high as six months’ imprisonment or a fine of £5,000 ($7,800).
Call us First Amendment nellies but this rubs us the wrong way. Offending someone is wrong, and should certainly be chastised, but it’s not a crime. If it was, Tracy Morgan, Kirk Cameron and Donald Trump would all be rotting in prison.
Source: The Daily Dot
“If it was, Tracy Morgan, Kirk Cameron and Donald Trump would all be rotting in prison.” – this would be bad why?
Say what you wish about me and my sexual preferences. I won’t stop you unless you maliciously spread false or misleading information (libel/slander). Any law that restricts free speech is distasteful, but then again, I’m in the USA and this happened in GB. As for idiots like Trump, Cameron and some GOP governors, I ignore them, boycott their business or work to get them out of office, and so should all of us.
“Call us First Amendment nellies but this rubs us the wrong way. Offending someone is wrong, and should certainly be chastised, but it’s not a crime.”
And you realize not every country shares your laws – right? Say what you will about your first amendments, but there are situations (such as this) where they are not a benefit but an anchor for bullying…hense why it is not adopted everywhere.
This is where many societies differ from the USA. Spreading hurtful anti-gay or racist attacks are not protected in Britain and Canada. Much bullying is done primarily through derogatory words that inflict great emotional pain. So while words like faggot or pervert or dirty cock su-ker may be fully protected in the USA in attacking people, countries like Canada will prosecute those who try to offend and hurt through hate speech.
This poor Olympic athlete had lost his father who died before the start of the games. he told many that he was gonna give it his all to honour his father. If America wants to protect hate speech as a First Amendment right and ownership of assault weapons as a Second Amendment right then we will gladly watch your society but not envy expression of true “liberty” and it’s effects upon helpless victims in school yards or in movie theatres
@LancerLaw: I’m with you… let them rot!
Perhaps the amendments to our US constitution need to be a bit more refined. They are so broad that hate speech is considered free speech. If there are no consequences for your inappropriate actions, then chaos reigns supreme. Personally, I believe if it brings ha rm (physically, emotionally, financially, or psychologically) to another individual, it should be illegal.
Also, hate speech is not protected. And the kicker is that this is only a crime if it iss intentionally directed to cause the recipient anxiety.
It’s not ‘thought police.’ It’s about verbal abuse.
COME ON guys!! he is just another fucking Christian, it would take some time to cure the mental illness! call Christianity.
I was on the writer’s side until he mentioned the Unholy Triumvirate. Of course, he could’ve written either Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Anita Bryant, Bryan Fischer, Sarah Palin, or anyone white person living in Mississippi, and it would have had the same effect on me.
The guy sounds a twat but the funny thing is here in the UK if someone really did something threatening to you ‘face to face’ the police dont want to know! OTT a bit ?? arresting someone cert is for this, fine him, suspend or sack him but the guy didnt call for all gays to be killed did he!?! as in hate speech…..
It’s not a crime in the US. But, we are not the whole world you know.
tom is too adorable
@DouggSeven: The reason we don’t share British law governing speech and expression is that we found it distasteful; we first started finding people not guilty of prohibited speech laws when they clearly were, and ultimately declared our independence from Great Britain because–among other reasons–their restrictions on speech and religious freedom were too onerous a burden.
So it is possible that not only do the journalists at Queerty realize they’re not subject to British laws, they might even know why!
@LancerLaw: @DouggSeven: @muscl954: @Sam: This was not the United States, however if it had been I would be totally against him being arrested. I do not really like the term “hate speech”, because it is a slippery slope and can be twisted to be used against anyone. If we had the same law here in the U.S.A. alot of people on this very site would be and would have been arrested.
Thank God I live in the U.S. I wouldn’t wanna live in a country where something like this could get you arrested.
Ah, once again, delusional, America-centric, twats thinking that they’re the center of the universe and that everyone must abide my THEIR laws. Britain doesn’t have a First Amendment! Stop trying to force these American morals and standards on to the world, because if you haven’t noticed, it can’t be going that good considering that your country is on the verge of collapse.
There is a huge difference between Free Speech and Hate Speech. Hate speech kills and fuels a culture of murderous homophobia.
The likely hood of this post turning into a Nationalistic hatefest, on both sides, is very high. Thank god Canada’s not involved, or else this board would be a wasteland.
I, personally, find this absurd. Even as a proponent of home gun ownership, I still find this to be the most disturbing law the U.K. has in place, by far. Say what you will, and god knows I’m teetering close to Godwin’s law, but this very close to being downright Orwellian in nature. People shouldn’t go to Jail for saying something hateful, especially something as childish and stupid as what he said. Of course, since he’s a sports star, he’ll probably just get a fine.
That said, I have no doubt a major motivator for doing this was to ‘make an example’, especially since the world spotlight is currently shining on the U.K.
Also, is it wrong I imagined Garreth’s post with a thick, London accent, where he cant pronounce his “th” sounds? (Even though the odds of him actually being from there are low)
@ChrisC: I don’t think we Americans are delusional or trying to say that everyone should have our rule of law. I think some of us who disagree with the outcome of this incident are glad that we do not have this particular law in this country. The same way we are glad that we do not have laws like they do in Iran to execute gays by hanging like they did the two teenage boys not to long ago. If he had said “Kill all the gays”, yeah I would consider that to be hate speech but what he tweeted was just BS.
@muscl954: Chaos reigns supreme? So you’d rather everyone be walking on tenderhooks, afraid of opening their mouths for fear of getting arrested, because it might save a few people being “offended”? People don’t have a right to not be offended, yes, hate speech IS free speech, like it or not. Who decides what is hate speech? YOU? These gestapo tactics are a disgusting attempt to take away the publics rights, and though the US is well on its way to becoming a police state, I’m glad I don’t live in not-so-Great Britain. Interesting how those of a liberal persuasion will spout off non-stop about how the fascistic nature of western governments regarding military affairs, but when people are having their doors broken down for expressing themselves, blustery excuses come flying.
The very same posters defending this footballer who made a horrible comment about AIDS and gay people are THE EXACT same posters who believe gays kissing in public is shameful and should not be done. Homophobia is such a powerful force that it can make people mandate two different laws for two different people, depending on the person.
@JilesNjERSEY: I don’t think that is the case. If you want to support a business owner because you agree with his stance against gay marriage by having a day where you, your family, and friends who feel the same way by having an appreciation day for that busines then have at it. If the next day if other people who disagree with the very same stance want to go with their friends and families and have a kiss-in that is all the better. We or rather I am saying the sword swings both ways when it comes to “hate speech” depending on who is defining it as well as the context. If we had a law like GB there would be alot of Homosexuals in jail not only for some of the questionable language that I have seen used towards other groups, but for questionable language that is used against other homosexuals (read some of the statements made against Anderson Cooper on this very site).
@JilesNjERSEY: No one here is defending his remarks. What some people are defending is his right to speak however appalling his words may be. If he threatened with violence then of course it’s a whole different mater. No one has ever said that living in a “free society” would be easy. It has it’s pros and cons. But it is wrong to use the threat of force of government against individuals because you found his or her speech offensive. Samuel made a great point. What constitutes hate speech? Who decides? The government? You can’t outlaw being offended. It’s rather you know subjective.You should know when you give the government an inch they will take a mile.
No other first world country shares American laws in that regard. Including Germany and Canada, the ones that are doing quite well these days :}
We believe in both individual rights *and* community rights, both pillars. You only have individual rights and so walk on one leg.
@Juan: Yet I’d almost put money on you being the first to fight for the right of a cake shop owner denying service to a gay couple. The truth is, posters like you are VERY passionate ind efending the freedoms and rights of business’s that deny services to gay people (telling gays to find a place that accepts them) but when it comes to the homophobic ilk doing something, you’re quick to wave their freedom banner. Folks like you are quick to try to silence gays into shame for any protests they do, but even more quick to defend the ‘rights’ of homophobes. I think people on this site are seeing a pattern.
@ChrisC: “Ah, once again, delusional, America-centric, twats thinking that they’re the center of the universe and that everyone must abide my THEIR laws.”
I am so in love with you for that comment.
@Samuel: “People don’t have a right to not be offended, yes, hate speech IS free speech, like it or not.”
LOL. Since when has this delusional idea of “free speech” ever been free considering the fact that every action has an equal reaction? And since when has criticism been the same as a blatant insult, unnecessary insult?
“So you’d rather everyone be walking on tenderhooks, afraid of opening their mouths for fear of getting arrested?”
LOL. Again, your idea of free speech is deluded. The question here is whether or not you can “offend” someone but whether or not it was your clear intent to unjustifiably do so.
“Who decides what is hate speech? YOU?”
Are you REALLY serious? Are you really telling me that you think there is no clear difference between “I think homosexuality is wrong” and “homosexuality is wrong?” Or for an even better example. Are you telling me that BASIC English studies will not tell you that there is a world of difference between “homosexuality should not be made legal” and “All those fags should be killed?”
LOL. Then that pretty much explains as to why the US is having such a hard time with social issues.
@Randal Oulton: “We believe in both individual rights *and* community rights, both pillars. You only have individual rights and so walk on one leg.”
That is so beautifully said.
That said (earlier), I have no problem classifying something as hate speech after due process and community standards etc etc. Hate speech has nothing to contribute to all the work that is ahead of us to do as communities and countries.
@Juan: “You can’t outlaw being offended.”
Yes. But you can definitely outlaw the blatant, unnecessary intent to offend such as some soccer player tweeting that Olympic divers Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield could go “bum each other.” and follow it up with a hashtag #teamHIV (or #teamAIDS or however he put it.)
Speaking of which, how I enjoy the fact that ONCE AGAIN, DAN AVERY has left something that crucial out. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s some sort of GOProud double agent. Yes Cam. I beat you to that. Sorry babe. You’re not the only one noticing Avery’s “interesting” reporting pattern.
Anyway, I find it rather amazing that a lot of you, given your definition of “free speech,” who cannot differentiate a necessary offense to an unnecessary one. I also find it rather baffling that a lot of you do not seem to know the difference between saying something that can be offense to saying something that seeks to be offensive.
I am, however, not surprised that such a self-aggrandizing cultural cancer is present in the US–a country once thought to be “chosen by God” even though it only became a super power because the Europeans decided to bomb each other into economic stagnation following the Third Reich and a hurricane decided to “intervene” during its “civil war.”
@Valejo: @Randal Oulton: I know your remark was not directed towards me, but I defend the right for anyone to say what they want to say as long as it is not threatening or violent and I strongly disagree with the guy being arrested. However, I do not feel that if you open a business that you can refuse to hire or serve people due to their race, gender, sexuality, or religious affiliation. I think the two issues are totally seperate and because you defend the right of free speech does not mean you defend the right for people to discriminate someone patronizing their business because you are prejudiced against them for whatever reason. I just don’t want to be jailed, judged, or fined for something that I may say that may offend somebody. Its “homophobic” hate speech today, but the tide can always change and it could be “anti christian” hate speech tomorrow or even “anti government” hate speech. Remember there were times in history (and still are in some places) that you could be jailed for speaking out against Christianity(religion)and/or the State. Do not think because we have come so far that it could not happen again. Remember, Christians were not always liked or respected (Ancient Rome),but that changed. And, Randall I do not live in Germany or Canada so I do not know the laws in either of those countries and I am sure that whatever the law maybe is fine for Germany, Canada, or any other Westernized country. However, I am fine with the individual rights law here in America because my question is “Who’s community?” The Gay Community, the Black Community, The Government, The Atheist, The Right Wing Republican Evangelical Community, or the community as a whole? And who defines the community as a whole?
idk about Kirk or Donald, but Tracy Morgan advocated violence against gays. specifically the killing of potentially gay children. sorry, but THAT should be a criminal offense.
My other question to those of you who I assume agree with him being arrested would be should it only be against the law if the speech is on public display (tweet,website,t.v., radio, concert hall); or if it is said in someone’s home or on the street between two or three people and one person in the group (or passing by and overhears what is said)is offended-should the person who made the offending remark be arrested for that as well?
It’s probably because they’re Olympians. Causing distress to a competitor might mean the difference between a Gold or nothing at all. It’s a long-shot, but may be possible.
Keep in mind that the guy arrested or whatnot is a British citizen who presumably knows about British laws enough to stay out of trouble. If you don’t like the law, write to Parliament.
Of course, the U.S. also puts limits on what people can say. A classic example is “shouting fire in a crowded theater” (at the time this phrase was coined, theaters were firetraps and if someone shouted “fire”, everyone would run for the exits, with people getting trampled, as not everyone could expect to get out of the building in time). But we also take a dim view of statements that might vaguely be interpreted as a threat against the president (you can get away with more if you are threatening a random member of the public). Then there is the abuse of trademark rules to shut people up. Here’s an example involving the company “we all hate,” Chick-Fil-A: http://www.npr.org/2011/12/06/143195033/chicken-vs-kale-vt-artist-fights-chick-fil-a-suit .
I think, at best, it should be something Daley could press charges for. I don’t think people should be imprisoned for a moment of stupidity where they said something they probably didn’t think through very well.
4 crying out loud. His comment was ru..de okay and funny. Nonetheless. Arresting. That idiot is a lil harsh.
While im all for free speech, i think bullying should be a crime. Saying things that hurt some specific person in a personal way like children and teenagers do in texts should be illegal. This is not about freedom of expression its about bullying.
You want to help the teens who commt suicide, but also to defend the bullies constitutional right to grind their victims down till they kill themselves?
That’s a bit harsh. :O
It’s time ADULTS face consequences for their hateful words especially considering how often it targets gays. It’s time for homophobes to get a taste of their own medicine. You want to be hateful… Here’s your karma.
Hings are said everyday that offends another or another doesn’t like or want to hear. Lately, even, truth is now being called hateful or profiling/ discriminating/ & so on. But to BULLY another into ones own belief/ thinking/ or reality, is bullying & tyrannical! Don’t read it if you don’t like it, PERIOD! NO ONE IS MAKING another read anything! But we ALL need to be careful, VERY careful of limiting/ or taking another’s freedom of speech. As well as taking ones right to their faith, moral value, and so on!, or it WILL happen to you!
And though, IMO, this sounded more like a spoiled sport, unsportsmanlike, than that of anything resembling hate speech.
Just like chick-fa-let. The owner did NOT say anything hateful from what I have heard. He stated, very well, his personal beliefs. That he supports the traditional family. Is their anything wrong w/ an individual having a set value? Has he ever said that he does not want any of his franchise owners to not hire a specific group? Did he say he hates any specific groups? Did he say that he won’t allow any certain group from eating at any of the franchise resteraunts? NO! No, he has never said any of that! However, there has been MANY, w/ opposing views, who have said truly hateful things towards him! Even a politician who showed Hate, country wide, against this man & his belief!
If anyone took the time to research all the good things that this man has done, & how wonderfully his employees are treated, & the money he has donated to many charities (even giving said opportunities to employees)…. One should NOT be so quick to hate! Nor so quick to BULLY another! We MUST learn to think for ourselves, & truly think about what we are saying/ doing.
“The UK has passed a number of broad measures targeting hate speech”
There is free speech, and then there’s HATE speech. It’s time America start having laws against HATE speech.
Gosh, I love the laws of the UK!
I don’t think laws like these are that uncommon in other parts of the world outside the USA. I know in Canada we have particular laws against promoting hate towards an identified group of people… that’s why Fred Phelps and his family are banned from Canada along with neo-nazi groups. Free speech isn’t about saying whatever you want whenever you want. We all learn from an early age that our actions (including our words) have consequences.
Robert in NYC
@Sabian: Hmmm, you can get arrested in the U.S. for shouting “fire” in a theater or threatening the life of a politician even if you don’t happen to be carrying a weapon. Hate crimes include acts of defacing property, desecrating graves and places of worship, assault, murder, and intimidation—when VERBAL threats or threatening behavior place a person or a group of people in fear of harm.
Robert in NYC
Sabian, No. 15. You can get arrested in the U.S. for shouting “fire” in a theater or even threatening the life of a politician irrespective of carrying a weapon or not. Hate crimes also include acts of defacing property, desecrating graves and places of worship, assault, murder, and intimidation—when VERBAL threats or threatening behavior place a person or a group of people in fear of harm. By your deduction, bullying should be ok, be it verbal or physical because it’s a matter of freedom of expression and speech?
@OMO: In the UK, tweets are increasingly being treated as a publication. When someone puts something on Twitter for all to see, it’s the same as writing an article in a magazine or newspaper or putting it on TV or radio. A tweet is a public statement and the individual making it is held responsible for it.
This also applies to statements made orally in public. So, for example, in a relatively recent case, a street preacher took it on himself to hurl abuse at a passing gay couple. He was arrested and charged with inciting hatred. Even though he argued that he was making a religious statement, it was decided that because he was making those statements in public – presumably within the hearing of many other people who did not share his religious faith – his comments could be construed as an incitement to hatred.
I think the English and Welsh legal stance is based on the determination of the individual to have his/her views known publicly. As a result, merely overhearing someone being insulting or abusive on the street or in a private home would be unlikely to lead to an arrest or prosecution.
As has been stated above, there is a sharp philosophical difference between the US system and many other Western legal systems. In the UK, an individual’s right to free speech is enshrined in human rights’ legislation, but it’s tempered with that individual’s responsibility to the society in which he/she resides.
BTW, I’m not making a case that one country’s legal/ethical philosophy is superior to another’s. It’s horses for courses. What’s acceptable in one country – and regarded as civilised – can be greeted with horror in another. Such is life.
Also, it’s worth noting that the police in England and Wales have asked the Crown Prosecution Service to provide clear guidance on the legal status of tweets because it’s a new and evolving area of law. In the case of this particular abusive tweet to Daley and Waterfield, the football player has been arrested – but that doesn’t mean he’ll automatically be charged and prosecuted. There have been many cases revolving around Twitter in the UK recently and a lot of national debate. So it might be the case that the footballer’s arrest is to serve as a warning shot over the bows of the general public – reminding people to keep discourse as civil as possible – rather than a statement of intent to use the full force of the law against him.
Speech is only free when you can say things that people don’t want to hear. The cause of freedom is pretty much lost in the UK.
Robert in NYC
@billybob: @dazzer: Well said!
Robert in NYC
@Robert in NYC: “Well said” was directed at Dazzer not Billybob.
Billybob, so would you say that verbal sexual harrassment in the workplace is acceptable and if so why? After all, it’s freedom of expression, no matter if it makes the target of such vile harassment uncomfortable or feel threatened or that person doesn’t want to hear it? Should people be allowed to get away with it by your deduction?
“”Call us First Amendment nellies but this rubs us the wrong way. Offending someone is wrong, and should certainly be chastised, but it’s not a crime”
1. The first Amendment is an American rule, not British.
2. Actually it IS a crime in Britain.
3. Insinuating that somebody has AIDS, is having a relationship they aren’t, etc… is slander, which is actually a crime over here as well.
So in another post, Dan Avery says that NYC is the largest city in the world, and on this one he is saying that something isn’t a crime because it doesn’t break U.S. law? Could Queerty maybe think about having anybody review these posts?
Robert in NYC
@Cam: On what does Dan Avery base his facts I wonder? Does he mean NYC is the largest in the world by population or landspace? Either way, he’s wrong.
@billybob: In which part of the UK do you live, billybob? You seem to have a strong opinion about freedom in Britain and I’d be delighted to discover how you formed it.
Robert in NYC
@dazzer: Exactly what I was thinking, Dazzer. Many haven’t even set foot let alone lived in the UK either. If anything, the UK gays enjoy far more freedoms than their American counterparts and that gap is getting larger as three of the countries in the UK (England, Scotland and Wales) progress to full marriage equality. If anything, freedoms and rights are growing there not diminishing.
Here we go, Yanks banging on about “freedom”, unaware that under US law, the President can order their arrest without a warrant, indefinitely detain them without due process, charges or a trial, send them to the US prison camp at Guantanamo or even rendition them to a foreign country where they can be “made to talk”. Then there’s that great freedom to bear semiautomatic firearms and assault weapons that ensured Aurora, Colorado became international news and contributes to the 33,000 American deaths a year from guns, all because American men have a fantasy that they can protect their homes from phantom robbers. Seems all that fabled “freedom” doesn’t stop the US from having the greatest gap in the Western World between rich and poor, a healthcare system ranked 37th, just behind Costa Rica, 26,000 deaths a year from lack of healthcare and a 36% obesity rate. But at least a single mother in the US, with no health insurance, overcrowded classes for her kids, no hope of paying for her kids’ college, making minimum wage has her “freedom” of speech.
“We’re number one!”
his face says to me: “I’m a closeted pushy bottom, with insatiable obsessions I unconsciously talk about all the time”. Just saying.
@freddie, First of all Freedom of speech or freedom in general has noting to do with being an American. It has to do with being a free individual on this earth. You own yourself you own your body. Our rights do not come from the state sadly many of you are unable to comprehend that simple fact. Many governments are dictatorial and true the United State Government is not far from it. But for all of you that believe that the state should arrest individuals because what they said was “hateful” what happens when someone you don’t like gets in power and criminalizes your speech because he or she finds it “hateful” or criticizes the government to severely? Unless you want to arrest millions of people (good luck with that)who say hateful things everyday and build more prisons you should really rethink your position.
The Real Mike in Asheville
@PBCliberal: Yes and No: On the “NO” side, it is disingenuous to not include the ever-present attempt by incumbent administrations, from Washington to G.W. Bush and including such giants as John Adams, Jefferson and Lincoln, sponsored and enforced anti-sedition laws. On the “Yes” side, the reason each successive administration must attempt new anti-sedition laws is because the SCOTUS has ruled them unconstitutional. Of course, still waiting for a SC that will rule the Patriot Act unconstitutional too.
@Juan: said…. “@freddie, First of all Freedom of speech or freedom in general has noting to do with being an American. It has to do with being a free individual on this earth. You own yourself you own your body. Our rights do not come from the state sadly many of you are unable to comprehend that simple fact”
I suggest you go to Iran, Saudi Arabia, as a woman and walk around without a veil. When they come for you, simply state that the govt. can’t take away your freedom.
Robert in NYC
@Juan: What needs to be said is that in this context, LGBT people are arguably the most hated group in this country. There isn’t one right wing group who believes in full equality for us, in fact most of them want us disenfranchised. We are the target of denigration, villification, dehumnanization and are the number one target for bullying. Freedom of speech is one thing, but when all of the above result in violent attacks or worse, LGBT people being murdered because of who they are and because the perpetrator has a right to his beliefs and freedom of expression, then a line has to be drawn. If someone said they wanted to kill the President, do you really think the FBI wouldn’t be investigating and not seek prosecution?
I yearn for the day when being called a queer isn’t an insult worthy of an arrest.
@Robert in NYC: But he did not say he wanted to kill gays. That is a horse of another color. I wish people on here would just say that they feel that if you say something negative about gay people that it is hate speech and that they think you should be punished no matter how mundane or stupid. You guys do not care about hate speech all you care about is anything said about gay people. Most of you could care less about what is tweeted or said about other groups or communities. Just look at some of the things that are said on Queerty about people. There were like hundreds of slanderous and hateful remarks made towards Anderson Cooper when he came out. But if you pointed the finger and said what was was being said was bullying things like ,”….he’s a big boy he can take it.” were said to shut you up. Also all of the racist remarks about black people on Queerty as well. Go take a look at almost any article on this site dealing with black people and sure enough the racist postings are usually quite numerous and somtimes not until a person of color takes offense no one blinks an eye.
@Cam: I think he meant in general he was not talking about any particular state. And, it is a woman’s natural right in those countries not be veiled, but due to the cultural mindset in that country the general population has given up that right or for some it has been taken away from them. Which is really a good example to me of when you let society and the State dictate to you what you can say and what you can do how it can go to the far extreme.
I know what he was saying….I was messing with him because of the way he said it. 😉
people seem to be getting all uppity about him being arrested but the truth is you can text tweet and call someone what you want and get away with it however if this person decides to inform the police about it you can be punished and tried on account of harrassment hate speech and other charges. it does not happen regularly and people can speak very freely but it protects people from such vile verbal abuse and i wonder if only these laws were in place in th u.s maybe all of the gay teens wouldnt of killed themselves and the likes of the west borough baptist church wouldnt be able to picket funerals for example im not saying this law is the saving grace for all these problems but why americans feel they can judge and dictate how other people live there lives i dont no (im generalising btw) and is proberbly the reason why america lacks support for the lgbt community and queerty please take note of the u.k’s support for gay rights becuase your quick to critiscise but in reality they do more for the lgbt community than americans!!!!
Absolutely agree with arresting this homophobe and frankly, we need to start arresting people in America who speak hate soeech toward gays. I know MANY in the gay community who are livid about the homophobia going around them. It will get veryyy ugly soon. If the breeders want a culture battle, we’ll give them a war.
Adoph Hitler was banned from public speaking after his conviction and imprisonment for treason yet rose to power anyway – right in front of the whole world.
Banning speech and creating a government nanny state is not going to protect citizens from their own apathy and stupidity.
Just like banning large sized sodas in NY is not going to prevent people from drinking them or getting fat.
Have I been flagged as abusive or a jerk??
God bless the UK; at least there’s one sane Western country left.
@Randal Oulton: Would these be the same “community standards” that are used by the Right to determine what is obscene or pornographic, and therefore can be banned under the law? Dress it up however you like but this is still crypto-fascism and unworthy of the nation the USA drew so much of it heritage on civil rights and freedoms from.
@FunMe: Cast aside the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and watch how quickly such “hate speech” laws you advocate get turned around and used against you once your political foes get into power. Picture the White House, both Houses of Congress and a majority on the Supreme Court very sympathetic to social con views. But go ahead, help provide them the rope to hang us with by gleefuly and misguidedly eviscerating our most basic rights in the name of “equality”. That’s not equality or freedom but fascism.
@JohnAGJ: I so agree on both accounts and some of the ideas expressed on here make me fearful that some of the people who are referred to as “Libertards” may be right that there are people in the world who wish to turn the whole world into one giant nanny state.
I don’t care that he said this, and it’s being way overblown that he was arrested just for writing that two olympic atheletes should bum each other. Does that mean they should rub assholes together or rim each other? Or why didn’t he write fcuk each other up the arse?
“Offending someone is wrong, and should certainly be chastised, but it’s not a crime.” — Well it should be a crime. Good for Britain. All countries should pass laws against hate speech.
Rob is this actually hate speech though? What if someone who was gay or bisexual said that a hetero man and woman should have vaginal sex?
@Tomas: You’re an idiot. but then again, what homophobe isn’t?
@Tomas: Did you really just write that? you’re momma shoulda had an abortion
Guys, don’t worry about feeding the trolls. They thrive off saying something lame to get attention because their lives are sooo boring they gotta camp out on a gay site all day. One day when they are on their death beds, soon we hope, they’ll look back on all the hours they wasted on trolling this site and go “dang, all that could have been devoted to actually LIVING life”
You just knowww the very self haters who applaud the rights of this guy writing hateful remarks about gays and getting AIDS are the same posters who are critical of everything the gay community does, and give us lectures on not “being the bigger person” whenever we exercise our freedom of speech. It’s so obvious it’s laughable.
I’m not a troll, and I’m not a homophobe. I agree with the article and the last paragraph about freedom of speech. I can understand him being reprimanded by his coach, olympic officials, and even kicked out of the olympics but arresting someone for writing that is going way too far.
If you’re going to open your mouth and say something evil, be perpared to deal with the consequences of that. If that’s jail sentence, so be it. Chalk it up as a learning less and change your ways. You only have yourself to blame for being a hate monger.
I agree with Scary Russian Heather.
Acccountability and being an adult go hand in hand. Can’t handle the responsibility that comes with being an adult and controlling your own actions? then I have zero sympathy for what happens to you. I have way too much to worried about in my own life than feel sorry for grown @$$ adults who act a fool and throw hate out there to others. You’re karma caught up with you. Don’t play victim, Mr. Footballer.
Oh Bo Hoo. He got arrested? OH WELL. Maybe he’ll think twice about opening up his ignorant trap. You’re not ENTITLED to anything in society. You’re not entitled to do and say ANYTHING you wish in this world, in any region of this world. For every action there is a reaction. Don’t like it? don’t be an idiot. When you willingly choose to be, accept the reaction that comes with that. Pretty simply if you ask me.
I agree with the guy who wasn’t offended ’til he found out about the hashtags. Up ’til then it just seemed like a good idea.
Falls Church, VA
The foot ball guy was man enough to make a post about AIDS and people deserving to catch it because of percieved gayness? well then he has to be MAN enough to deal with the consequences that come with that.
Remember, the world and society does NOT have a responsibility to babysit tools. You can’t conduct yourself in a proper way, you’ll just have to deal with the consequences. Next issue!
This is outrageous. All for sending a tweet? I’m glad I don’t live in the UK and I wish people would stop being babies. No one has the right to not ever be offended.
@JohnAGJ: First of all, JohnAGJ, thank you for referring to my country as ‘crypto-fascist’. It’s good to have a starting point when taking issue with a stranger on the internet.
I think your argument against the British response is a tad hypocritical insofar as those ‘community standards’ with which you seem to have a problem this side of the Atlantic are just as prevalent on your own. For example, on obscenity and pornography, can I suggest you try making or downloading child pornography? I’m no expert in American law, but I’m pretty sure that a First Amendment defence will get you nowhere.
Or you could try a slightly less ‘icky’ experiment.
Some years ago, I was in a politics chat room. A teenaged hot-head (a regular in the room – he had extreme views, but everyone knew he was harmless and just letting off steam) threatened violence against the then Vice President. The next morning, Secret Services agents were at his door to investigate him and his family. When he returned to the chat room, he was an infinitely more subdued character.
So, to see what would happen, I made the exact same statement of violent intent against the Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain. All these years later, I’m still waiting for the police to knock on my door.
When you analyse the reality of the situation, your argument that the First Amendment is a guarantee of free speech doesn’t stand up. Americans are just as constrained in what they can or cannot say in public as the populations of any other Western nation.
For example, your First Amendment allows you to say whatever you want to my face – no matter how abusive that might be. However, the First Amendment would be of no use to you in the Bradley Manning/Wikileaks case. In my country, if I were abusive to someone, I know the limit of my freedom of speech and would expect to take responsibility for my actions. However, someone like Bradley Manning would be far more protected under the laws of my country than he evidently is under yours.
In short, JohnAGJ, please be careful in throwing around words like ‘crypto-fascist’ and ‘unworthy’ about other people’s countries and their legal systems.
I’m sure I should finish this by saying something trite about people who live in glass houses… but you’ve probably understood that point by now.
Robert in NYC
@Erick: And the majority of British gays are glad they don’t live in America where they wouldn’t enjoy even half of the rights that they enjoy in the UK with marriage equality around the corner and where are we? You forget where the American legal system orginated from and the constitution has it’s roots in Magna Carta going back to the 13th century.
Robert in NYC
@dazzer: Well said. There is a lot of ignorance about the legal system in the UK. From my understanding, nobody is automatically arrested for saying something offensive or abusive unless the target of such behavior makes a formal complaint to the police where it is investigated and dealt with accordingly.
There are indeed limits for freedom of speech and expression in the U.S. For example, employers can be prosecuted for failing to take action in matters of sexual harassment and in some states sexual orientation or even ethnicity. Should those laws be struck down in deference to the first amendment? Of course not and neither is it crypto-fascism.
Robert in NYC
@JohnAGJ: Picture the White House if Romney becomes president. No overturn of DOMA, invalidation of all same-sex marriages, a federal ban on it, equal marriage put to referenda to overturn it in states that already have it, all of which Romney and the GOP support because they kow-tow to religious beliefs and the hate-groups which support them to disenfranchise one sole group of people who pay taxes without representation, and you deign to condemn the UK as a crypto-fascist country? At least the UK doesn’t have and wouldn’t tolerate that type of government or legal system which permits it.
I think the guy’s a jerk, but I do believe that freedom of speech is a basic human right that shouldn’t be criminalized. Unless you are taking part in a malicious campaign of harassment, you shouldn’t be arrested for mouthing off and being a jackass. Otherwise it’s a dangerous slippery slope. Where do you draw the line? Do we really want to live in such an Orwellian Big Brother police state where almost anyone can become a political prisoner for slipping up and saying the wrong thing?
I love the Brits, but they have some of the worst speech laws in the world. Just look at the corrupt tabloid media, with its phone hacking and bribes to politicians. It’s ridiculous libel laws, paranoid secrecy statues that make the Patriot Act look like child’s play, and sleazy copyright protections that cater to large corporations over everyone else. It’s time for Britain to reject it’s backwards 19th-century Darwinian mentality and fully enter the 21st-century.
@dazzer: I do not know the law of GB. But, what you are saying is apples and oranges. No, you cannot threaten the Vice President with violence publicly in th U.S. and think that nothing will happen to you. You can not threaten regular citizens publicly with violence because if that person reports it than the police will be knocking at your door. But if you say all Christians should be put in a rocket and shipped to Mars alot of people may be offended but no one is going to arrest you. And, Bradley Manning is really reaching that was not about free speech. He was detained for communicating national defense information which he was not authorized to do. As well as Bradley Manning was a soldier in the U.S. Armed Forces and was not an ordinary citizen.
@dazzer: And to your point about child pornography I would say that is reaching as well. Children are helpless, defenseless, and do not have the choice or are mature enough to understand or decide if they would like to be exploited by the makers of such media or the people who buy/use such media, so that is why it is against the law. So, that has nothing to do with free speech. Thats like when people say if gays are allowed to get married then people who want to legally marry a dog, cat, horse, or any other type of animal should be able to do so as well.
@naughtypundit: Are you literally clueless? Seriously. If America’s the 21st century, I wanna stay in the 18th!
@OMO: see, OMO, this is what I mean about different philosophies. All my arguments make perfect sense to me because they arise from my cultural concept of freedom of speech. Your concept of freedom of speech seems to be defined by the First Amendment, which is a different – but equally valid – cultural concept from which to come.
As I stated above, I’m not here to say one country’s philosophical underpinnings of its legal system is better than another’s However, as your point illustrates perfectly, we have quite different approaches to both ‘freedom’ and ‘speech’.
While I like America and have been there many times, there’s no way I’d ever want to live there, not least because my concept of freedom is so different to yours.
For example, I believe fervently that universal healthcare is a fundamental human right. Many of your countrymen and women vehemently disagree. Your Second Amendment gives you the right to bear arms – which is held by many in the USA to be an inalienable right and freedom. I’m happy with restrictions on gun ownership and usage in my country because I think my freedom to go about my daily life with a vastly reduced chance of being shot is something I should cherish.
I’m not attacking America or Americans here, I’m merely pointing out that there is no universal concept of freedom. Although there is a lot of talk about it internationally, when it comes to the application ‘freedoms’ in different countries, definitions vary wildly. And unless I’d spent a lot of time in another country, I’d refrain from making sweeping statements about whether is more or less ‘free’ than my own.
Why the hell has my comment above to OMO been published under the name ‘Pinky’? What fresh fuckery is this, Queerty?
@Pinky: I don’t recall that I have ever said that my country was more free than your country. I stated that I do not know the law in GB. So I really can not speak on it. I do not agree with the outcome of the issue in this article (God, forgive me for disagreeing). And, I would be extremely against it if it had happened in this country. The same way I would be against certain laws in other countries if the same law was applied here. You bring up the 2nd amendment-and I think it is great that in other countries that there is a collective feeling that you trust your State and its people where there is not a need to bear arms. I wish it could be that way everywhere. However, I feel like the people in this country do have the right and that I think that it would be suicide in regards to the power of the people to just give up their right to defend themselves against other people and/or a possible tyrannical government gone wild that may try to take away rights from the people. If the people of Britian feel that is not a likely scenario in their State and if the violent crime level is so low in Britain than I say great. I never once said anything against GB (in regards to your last paragragph). The same way in regards to this law if it works for the people of GB than I have nothing to say in regards to that, but for the Americans on here who are praising it I’m saying that I would be totally against here for numerous reasons. And, I was just pointing out that your examples did not add up to me and never will because of my “American” way of thinking. But I am proud to be an American and all the good and bad that comes with it, as I would hope that you are proud to be British.
the other Greg
This is mildest example of “hate speech” ever.
What next – is it a crime in the UK to tweet “Your mother wears army boots”?
Robert in NYC
@naughtypundit: @naughtypundit: “It’s time for Britain to reject it’s backwards 19th-century Darwinian mentality and fully enter the 21st-century”
Really? It’s currently moving ahead to full marriage equality. The U.S. isn’t. It’s gay citizens can bring in their foreign born partners and not even have to be in a legal union to do it, legal for more than a decade. It’s current civil partnerships confer all of the rights of marriage without the name and are portable throughout the UK; lesbians can have invitro fertilization on the National Health Service, there are non-discrimination laws in the delivery of goods and services (something that Chick-Fil-A and other American companies could learn a lesson from); nobody can fire you for being gay. The list is a lot longer but I don’t want to bore you with 19th century Britain.
Took the words out of my mouth.
The idiot himself
Not only do I thank God every day for making me an athiest, but also for not making me an American.
The Uk is not the best country in the world to live in, but it’s also not the worst (see the Sikhs mowed down by yet another nutter in the US today).
The US is the only “democratic” (if you have a spare $500 million) country which allows its citizens to mass murder each other, but the prison has obviously spread … cue Aaron from Canada …
Even as a proponent of home gun ownership, I still find this to be the most disturbing law the U.K. has in place, by far.
This guy would rather shoot someone dead than question their morals in a court of law. Perhaps the macho gay S&M culture has gone just about as far as it can. You really don’t have to prove you’re a man by killing someone.
The debate over hate speech laws often lacks nuance: it is either the Hitchens argument that to ban hate speech is to expose oneself to the unbridled wrath of the censors or the argument that we should all possess an unqualified right to personal dignity. I find neither persuasive, and likewise I find little solace in many of the existing hate speech laws: they are either frighteningly broad or toothless and eviscerated by their exceptions.
The UK is quick to prosecute anti-gay hate speech, which conforms to my intuitive, knee-jerk sense of equity, but they also ban religious hate speech. E.g., the UK Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006: “A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.” I have to invoke Hitchens: I too share his hatred for many religions and believe that they should be scorned and their practitioners publicly ridiculed for their superstitions, which amount to some of the most extraordinary offenses against morality, reason, and human decency history has ever known. I hate the Westboro Baptist Church and its supporters as I hate Nazism or the Bible-thumping Jim Crowers. I think the world would be a better place if the Westboro Baptist Church and its followers simply disappeared, and I openly encourage others to share my hatred. I also love that I can type those words with impunity here in the States without fear of such a ridiculous, repugnant piece of legislation telling me that I can’t stir up hatred for something that is evil on its face.
A gentler Canadian provision prohibits what I would consider the truly insidious forms of hate speech, but carves out a massive exception so long as the speaker, in good faith, “expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text” (Canadian Code §320 (b)). I am not a Canadian jurist and have no idea how their case law interprets such a provision, but the exception seems idiotic to me: The Torah, New Testament, Qur’an all openly call for genocide, slavery, and infanticide (among other virtues), yet are perfectly valid predicates for hate speech in Canada under the plain meaning of the exception. I think all who question the God of Abraham or any priestly order for that matter should be incinerated along with their families – but I base such a statement on my understanding of the Book of Numbers, so I’m in the clear in Canada it seems.
I am intuitively persuaded by hate speech laws, but have never heard an example of one that would preserve my right to dignity while simultaneously giving me a free hand to verbally eviscerate Scientology, the Catholic Church, the Westboro Baptist Church, etc. (I welcome a suggestion – I have been wrestling with this for some time.) As such, I’m inclined to agree with American case law: leave free speech alone.
To borrow from Robert Bolt via Hitchens: We give the Jesus freaks the freedom to protest in the street and spread their hate not because we don’t hate them back or don’t want them to go away, but rather because the power to regulate speech may be turned on us unjustly someday – political tides can turn very quickly – if we cut down the laws ensuring free speech, where will we hide for protection when the Jesus freaks turn round on us and demand the end of gay pride parades or the closure of the Advocate on the grounds that they compromise their personal dignity? We give them the protection of the law for our own safety’s sake, not theirs.
@jwrappaport: All I have to say is to that last paragraph is: AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hate speech is never “free”, and although you have the right to free speech, you have a responsibility to not misuse it.
@Soakman: What most people call “hate speech” is indeed, protected, in the United States. That’s precisely why groups like the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are allowed to continue existing. We don’t outlaw speech in America–only very specific types (such as speech that directly incites violence, physical threatens, etc).
Robert in NYC
@Kamuurie: The Westboro Baptist church has actually held up signs saying ‘Kill Fags’, ‘God hates fags’, ‘AIDS is God’s Revenge’, all hate speech that has resulted in violence in some instances. I can’t think for a minute that the horrendous murder of Matthew Shepherd didn’t happen out of nowhere and that hate speech in some way didn’t have any impact on it. Homophobia is learned behavior, just like racism, taught as a result of hatred of one group of people. What this proves is that no country has total freedom of speech.
Do you think that American employers should be able to get away with homophobic taunts in the workplace and fire someone because they’re gay based on the employer’s personal religious beliefs just because he or she is entitled to freedom of speech? It seems that the argument to support legislation of ENDA is meaningless if it means one’s personal beliefs and freedom of speech have been violated, no matter how uncomfotable it may make the victim of this vile, offensive behavior.
@OMO: Yes man(?) we’ll respectfully disagree on this.
We come from entirely different countries and entirely different cultures.
I just don’t understand America. Wonderful country though it is, I just couldn’t live in a country that can’t make the association between hate speech and hate crime. I do appreciate, though, that I don’t understand the nuances.
However, following the events at that Sikh temple recently, I have zero respect for the Second Amendment. I’m not calling for gun control in the USA. Apart from the fact that I’m not an American and should never argue for that in your country, I also know that the reality of the situation is infinitely more complex than simple ‘gun control’ as an answer to a problem.
Despite that, I can’t understand why you think that unfettered oral abuse of minorities in your country won’t lead to physical abuse as well.
I just don’t get this.
It’s like you think that free speech is enough and you should never consider the consequences. It comes back to the freedom-with-responsibility argument. You can be free in your speech, but do you accept the deaths of other people if you’re not prepared to accept the responsibility that goes with it? How many people need to die using the Second Amendment to make the First Amendment real?
Given the massive destruction of the Bill of Rights since 9/11 – imprisonment without trial, the State killing US citizens from afar, restrictions (Patriot Act) on free speech and meetings and public demonstration (pepper-spray much?) – I have this massive need to ask Americans “Freedom from tyranny? How’s that going for you? Your well-armed militia against tyranny working for you yet?”
I’m not slagging off Americans or the American philosophy of freedom here. I’m just not accepting some of the arguments being expressed here. I expect Americans to be better. I was brought up knowing Americans from the ‘Golden Generation’, I want Americans to be better than me.
I’m not sure whether this works, OMO, but I feel there’s a massive need for America to escape the historical chains of its Constitution and accept the freedoms it offers.
@Dazzer: You raise an interesting rebuttal, that is, that speech is not uttered in a vacuum and that it often has material ill effects on society in general. I agree completely, but I don’t see how it follows that censorship is the remedy. How is “hate speech” defined and who gets to define it? Your intuitive, knee-jerk sense of equity is likely similar to my own, but I have to pose the question: what is a rigorous, equitable way to distinguish hate speech from ordinary speech? Again, I don’t want my government to tell me that I can’t publish a hate-filled pamphlet against the Westboro Baptist Church or say that Mormonism is an idiotic cult whose demise would benefit our country. The charge of hate speech was leveled against the Danish cartoonist who drew Mohammed with a bomb for a turban – the cartoon was funny, true, and arguably hateful in that it attacked the very dignity of Islam and its practitioners, but I’m glad it was printed and agree with its sentiment wholeheartedly.
Why is “God Hates Fags” more hateful than “Benedict is a child rapist” or a sign that reads “Mohammed was an illiterate pedophile whose followers are little more than murderous bullies”? I think we’d see eye to eye on what’s truly more insidious (that is, the first phrase, as it attacks the very essence of living people as opposed to their ideas), but I am very hesitant to vest that power in a government body, let alone one as manifestly incompetent and unrepresentative as the US Congress. Offensiveness is in the eye of the beholder, and without a rigorous definition that preserves my right to excoriate religious practices and their followers, I will not trade it for the silencing of Fred Phelps, dangerous as his speech is and much as I loathe him and what he stands for.
Your last sentence is especially resonant: our Constitution is often used as a vehicle to stymie social equality and is trumpeted by those whose knowledge of it extends little longer than their mock muskets and three-cornered hats. I favor what I assume is your more expansive view of its rights and freedoms, but we can’t forget its historical, social, and legal origins: its purpose was precisely to check the federal government and preserve the rights of the states and people against the fed whenever it could. The issue of federalism is omnipresent in American jurisprudence/politics and it cannot simply be wished away. Federalism cuts both ways: It was the principal argument for slavery and serves as a rallying point for anti-gay ballot initiatives, but also it is the reason why some states are allowed to recognize gay marriage and proscribe LGBT discrimination while the fed drags its feet.
Regarding your arguments on targeted killings, unlawful detentions, and gun control, I save them for another time. Suffice it to say that they are at the very fringes of constitutional law and are absolutely the exception to the rule of law – whether they are justified is a different argument that I am not prepared to make. The issue here is whether hate speech should be proscribed by law. I have yet to hear a persuasive example of a hate speech law that can rigorously and equitably stamp out the Fred Phelpses and Maggie Gallaghers while protecting the Hitchenses and Dawkinses of the world from the clerical bullies who would silence them. Censorship is too brute a force, IMO, and should not be used unless it is absolutely essential to the preservation of law and order (which is to say, almost never).
i like talk with you.
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