Nov 10th, 2023
We are not sorry to anger Tommy Robinson fans
By Matthew McGregor
By reinstating the accounts of Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins on 6 November, Elon Musk is letting hate speech spread on X (formerly Twitter). This is dangerous. From stoking Islamophobia that’s been linked to attacks, to calling for a “final solution,” giving people like this a platform puts us all at risk as it causes radicalisation.
That same day, we launched a petition with HOPE not hate, an organisation that exposes and opposes far-right extremism, calling on Elon Musk to reverse this decision. This angered some Tommy Robinson fans. And now they’re even angrier that we won’t host the ‘anti-HOPE not hate’ or ‘pro-Tommy’ petitions they’ve been trying to set up on our site.
Here’s why we won’t host petitions like that: we do not – and will never – host petitions that are against our values.
38 Degrees is not ‘a petition site’. We are a people-powered movement of supporters who want to make the UK a fairer, more respectful, more sustainable country. Our staff team and our supporters use petitions as one of many tactics to raise our voices for those ends.
This is laid out clearly in our Terms of Service:
38 Degrees is independent of all political parties, and upholds values of freedom, democracy, peace, human rights, community, equality, fairness and sustainability. We reserve the right to remove any campaigns or comments that do not share these principles.
As long as a campaign meets these terms, anyone can start a petition as part of Campaigns By You. Not every supporter or member of our staff team will agree with every petition, but every petition is reviewed by these standards. If people want to run a campaign that promotes racism or hate, there are platforms out there that will host it. We are not one of them.
We’re proud to work with organisations like HOPE not hate. And we’re equally proud not to host campaigns that want to sow division and attack important organisations like HOPE not hate. In recent years we have stepped up our work to support organisations campaigning for a fairer, more respectful country – from the Black Equity Organisation to the National Education Union to COVID Bereaved Families for Justice and many more.
We are independent, but we are not neutral in campaigning for a fairer country.