REPORTED TO POLICE: Sun columnist Katie Hopkins
CONTROVERSIAL COLUMNIST Katie Hopkins and Sun editor David Dinsmore have been reported to the Metropolitan Police for inciting racial hatred.
The report, filed by Peter Herbert, Chair Society of Black Lawyers, comes days after Hopkins’ column titled Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants appeared in the tabloid newspaper over the weekend.
The piece described migrants as ‘cockroaches’ and suggested the government deploy ‘gunships’ to force them back to their countries of origin.
The timing of the piece came shortly after a horrific boating accident in the Mediterranean had claimed the lives of a suspected 700 migrants escaping Libya.
The 40-year-old implied that she was unmoved and indicated that migrants were "built to survive a nuclear bomb".
The complaint was made directly to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, today (April 20) and requested that an investigation be launched under the Public Order Act 1986.
A section of the complaint reads: “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 complaint went on: “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.”
Hopkins’ comments have also sparked an online petition demanding that she be sacked as a Sun columnist.
The petition hosted on Change.org has surpassed its organiser’s expectation, believed to be 500 signatures, to amass close to 300,000 in three days.
The organiser, 22-year-old Izzy Saunders, wrote in support of the petition: “I am not attacking her right to an opinion, however, I do not believe The Sun newspaper should encourage these poisonous opinions.”
The ongoing media storm surrounding the article continued on the airwaves.
While covering on London radio station LBC, a listener who called in to challenge Hopkins took the host to task.
In the five-minute debate with PR professional Ronke Lawal from Greenwich, Lawal criticised Hopkins for “selling a completely false rhetoric to the nation.”
Struggling for a rebuttal, the host resorted to ending the phone call prematurely.
The article has also been subject to the scrutiny of the Independent Press standards Organisation (IPSO) after receiving more than 100 complaints since it was published.
This will not be the first instance that the former Apprentice contestant has been accused of the inciting racial hatred. Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Daneczuk reported Hopkins to the police in March, after a series of her tweets on Twitter appeared to equate men of Pakistani origin to child abusers.