There are growing calls for Twitter to suspend Katie Hopkins’ account following her comments about the Melbourne crash which saw a car plough into pedestrians in the Australian city.
Though Melbourne Police say the incident was a “deliberate act”, they have stated there is no evidence to suggest a link with terrorism at this stage.
The driver was a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent with a history of drug use and mental health problems and a second man, aged 24, who was arrested in close proximity to the scene, was discovered to have a bag containing knives after he was seen filming the incident.
Nevertheless Hopkins, who has seen her employment terminated with The Sun, MailOnline and LBC radio in recent years, described the driver of the vehicle as a “terrorist”, followed by urges to “Get them out. Get their families out. Close their mosque. Remove the extremist Imam.”
The 42-year-old even managed to slip in a jibe at London mayor Sadiq Khan, taunting: “Come on the Khan’t. We’re waiting… you stand shoulder to shoulder… ‘inexplicable’ act… terrorists will never win… beware.”
Pleas to Twitter to ban Hopkins – who has repeatedly drawn criticism, particularly for her opinions on immigrations and Islam – come in the wake of a week which saw Britain First’s Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding suspended from the social networking site for “hateful conduct”.
User Malcolm Skittle tweeted: “Twitter ban this piece of shit right now if you have any credibility still left. It was confirmed it wasn’t terror related and mental health.”
“Just counting the days. But it won’t be long until you are kicked out and your twitter account closed. You won’t have much platform left to incite violence!” replied Ali Ceessay.
Sue Pook added: “Just temporarily unblocked Katie Hopkins’ account so I could report her rampant bigotry to Twitter. Perhaps others could do the same and hopefully this irrelevant purveyor of hatred can go the way of Britain First leaders.”
Of its crackdown, Twitter has said: “We are starting to enforce updates to the Twitter Rules and media policy to reduce hateful conduct and abusive behaviour.”
It also makes clear that “content that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act” will be prohibited.
It continues: “This includes celebrating any violent act in a manner that may inspire others to replicate it or any violence where people were targeted because of their membership in a protected group. We will require offending Tweets to be removed and repeated violations will result in permanent suspension.”
Though Twitter did not disclose which specific accounts had been suspended, nor a total, the accounts of Fransen and Golding suggested they were both suspended since they “violate the Twitter rules.”
In November it was announced Hopkins will no longer write for MailOnline after her contract was not renewed by “mutual consent”. Last year MailOnline was forced to pay £150,000 in damages after she wrote a string of mistruths and defamatory claims about a British Muslim family barred from travelling to the United States.
In October she was forced to delete a series of Tweets in the wake of a car accident outside London’s Natural History Museum which appeared to suggest it was a terror attack, telling tourists “right now, London is not worth the risk”. She also accused the BBC of state propaganda after the news website described the incident as a “crash”.
In May she lost her LBC show after she tweeted remarks in the wake of the Manchester bombing that some interpreted as calls for ethnic cleansing.
In March Hopkins lost a Twitter libel case against food blogger Jack Monroe. Monroe won £24,000 in damages, while Hopkins was ordered to pay both her own and Monroe’s legal bills, a figure some experts say could exceed £300,000. The action was over a tweet sent by Hopkins in 2015 which implied Monroe had either vandalised a war memorial or had condoned the act.
In 2015 she escaped charges over allegations she had incited racial hatred for calling migrants “cockroaches”. She was questioned by police in connection with the controversial column, published in The Sun on April 17, that came in the wake of a capsizing in which 400 migrants are believed to have drowned.
The piece, entitled ‘Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants’, likened people fleeing war-torn nations to “cockroaches” and called for them to be turned away with military force.
A day later up to 900 people were feared to have lost their lives after a similar incident. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the language the reality TV star had used in her column was similar to that used by newspapers and radio stations in Rwanda before the 1994 genocide that led to hundreds of thousands of people being slaughtered.
Jordanian Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged authorities in the UK to use the law to clamp down on a “vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK tabloid press”, adding: “The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches. This type of language is clearly inflammatory and unacceptable, especially in a national newspaper.”
Hopkins was reported to the Met three days after the article was published by Society of Black Lawyers chairman Peter Herbert, who complained her words were “offensive” and “xenophobic”.
The Special Enquiry Team of the Homicide and Major Crime Command investigated, but six months later Hopkins revealed she had been given the all clear. She told MailOnline: “I will not and will never apologise for standing up for what I believe in.
“I find it surprising that at a time when police are so undermanned they can’t afford to turn up to burglaries or find cars after a crash, they think a woman with an opinion is their highest priority.
“I am grateful Scotland Yard enjoys my writing but I would encourage them to focus their energies on those who present a real threat to this country which I love.”