After pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins lost that libel action brought against her by writer and campaigner Jack Monroe, and as a result landed herself with a bill probably well north of half a million notes, one might have thought that even she might think long and hard before taking to Twitter to make yet more statements that could be construed as defamatory. But, it seems, that thought would have been misplaced.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Because, following her moment in court - even though she couldn’t be bothered turning up to hear the judgment delivered - Hatey Katie was back on Twitter yesterday, opening mouth and inserting boot in no style at all. Quite apart from her pretending that she was “the Jesus of the outspoken”, Ms Hopkins had homed in on a JustGiving page which bore her photo. She immediately got the wrong impression of its purpose.
Tweeting “Please may I flag this fraudulent site. Thank you. On dearie me”, Ms Hopkins had apparently not clicked on the link to see what it was actually for. Had she done so, she would have found that there was a good reason for her photo being there - this was the caption beneath it: “Help raise enough money for Katie Hopkins' legal fees and libel damages”. It was a genuine JustGiving page to help HER! Well, perhaps. It was actually to help the Trussell Trust, but it still wasn't fraudulent.
Many of those donating were happy to commit a tenner or so, saying that she had got what she deserved. Several took advantage of the GiftAid tax break. And in less than 12 hours after it was started, the page had raised over £6,000. It’s now reached over £7,700. But Hatey Katie had denounced it as “fraudulent”, and asserting that a genuine fundraising effort is “fraudulent” has potentially serious consequences.
This was helpfully pointed out to Ms Hopkins by Andy McHaffie, who quoted her Tweet back at her and commented “Attention @kthopkins. @Justgiving.com is NOT a fraudulent site. There may be legal ramifications unless you issue them an apology”. Whoops! Just like her attack on Jack Monroe, she was faced with the option of having to do something she clearly had great trouble accomplishing - saying sorry.
Still, it wasn’t that bad, was it? I mean, it was just another of those little mistakes that Brendan O’Neill was banging on about yesterday on Spiked, wasn’t it? Well, maybe not: O’Neill hadn’t bothered to read the court judgment. Someone who sounded like they had read it was the Tweeter otherwise known as Bitpunk, who observed “Ha! You've just posted the link to over 684000 people! Good work!”
Yes, the number of people who view the offending Tweet is a factor in the damage it may be judged to have caused. Meanwhile, others were Retweeting Ms Hopkins in the sure and certain knowledge that she would have to delete it - thus making her position worse. And delete it she then did - but not before anyone and everyone had taken a copy.
What the people at LBC will be making of that is anyone’s guess: Ms Hopkins’ show is going out as I type. What lawyers across the legal profession will be making of it is her more pressing problem. Katie Hopkins appears to have done it again.
She’ll just have to hope the JustGiving and Trussell Trust people are in a forgiving mood.