The increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine now has a Stateside offshoot, called, not surprisingly, Spectator USA. And, as one of its eye-catching and perhaps circulation-boosting ideas, it has given a platform to someone who it perhaps shouldn’t have. Which brings us, inevitably, to the magazine’s flirtation with the far right.
When Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, first rocked up on my doorstep in the dead of night almost three years ago, it was in response to my passing adverse comment upon his being featured in the Spectator. That article was courtesy of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole; the latest has been set up by notable bigot Doug Murray The K, under the guise of a Cancel Culture feature.
Fraser Nelson, editor, the Spectator
Speccy editor Fraser Nelson told his followers at the weekend all about “How to fight back against ‘cancel culture’. By Douglas Murray”. Cancel Culture, Murray told, “is a horrible term because outside of a dictatorship nobody can be ‘cancelled’ or otherwise ‘disappeared’”. So what’s it all about? Would the magazine care to pony up an example?
They certainly would, in the shape of one Gavin McInnes. And the headline, “The mob and me: my life in the crosshairs”, was certainly attention grabbing. “As someone who has been canceled, I can tell you this culture is far from over. Just because some millionaires were able to take a hit, it doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of others annihilated by the mob rule of the radical left” quoted the Spectator USA Twitter feed.
But here a problem enters. For starters, there is a Stephen Lennon connection: McInnes had been due to tour Australia with Lennon, and washed-up man-baby Milo Yiannopoulos, but his visa application was refused. And there was good reason for the authorities there to do so: by his own admission in his Spectator USA article, McInnes “started a men’s club … called the Proud Boys”. And what would the Proud Boys be famous for?
The first line of the Wikipedia entry for the group reads “The Proud Boys is a far-right neo-fascist organization that admits only men as members and promotes political violence”. It’s all about white supremacy, white nationalism, and yes, violence. And the Spectator’s USA offshoot has commissioned an article from him, allowing him to play the victim.
Jonathan Portes has noted, “As [Steve Peers] has pointed out, Gavin McInnes was ‘cancelled' for, among other things, producing a video entitled ’10 things I hate about Jews’ … But apparently [Andrew Neil] & [Fraser Nelson] are entirely comfortable giving him a platform in the Spectator”. “Continuing to kill it [Fraser Nelson]” added Ross McCafferty.
He had in turn quoted Andy Campbell of the HuffPost USA musing “Pretty sure Gavin McInnes got ‘canceled’ because he runs a fascist street gang that's being jailed for assaults all over the country, and got his career started by touting date rape for bros in the pages of Vice. Good job giving this poor guy his platform [Spectator]!”
I’m sure Fraser Nelson and his boss Andrew Neil will plead FREEZE PEACH in their defence. But hiring Gavin McInnes is not a good look for any mainstream publication.
Unless, of course, normalising bigotry and hatred is the game. I’ll just leave that one there.
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