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Monday 27 July 2020


The welter of severely adverse comment precipitated by Wiley’s anti-Semitic Twitter meltdown continues, with some blaming the social media platform for inaction, even though it handed down a temporary ban and removed those Tweets that it considered broke the platform’s Ts and Cs. And on the back of the ruckus have come those attempting to smear others with a little of that good old guilt by association.
Maajid Nawaz

So it was that selectively sensitive soul Maajid Nawaz, still on the roster of hosts at broadcaster LBC, duly addressed Wiley’s behaviour, with LBC telling its audience “Maajid Nawaz slated the actions of Wiley, after an anti-semitic tirade lasting hours resulted in the rapper being banned from Twitter for a week”. The Great Man had more to say.
Ash Sarkar

It doesn’t matter if you’re black or Muslim & have claim to legitimate grievances, fighting racism with racism is simply wrong … and antisemitism *is* racism … I’m joining my Jewish friends in boycotting twitter for 48 hours from 9am tomorrow”. Having ostentatiously taken the moral high ground, he then left his foot in the tackle as he posted a photo with the comment “Wiley’s autobiography acknowledgments”.
Highlighted in the photo was the name of pundit Ash Sarkar, whom Wiley had thanked personally. And Nawaz was at pains to stress “And yes, that *was* relevant. I have had enough of bloody hypocrites (especially far-left ones)”. Yeah, anybody else want some? But here a problem entered. Or rather, two problems entered.
One, as Ms Sarkar pointed out in response to Nawaz’ attempted smear, “Maajid, you came to the launch party of this book”. Oh dear! She also left her foot in the tackle: “There were free copies of the book being given out at that party. I don’t recall if [Maajid Nawaz] took one or not (though I do remember him being v friendly and gregarious), but imagine if he’s used a copy picked up at the event for this gotcha? I’ll never stop laughing!
And Two, Ms Sarkar had already passed adverse comment on Wiley’s Twitter excursion, telling “I’ve worked with Wiley closely before, but his tirade against Jewish people yesterday was unacceptable. It mobilised some of the most cruel antisemitic tropes, unleashed a world of abuse on Black Jewish people who criticised him, & deepened divides between communities who at this time, need to stand together more than ever”.
There was more. “I didn’t tweet yesterday because I was DM’ing him about why what he was saying was wrong (as I know many others were as well). And it’s a terrible shame that he didn’t listen to any of those people. That’s his responsibility”. Worse for Nawaz is that Ms Sarkar posted that direct condemnation of Wiley’s behaviour at 1000 hours yesterday, which was ALMOST EIGHT HOURS before Nawaz tried to pull his smear.
So there was no hypocrisy, “far-left” or otherwise. Worse, the attempt to pull a retrospective guilt by association smear failed because Nawaz, too, had been happy to be associated with Wiley - unless he had some other motive for rocking up at that book launch and being “v friendly and gregarious”. Or scoring a free copy of Wiley’s book.

Either way, it’s a monumental own goal. More credibility down the chute, eh?
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Anonymous said...

I thought about facetiously asking what Nawaz thought about media like radio being used to defend racism or to link to his comment that "Anti-racism is more important than to allow itself to be coopted as hashtags by very wealthy corporations to sell more products to people."

But, then, I wondered whether these sort of criticisms of twitter and the recent attacks on 'cancel culture' were a way that old media is trying to defend itself against digital media. As Billy Bragg wrote, "The ability of middle-aged gatekeepers to control the agenda has been usurped by a new generation of activists who can spread information through their own networks, allowing them to challenge narratives promoted by the status quo". Speaking as a straight, white, middle-class, middle-aged man myself, I would have to say Bragg should have added the words "for their corporate employers" after agenda.

Not that this is a defence of twitter; along with other platforms, it should be treated as a publisher. Nor does this mean that Newton-Dumb was right to say “This wouldn’t happen if [Twitter] took responsibility for its content, like broadcast, print and digital media must”. As if self-regulation or a toothless body like Ofcom would have any effect. No government is going to cross a media that got it elected in the first place. And stronger libel laws would just empower the rich further. We're fucked.

Anonymous said...

Wait till Nawaz discovers nobody gives a fuck if he and other similar far right knobheads boycott Twitter. That, in fact, they are encouraged to make it permanent.

Oh how we'll larf.