A man who admitted posting online footage of himself dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume to stir The widening divide between the United States and England over free speech was captured vividly in the case this case of Christopher Philips who was sent to jail for conduct that would have been viewed as hateful but protected in the United States. Philips was charged with appearing in three YouTube videos dressed as a klansman and posing with a life-sized golliwog doll (a type of rag doll depicting a black person). He is the latest person convicted for “giving offense” in England. Indeed, he pleaded guilty because, as Judge John Warner noted, “It does not require advanced education or knowledge of history to know what you were seeking to convey might cause offense.”
Formerly known as Darren Clifft, Philips has Asperger’s and diagnosed emotional illness that is directly related to act that can be deemed socially unacceptable. Yet, he was still sentenced under a law that criminalized offense and inflammatory speech.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. The contrast in this case is remarkable. While the Court did rule that states could criminally prosecute some cross burnings that threaten others in Black v. Virginia, it is entirely protected to wear KKK outfits or have open rallies and engage in other expressive conduct.
What is particularly interested is that the videos were part of political rallies, though Philips was reportedly tossed out of the National Front for extremist views (an unsettling fact for many who view the Front as extremist). Warner went on to support the case against Philips by noting that he admired “notorious figures” in the Klan. Yet, without indicating any sense of self-contradiction, Warner denounced Philips for views that are inimical to freedom and support for “measures of the most extreme nature which I will give no further publicity.” For civil libertarians, the jailing of a person (let alone a mentally ill person) for holding extreme views and favoring “notorious figures” is pretty extreme and scary.
Despite the sentence, Warner insisted that “In our democracy people are allowed to hold extreme, bizarre and offensive views.” Yet, he then proved that such views are a crime when expressed. The distinction that Warner draws is so transparent as to be rather dishonest:
“Parliament has passed laws like this one, under which you have offended, not to prevent or inhibit dissemination of those views but to prevent the dissemination of material which is threatening or offensive and likely to stir up racial hatred.” He does not indicate how Philips could have disseminated his view on racial hate without people being “offended” or “storing up racial hatred.” Just wearing a Klan outfit appears sufficient to satisfy the case. It would be more honest for Warner and others to simply state the obvious: they do not tolerate free speech that the majority finds offensive.
Philips was sentenced to 12 months for acts that, in my view, should have been protected from arrest — let alone conviction.
What do you think?
Source: Daily Mail
41 thoughts on “English Man Sentenced For Wearing KKK Outfit And Supporting “Notorious Figures””
Randy, by calling others ignorant and lacking English skills rather arguing the point in discussion shows you incapability to interact. Being uncouth is the only weapon got are left with, sad to say. Now you are hiding under your atheist burka when I challenged you about your Christian family and their violent crimes? Is this freedom of speech or freedom of practicing one’s religion when the US law enforcement people infiltrate the mosques? Btw I am not a Muslim. I have no religion like you.
I see that Teji refuses read my previous posts since that would answer his questions, so I have to assume that he is limited in English or is willfully ignorant. My family’s religion is irrelevant and it is outrageous that you slander ALL Christians by saying that ALL Christians are responsible for some violent crimes committed by so called Christians. In NO part of my posts have I said that ALL Muslims are responsible for the crimes committed by Muslim extremists.
when I challenged you about your Christian family and their violent crimes?
THOSE are your words! That is YOUR slander against ALL Christians. That is bigotry and hatred, and one could reasonably have you prosecuted under hate speech laws by the way, something I am AGAINST. Just as I am opposed to prosecuting the KKK guy in this specific time, place, and circumstances. I don’t know your background, and it is irrelevant in any case. My background is relevant as regards my experience and knowledge of Islam. I have lived in a Muslim country for a year and a half and I learned a fair amount of Turkish and travelled extensively around that country.
Once again,, I have in my life, here, and in more areas than YOU fought against bigotry and racism and denounced such things. The problem is that YOU have NOT denounced the hate speech of SOME extremist Muslims. You have refused to denounce them, so I can only assume that you approve of their hate speech and encouragement of terrorism by your silence. THUS, I have NO problem with the police looking at you. I am also aware that there are many Muslims who DO denounce the extremists and those folks are more my brothers and family than YOU. In fact, as I posted earlier one is a very good friend of mine, and in fact, they have possibly more courage than many Christians since they run a real threat of being killed by their fellow Muslims as well as the few nuts you like to cite.
Randy: Allow me to decipher your anger, wrath and ire with my limited English skills. Please forgive me in advance if I make any grammatical mistakes or typos, the benchmark you have set for me.
[I see that Teji refuses read my previous posts since that would answer his questions, so I have to assume that he is limited in English or is willfully ignorant.]
Randy:common sense would dictate that If I had not read your posts, I would not be interacting about it. Mind you, I am not accusing you for lack of common sense as you have about my lack of English skills but showing you the obvious.
[ My family’s religion is irrelevant and it is outrageous that you slander ALL Christians by saying that ALL Christians are responsible for some violent crimes committed by so called Christians.]
David: stop assuming things while frothing. I never said all Christians are extremists. I just mentioned what kinds of atrocities were Christians involved in? Now, one should ponder who is the one that lacks English skills!
[In NO part of my posts have I said that ALL Muslims are responsible for the crimes committed by Muslim extremists.]
Define the world extremist to me please. I am against all kinds of violence committed against people by anyone. But you force me to compare one Abrahamic religion with the other one and I am sure your own ancestors belong to one of them, and both had committed atrocities against humanity but the fact you ignore is that the Christian crusaders/extremists//terrorists had a 700 year head start. Please keep that on mind.Why pick one branch of the same tree rather than looking at the tree itself?
[when I challenged you about your Christian family and their violent crimes?
THOSE are your words! That is YOUR slander against ALL Christians.]
WRONG: Is the whole Christianity your family. Were you ever a Christian or born in a Christian household? That is NOT a slander but the factual things committed by the Christians as my previous posts would indicate.
[That is bigotry and hatred, and one could reasonably have you prosecuted under hate speech laws by the way, something I am AGAINST.]
LOL, things are getting juicer now. One should challenge your English comprehension this time. Are you threatening me of being a bigot and I could be arrested for that and in the same sentence you said you were AGAINST it? That is funny and as well threatening to say the least and it is nothing but doublespeak babble which would not work with me. So, hold on to your stand. What does your threat mean to me when you contradict yourself later on for the same?
[Just as I am opposed to prosecuting the KKK guy in this specific time, place, and circumstances.]
Me too. No where in my posts did I ever suggest that what you are implying here.As I do not live in the UK now, I have no idea how long he was behind bars for or was he prosecuted for this or just spent a couple of days there. Tony may have a better picture about it and I would urge him to let us know about the rest of the story. All countries have different laws because of their culture.My British Driver’s Licence expires till I am 75 because they want the citizens to be responsible if something happens to them. It does not have any picture. We were discouraged to keep our licence, car registration and insurance in the car. England being a small country, if one was stopped by the police, you were given 5 days to show your documents at the Police Station of your choice. I know that is impractical in the US because it is much larger and culturally different..Now, things may have changed a bit over there.
[I don’t know your background, and it is irrelevant in any case. My background is relevant as regards my experience and knowledge of Islam. I have lived in a Muslim country for a year and a half and I learned a fair amount of Turkish and travelled extensively around that country.]
I have lived and travelled around many Muslim countries myself and still go there.Talking about Turkish, they were so much against Arabic alphabets and wanted to distance themselves from the Arab world that they changed their own alphabets, made it more anglo saxon kind. But what is your point in the above. I fail to grasp what you are trying to convey.
[Once again,, I have in my life, here, and in more areas than YOU fought against bigotry and racism and denounced such things.]
Here we go again with your ignorant tirade which is laughable to say the least.You have no idea how I fight against bigotry daily and which associations I am associated with including the Homeland Security as a civilian member. You will never know how I fight hatred and bigotry and I do that daily.:-)
Do you consider bullying is hate speech or not? Please express your views about it as many kids commit suicide including the Whites because of bullying which is sad and a shame at the same time.
And the worst part of your above post is that you claim to know more about me than about yourself. For you it is all about “meism”.
“The problem is that YOU have NOT denounced the hate speech of SOME extremist Muslims.”
I apologise, that I have not denounced hate speech the way you wanted me to. In fact I never talked about it. I took the broader canvas that you did not like, Picasso.Next time send your hatred script for me please.
[You have refused to denounce them, so I can only assume that you approve of their hate speech and encouragement of terrorism by your silence. ]
Randy: I thought you were an honest person but your above babble shows the opposite. Where have I refused to denounce the hate speech? Please be honest and specific. You can assume anything you want which shows your own built in hatred. Facts are not assumptions. A prism can be looked at from many different angles. But you are trying to take my freedom away for looking it from my angle. Is this the way you fight against hatred and bigotry by spouting it yourself in this manner? I am a bit bewildered at your anger, hatred and claiming to know others. This is the reason we have the forum to ask question so we do not flaunt our ignorance.with false assumptions as you have done.
[THUS, I have NO problem with the police looking at you. I am also aware that there are many Muslims who DO denounce the extremists and those folks are more my brothers and family than YOU.]
LOL. Now I am a bit confused now. First you write: “I don’t know your background, and it is irrelevant in any case” and now you have decided that I am a Muslim. One more doublespeak from you. You are full of contradictions and frothing all over which is funny to say the least. I denounce all kinds of extremism done by any religion or one belonging to no religion. So what is it Am I a Muslim or not? Does it matter to you or not because your statement above says it does matter to you and you have NO problem with the Police looking at me:-). Nothing but senseless nonsense coming from you.
[ In fact, as I posted earlier one is a very good friend of mine, and in fact, they have possibly more courage than many Christians since they run a real threat of being killed by their fellow Muslims as well as the few nuts you like to cite.]
Yes you did. This is a common thing among the bigots and the racists who use the claim having black friends as a shield while they are spitting bigotry towards the same race. You did not do anything differently than the common practice by many like you in the US.
Randy: Please read my earlier post again. I never said you were a Christian. I specifically said IF you are a Christian. Stop distorting what I said. It demeans and undermines your own argument.
randyjet, we make our own laws in my country, and here it is unlawful to deliberately foment racial hatred. It’s not consistent with the US First Amendment, and that’s why I understand that many Americans won’t like it. But actually, we’re quite happy to be able to fight back and defend our communities from those who want to divide us. We were nearly overrun by fascists with huge fleets of bombers and cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. Our food convoys were torpedoed and we literally invented computers to help is decipher the enemy’s secret signals. We turned the enemy’s secret agents into double agents and set them to confusing the enemy, so that even as American, Canadian, French, British and other troops landed in Normandy the enemy was convinced that the real attack would come much further east.
So don’t try to tell the British they’re doing it wrong. Britain could not have survived without help from the US, but what kind of war would it have been if we had not, as a people, opposed and despised the principles against which we fought?
Now you’ve chosen to use this thread to make accusations against British people on the basis of their religion. I hope you’re aware that we have freedom of religion in the UK.
Tony you are avoiding the facts and constructing straw men to argue with. I see that you missed my posts which supported the French and Germans among others who do punish fascists of any stripe. I am probably better versed in WWII history than YOU, and I have visited the UK on many occasions and especially the RAF and Imperial War Museum and the British museum.
I see that you purposely accuse me of making accusations against ALL Muslims which I did NOT do. I also asked you if you would support jailing the Muslim extremists whose speeches HAVE resulted in mass killings in the UK. But I guess that only whites can be guilty of racism and fascism in your view. As I pointed out freedom of speech is not an absolute even in the US. Too bad you choose to ignore my real views. I still am waiting for your response to why the Muslim extremists are not facing similar charges under UK law. They have in FACT created REAL DEAD VICTIMS, unlike YOUR hypothetical ones. Try answering the questions instead of ducking them.
Randy: If you are a Christian or belong to a Christian family, then Muslims are your cousins. It is your family feud because all 3 Abrahamical religions have one umbilical cord? How many radicals do you have in your family? And I happen to agree with Tony.
Teji, I am not a Christian and am an atheist. I dislike ALL religions, and I am amused that you think that because I am American, I must be a Christian. One of my best pilot friends is Muslim and a great guy and I even got him a job at my airline. So please try and get rid of your prejudice and hatred for those who are concerned about the Muslim extremists who HAVE killed MANY hundreds of EU citizens. The FACT is that these extremists use the excuse of Islam and its teachings to justify and commit these ghastly crimes against innocent citizens. It is YOU who are the bigot and worse, seek to shield the extremists because they are Muslim. Sorry, but YOU are the very people who should be the most concerned about jailing these extremists in their preaching. So once again, if the UK can jail this KKK nuts for his speech and actions, why not do the same for the Muslims who preach similar things as this racist did? Or are ALL MUSLIMS immune from the hate speech laws and only whites are expected to follow those laws. Please answer that question. Why are Muslim fascists free to preach the same kind of hate and not be thrown in prison?
Randy: You did not answer my question about your Christian background. As I said, it is a family feud. You mean the whites are not Muslim too? Are you a bigoted atheist because you are defending the KKKristians? Why? And fyi, one of the Al quaeda’s spokespersons is full bloodied white Muslim. You should know that. The fastest growing prison population in the US is Islamic. Aurora’s killer is a white Christian and so was the Sandy Hook killer and the guy who killed 6 Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin was also a KKKristian and he wounded the police chief of Oak Creek for life. It is laughable that you defend radicalism of KKK no matter what you call yourself now, you are the patch of the same quilt. There are 3000 Muslims in the US armed forces. The so called radical Muslims are using the same excuse as the Christians did during the crusades because they had a 700 years of head start. Give 700 years to the Muslims, they may become Atheists like you are. Learn from the history of your own ancestors.
Teji, I see that you are as ignorant as the person who once asked Bernadette Devlin what religion she has. She answered that she is an atheist. The questioner then removed all doubt about their being a fool, by asking if she were a Catholic atheist or a Protestant one. I usually I do not engage with fools, and it is only for entertainment rather than a serious discussion.
By your being incapable of understanding simple ideas and arguments and your refusal to condemn the Muslim terrorists, you raise some interesting problems as to how far we should allow some groups to exist in a free society. I can only assume that your limited English prevents you from reading my previous posts about the KKK. I refer you to them before you simply lie that I defend the KKK, while in FACT applaud the fact that the Federal government after the Civil War simply shot KKK members on sight in the US. Unlike YOU, I have been the victim of the KKK, have fought against them and sacrificed lots of time and money to do that. Back when they were committing terrorist acts, I was demanding that the police and FBI infiltrate and investigate those terrorists and put them in prison or execute them if they killed a person. You on the other hand and folks like you have not given me any examples of such attacks in the UK. On the other hand, extremist Muslims HAVE killed hundreds of innocent people in the EU. You refuse to apply the SAME laws you want used against the KKK. to the Muslims who preach hate and urge Muslims to kill and commit crimes and terrorize the UK. Once again, I ask you, why do you not call for the same laws to be applied to Muslim extremists? Why is it that only non-Muslims should be punished for hate speech, and not them?
Mike Appleton i appreciate your opinion, but do you really think Britain is facing more racial unrest than in the 1930s when Mosley’s fascists tried to parade through the East End in force and were fought back by Jews, Catholics and Communists? A year or two ago the EDL tried to repeat that, bussing in people from all England, but they were outnumbered by local East Enders, who all peacefully stood in the street to express their opposition to racism. We hate these racists, and our laws reflect that. Our government correctly attempts to ensure that the fascists at least have a chance to demonstrate where they want. They strive diligently to give the racists a chance to say what they want, even if it means the quite drearily predictable possibility that people will (as did my daughter not long ago) have to experience the sight of people openly goading their fellow human beings, because of their religion, as paedophiles.
That’s why everybody hates the racists. They’re unreasonable and they try to divide communities. But the good news is that they’re in decline. Why so? Because England hates fascism more than it hates foreigners and diversity. We were bombed to pieces by fascists but we always thrive under diversity.
Speech is only likely to “stir up racial hatred” among irrational listeners. In Europe and Great Britain, increasing restrictions on speech are a response to fears of social unrest resulting from increasing religious, cultural and ethnic diversity in nations that until recently were largely homogeneous.
While the motives behind these measures is understandable, they are shortsighted. If one pursues the logic to its conclusion, one inevitably reaches a point at which unreason, as defined by government, becomes punishable as sedition. Quiet populations are not beacons of peace; they are silent monuments to tyranny.
If we understand nothing else from history, we should at least acknowledge that fear is a poor legislative foundation.
randyjet this is clearly not a banning. We have plenty of these racist, right wing people in the UK. we also do, as it happens, really loath them because they are quite open in their intentions of dividing us on their silly and pointless grounds.
This is a case where a guy went all out to cause the most harm he could using a video camera, a racist depiction of a human, and a noose. Legal in sone countries, not legal in the UK. There are victims in such crimes.
Sorry Tony, but there are major flaws in your arguments. The big one is that there are NO victims and simply saying that speech under these specific conditions of peace and relative tranquility is a crime is absolutely extreme to say the least. It is arresting people on the grounds that a crime might occur at some point in the future. Now if you can point to some specific person, place, or other possible victims, then you might have a very weak case even under UK laws.
The other problem is that the UK is not putting Muslim extremists in prison whose speeches actually HAVE incited acts of terror, and mass murders in the UK. I have seen the speeches of some of these Muslims, and they are pushing the limits even for my principles. They most certainly should be in prison based on YOUR reasons and UK law. So I hope that you will join the calls for putting these Jihadists in prison based on these laws if you are serious about supporting such laws.
Fron Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
(Article Speakers’ Corner, date as posted, lead section)
peakers there may talk on any subject, as long as the police consider their speeches lawful, although this right is not restricted to Speakers’ Corner only. Contrary to popular belief, there is no immunity from the law, nor are any subjects proscribed, but in practice the police tend to be tolerant and therefore intervene only when they receive a complaint or if they hear profanity.
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