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9 Mar, 2020 14:04

Hierarchy of racism? UK media slapped with hypocrisy accusations after Labour suspends Trevor Phillips

Hierarchy of racism? UK media slapped with hypocrisy accusations after Labour suspends Trevor Phillips

The UK media has come under fire online for its coverage of Islamophobia allegations in contrast to past anti-Semitism controversies following the suspension of former equality watchdog chief Trevor Phillips from the Labour Party.

Phillips – who chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) between 2006 and 2012 – said he was “surprised” at the decision to suspend him for past comments about Muslims. In an article for the Times on Monday, he claimed Labour were becoming “a brutish, authoritarian cult.”

Much of the mainstream press have led with headlines highlighting Phillips’ ‘anti-racism’ credentials.


However, some on Twitter suggested that other “lifelong” anti-racists, such as former Labour MP Chris Williamson and pro-Palestinian activist Jackie Walker, were not afforded the same courtesy, but instead depicted as “some kind of extremist cranks,” over anti-Semitism claims.

Others ostensibly accused the BBC of “propaganda by double-standards” in relation to Islamophobia and anti-Semitism controversies. One person tweeted: “On [BBC] radio 4 Today programme they were muttering sympathetically about how long ago the comments took place.”

Another person hit out at the apparent hypocrisy, claiming that when an individual is suspended by Labour on anti-Semitism charges “the media automatically assume they’re guilty” – in sharp contrast to Phillips’ suspension for alleged Islamophobia, where he is presumed innocent.

The Times reported that the investigation into Phillips’ past comments includes remarks on Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing kids in northern British towns.

He wrote in 2017: “What the perpetrators have in common is their proclaimed faith. They are Muslims, and many of them would claim to be practising. It is not Islamophobic to point this out.”

The 66-year-old alleged in 2016 that British Muslims were “becoming a nation within a nation.” He also joked last year about having been named “Islamophobe of the year.”

A Labour spokeswoman insisted that the party “takes all complaints about Islamophobia extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures.” Labour’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, revealed that they had suspended him as a matter of urgency to “protect the party’s reputation.”

Also on rt.com Guardian accused of ‘vendetta’ for ignoring Chomsky’s Labour anti-Semitism comments

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