Katie Hopkins’ views are not the real issue – silencing her is


It’s amusing to see the confected outrage as Katie Hopkins exits Celebrity Big Brother in Australia — and Australia itself — after threatening to greet a food delivery sherpa naked at her hotel room door. Including not wearing the mandated face mask (because naked obviously means …well, naked).

However, the outrage isn’t because of her being booted — you couldn’t imagine anybody would care about manufactured celebrities on an inane reality cage fight such as the Big Brother franchise —  but about her being let into the country in the first place.

“At a time when thousands of Australians are still languishing overseas, unable to get home because of flight restrictions and exorbitant costs, it’s unfathomable that we would give up one of those precious spots to an alt-right, bigoted provocateur, well known to the government for her hateful bile,” one alt-left feminist birdcage squawked.

Granted, the vapid Hopkins holds thoroughly despicable and uneducated views, and she’s been punished for them by losing her radio job and being censored by Twitter — although that’s akin to punishing somebody by banning them from sticking their noggin in a brainless wasp nest.

So yes, Katie Hopkins is “well known… for hateful bile” both here and (now) in Australia, which probably had no idea who she was until this stunt. But it’s so far not illegal to hold vile views, or even stupid ones — otherwise about 90% of our media pundits (both left and right) and closer to 99% of their parroting warriors on social media would be frogmarched off for a mandated vaycay in Wormwood Scrubs. Or in the case of Australia, whatever they’re doing with convicts down under these days.

Antipodean Minister for Home Affairs, the obviously patient Karen Andrews sensibly pointed out that Hopkins had been given a visa — as had other vacuous celebrities — for the benefit to the Australian economy in having them twitch about in front of cameras in the production of fodder for the TV and cinemia screens. The benefit, of course, being in the employment of the sizeable crews hired to set up, record, produce, etc the footage. Which means they are probably forced to watch it too, so hopefully are paid handsomely for the excruciating ennui it must inflict on them.

Of course shows like Big Brother are freighting in idiots like Katie Hopkins for a show that depends on pitting contestants against each other to see who can provoke the most outrage. Replace them with intelligent, articulate, considerate people and you’ve just got … well, BBC4.

But Hopkins is not the only overseas celebrity parachuted into Australia for a spot of cinematography in their mild winter sunshine.
Their shores are currently graced (or have recently been) by Caitlyn Jenner — also there for the new season of Celebrity Big Brother — Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Sacha Baron Cohen, Colin Farrell, Sigourney Weaver, Rita Ora, Tilda Swinton … we could go on.

We’ve yet to see the birdcages, twitterati and other assorted parrots demanding that all these people be banned from entry.

And among those are other celebrities whose views or productions have been panned.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters Ali G and Borat have been criticised as negative racial stereotyping.

Caitlyn Jenner has been slammed by transgender activists for her view that trans women shouldn’t be allowed to compete in women’s sport.

Colin Farrell vigorously defended the use of the ‘N-word’ in the drama Widows.
Again, we could go on. The point is that there is no shortage of things to disagree with, on all sides of the political and ideological divides.

But deporting people or silencing them is not the answer. If you think what someone says is wrong, argue back. Expose their views and prove them wrong.

These seemingly now-constant calls for people to be silenced, cancelled, deported and whatever else you think will remove them are not the answer. They are the real problem.

Censorship is the real issue. And those who increasingly call for it may well find it comes back to bite them if it comes to pervasive fruition.

Will those who now urge censorship, cancelling, deplatforming and deportation cheer if we return to the days when a particular group could ban anything they thought we shouldn’t be allowed to see — a DH Lawrence novel, for example?

Public debate suffers if we don’t allow those whose views we dislike to air them — so we can then argue against them.

Coincidentally, the minister Karen Andrews was in the news most recently regarding the push for Australia to ban Hezbollah — and we suspect many of those outraged about Hopkins will be equally apoplectic about any proscription of Hezbollah, since the terrorists of the latter are increasingly the darlings of the alt-left trending towards anti-Semitism.

About Hillary Cray


Hillary Cray is a longtime commentator on women in politics.