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I’ve been on the internet long enough now that surely nothing should surprise me, but honestly, the depravity of some people is beyond the pale.

Footballer, Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the football pitch on Saturday, after suffering a heart attack. This happened in the middle of a game.

It seemed that everybody and his wife took to Twitter to extend their fervent hope that he would be ok. Whilst normal folk were left reeling by this incident, a couple of people devoid of any humanity, took to Twitter and used the incident as an excuse to hurl racist abuse and wish death upon him.

I want to know, what kind of mind would tweet this kind of abuse?

Liam Stacey was one young man, with such a mind:

Seriously?

Luckily the normal people on Twitter were rightly outraged and reported him to the police. Unluckily for him, he had clues to his real life all over his Twitter page, and he’d also included the rugby club that he played for, and he was tweeting under his real name.

I’m afraid I really don’t understand how anybody can see an innocent person dying, and feel moved to post such vitriol.

Luckily for us, the police have taken a dim view of such behaviour, and he was arrested and appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court yesterday.

This is what he had to say:

When interviewed by police, Stacey said he had been drinking since lunchtime on Saturday and was drunk when he made the comments.

He told police: “I was at the bar when I heard what had happened to Muamba. I don’t know why I posted it.

“I’m not racist and some of my friends are from different cultural backgrounds.”

I can’t believe he doesn’t believe he’s racist.

He was told that he may face jail time over his comments. He’s been bailed until his sentencing and has been ordered not to use Twitter and other social networking sites.

As a side note, when will people realise that just because they have black friends, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t racist? It just means that they like those particular black people.

Richard Bacon, a broadcaster and journalist has a really good column about his experience with internet trolls and keyboard warriors. Well worth a read.

In the mean time, I hope you join Twitter in praying for Fabrice Muamba to win his battle to live.

18 Comments »


  • Miravlix
    March 20
    9:36 am

    People are afraid, the terror we see in the world…

    Most people simply isn’t smart enough to deal with fear.

    And our society is not advanced enough to teach people to overcome basic human reactions.

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  • I feel for Muamba and his family, especially since, at his age and being an athlete, it must have completely come from left field. Very sad.

    As to that “thing” that thought it would be funny to go on Twitter like that, saying he’s not a racist… really? I hope they nail him good. Sadly, this is behavior that I’ve seen in other venues online. However, this idiot takes the cake… he was tweeting under his own name and the thing had a picture of himself? … no comment.

    Mireya

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  • Lori
    March 20
    12:27 pm

    Oh how sad for that poor young man and his family.

    And why is it that the second people call you on racist behavior folks immediately fall back on that whole ‘some of my best friends are…’ line?

    Awful. And I’m glad in YOUR country something can be done about it.

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  • Toni
    March 20
    2:59 pm

    Interesting. Obviously, he’s ridiculous, racist and disgusting and a slew of other adjectives, but is what he said really against the law in the UK? He didn’t actually threaten anybody. In the U.S., what he said would be protected by free speech.

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  • He didn’t actually threaten anybody. In the U.S., what he said would be protected by free speech.

    That’s why arseholes like Rush Limbaugh can play songs like Barack the Magic Negro and get away with it.

    I don’t think you should ever be allowed to behave in such a manner and get away with it. Speak freely, but know that if you’re hurling racist abuse, you’re going to get punished. At least in my country. Thank God.

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  • Have they locked up that asshole designer yet? Europeans have experienced the consequences of hate speech run amok and have sensibly chose to legislate against it. Americans, with the impudence of youth believe freedom of speech is worth what can be a very high cost. I hope we don’t learn the hard way that it might not be.

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  • Roslyn, haters claim free speech as often as they do the Constitution, whenever they’re behaving in particularly assholic manner. I certainly dont defend people’s right to incite hatred in the name of free speech. F*ck that.

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  • Maili
    March 21
    12:05 am

    @Toni

    Freedom of speech does exist in England and Wales, but of course, it has a couple of conditions attached. (Scotland has a different legal stance, but we won’t go there.)

    In Stacey’s case, though – it’s more to do with public order as he was charged for committing a ‘racially aggravated public order offence':

    “What are ‘racially aggravated’ offences?

    Racially aggravated offences are offences where the offender shows or is driven by racial hostility. They are offences where:

    – At the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, the offender demonstrates hostility towards the victim based on the victim’s membership (or presumed membership) of a racial group;

    – Or the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by hostility towards members of a racial group based on their membership of that group.”

    Source: http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/fact_sheets/racially_aggravated_offences/

    It’s not like everyone can get arrested for doing what Stacey did. Muamaba is a high-profile figure and some of those who reported Stacey to the police are also high-profile figures, which helped to nab him at supersonic speed. I think this is to show that racial abuse in public isn’t tolerated. High-profile case = a national reminder.

    But yeah, the police can be a bit inconsistent as some were fast and effective while some others dragged their feet (probably because they had their heads up their arses).

    And before anyone would wonder — yes, there have been times when a non-white person had been arrested and tried for committing racially aggravated public order offence against a white person. This is admittedly a dodgy/slippery area, though.

    Either way (and right or wrong), I’m glad those Acts exist in this country. No one should put up with that kind of crap.

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  • Expressing hatred is not the same as inciting it. I find these statements as repulsive and repugnant as anyone else — I couldn’t even read more than a couple of them — but if Liam Stacey had been an American, his vile speech would have been defended under the Constitution because the intent is to protect ALL speech, not just that which we agree with.

    That does not mean all speakers and speech must be given a platform (or radio show) or even that they should be given respect. But these ugly comments, while they are hateful, do not appear to specifically encourage others to do harm. (There may be others that do, in which the “free speech” line is crossed.) If the writer is kicked out of university because the school doesn’t wish to have a hate-monger on the campus, if his neighbors refuse to speak to him, if the press chooses to publicly excoriate and humiliate him, if his twitter and facebook and social media accounts are pulled because he violated TOS, that’s the appropriate treatment.

    But I will agree with the American model that rejects government censorship of unpopular speech. Let the court of public opinion condemn him instead.

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  • Maili
    March 21
    12:06 am

    *Muamba! Not Muamaba, damn it. Sorry.

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  • Maili
    March 21
    12:24 am

    @Linda

    “But I will agree with the American model that rejects government censorship of unpopular speech. Let the court of public opinion condemn him instead.”

    LOL.

    Believe me, “unpopular speech” – including racist, bigoted, misogynistic, etc – is still very much alive in this country.

    Just go over to the Daily Mail online and read comments of any article about politics, immigrants, etc.

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  • Wow. It’s Tourette’s on Twitter. Also, dude’s a racist. In vino veritas and all that.

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  • Sadly, this reminds me of the racism and ignorance that was all over social media in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Japan last year. A lot of religious nutcases claimed that was God’s punishment for Pearl Harbour. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be Catholic.

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  • Toni
    March 21
    2:49 am

    @Maili

    Thanks for your explanation. In America, we have “hate crime laws” as well, of which I wholeheartedly approve. Here, if someone commits a crime and it can be proven that the crime was motivated by hatred against a protected class, the convicted gets a lot of time added to his/her sentence.

    I suppose what I don’t understand in this case is the inciting offense or crime. Is the crime being nasty on Twitter? According to the link you provided, the racial motivation must be combined with a crime. I suppose it could fall under “intentional harassment, alarm or distress (Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986),” but that seems quite a broad definition of harassment. I’m sure the police aren’t ready to start arresting people for cursing each other out when they have no racial motivation; thus, according to the law you linked to, they shouldn’t be arresting this man either.

    @Linda Hilton

    Your post expresses my views on the matter.

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  • Well, Ann, there was plenty of “God’s punishment” over Katrina too, so I can’t say I’m surprised.

    I’m a bit torn on the topic of hate speech, because I do see the point of defending the right to express oneself, regardless of the tenor of such thoughts (i.e., however much of an asshole a person may be) because it’s the only way to have *my* right to speak protected if the tide of public opinion starts pulling the other way.

    However, protecting the right of everyone to say whatever the fuck they want means that vicious assholes like Phelps, Limbaugh and others of the same ilk thrive on wank they themselves create.

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  • Throwmearope
    March 21
    3:20 pm

    Five members of the Pep Team at U of Mississippi (probably ’nuff said right there) were taunting a Puerto Rican basketball player who was, I believe, shooting a free throw. They were chanting, “Show us your green card, show us your green card.”

    Of course, Puerto Rico, is a U.S. possession, which means the player is, wait for it, a U.S. citizen.

    But the Pep Team just saw somebody brown.

    They lost their scholarships. Oh, and they had to express “sincere” remorse.

    If their college was located in a more civilized part of the world, they probably would have been expelled

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  • Anybody saying this is all about freedom of speech is rather missing the point.

    Trolling isn’t about voicing unpopular opinions. It’s really all about violating other people’s personal space. Had Stacey spewed his nonsense on some white supremacist forum, nobody would have cared, because no-one other than those actively looking for racism would have seen it.

    It’s the racist personal abuse directed at individuals that’s the issue here, and I think it’s that, not the initial tweet that prompted the jail sentence.

    I’ve heard claims that words on the internet aren’t “real” and don’t have parallels to someone shouting verbal abuse in the street, but I really don’t buy that argument. Words do have consequences, and can cause psychological harm to the the people they target.

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  • Amy
    May 23
    8:13 am

    Well you called him a sicko & a fucktard. Why can’t he say what he wants?

    I can’t even count the number of times I’ve told someone to go suck a nigger dick let alone called someone a cunt. I always assumed the downside is I don’t seem like much of a lady. I had no idea that I could be jailed for my potty mouth.

    If he was arrested for spitting vitriol at Gary Glitter I’m sure all these intolerant folk would be campaigning for his release.

    (Feel free to edit may language. I just used what you’d already posted)

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