Peter Tatchell has accused Nick Griffin of launching a “smear” campaign against him and the human rights organisation Liberty after he called on the British National Party leader to be prosecuted for remarks made on Twitter.
Since Thursday evening, Mr Griffin, who is also an MEP, has found himself at the centre of a media storm after he posted on his Twitter account the address of Michael Black and John Morgan, a gay couple who won a discrimination case against the Christian owner of a bed and breakfast on the same day.
Mr Griffin had tweeted for a demonstration to be held outside their Cambridgeshire home and said they were “2 bullying ‘gay’ activists”.
In a comment piece for the Huffington Post, published on Friday evening, Peter Tatchell wrote:
“The far right British National Party (BNP) has been badly stung by criticisms of its leader, Nick Griffin, following his seemingly menacing tweets about the gay B&B couple.
“It’s particularly enraged by my call – and that of others – for Griffin to be prosecuted.
“Faced with widespread public outrage, the BNP is desperately trying to divert attention, and take the heat off Griffin, by launching a smear campaign against its main public critics, Liberty and myself”.
Mr Tatchell then makes reference to tweets published on Friday by Mr Griffin that have been directed at the human rights campaigner.
“Earlier today, Mr Griffin tweeted: ‘Stunning how media hang on every word of Peter Tatchell. Look at what he said in letter to Guardian in 1997…
‘…While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledges the truth that not all sex with children…
…is unwanted, abusive and harmful’. He also wrote that sex with adults gives children of 9 ‘great joy.’ Filth!
Mr Griffin then tweeted: “Liberty also has long record of paedo shame – used to have fraternal links with Paedophile Information Exchange. Vile!
In response, Mr Tatchell wrote in his Huffington Post article:
“On Twitter, Griffin has today falsely suggested that both [Liberty and myself] have supported child sex abuse and endorsed the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). We don’t – and never have.
“In a bid to discredit me and undermine my criticism of Griffin, the BNP website has gone even further; explicitly denouncing me as a ‘paedophile apologist’….who wants to legalise the paedophile abuse of children by abolishing the age of consent laws”.
Mr Tatchell continued:
“None of this is true. I have always condemned adults having sex with children and campaigned to empower young people to resist and report sex abusers. I’ve never argued or campaigned for the abolition of the consent laws.
“The BNP website has also published a doctored image of me holding a fake Paedophile Information Exchange placard. It looks very much like a photo-shopped version of a placard I once made that denounced Griffin and the BNP as homophobes and neo-Nazis”.
Mr Tatchell added:
“I guess I should be enraged by such lies and gutter tactics. But I’m not. No one takes Griffin and the BNP seriously these days. They are sad, pathetic, desperate losers; clutching at straws to deflect attention away from their sinking reputations, declining electoral fortunes and violent in-fighting.
“The bigger and more outrageous their fabrications, the stronger the evidence of their lack of arguments, credibility and moral authority”.