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Nicky Morgan condemns anti-Semitic abuse sent to CEO for reading ‘gay’ book to nieces

Nick Duffy June 1, 2016

The Minister for Women and Equalities is among politicians to have condemned some of the ‘shocking’ homophobic and anti-Semitic abuse sent to PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen for reading a gay-friendly book to his nieces.

Mr Cohen had read the children’s book King & King – which tells the story of a prince who finds a same-sex partner – to his nieces Isabelle and Amelie, aged 3 and 1.

After sharing a picture on Twitter, the CEO – who previously ran a Jewish media business – attracted a barrage of hateful threats and anti-Semitic abuse, branding him a “paedophile” and a “child abuser”.

Others appeared to be shockingly anti-Semitic.

Referring to the Holocaust, a troll wrote: “This is why your people get Shoah’d”. Others joked about “Pogrom” – a massacre of Jewish people.

One tweet read: “If all Jews would go gay and lesbian we’d all be happy. Would save on our gas bill later.”

Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, spoke out about the issue.

She told PinkNews: “It is very disturbing to see anyone suffer abuse, whether it’s sexism, racism, homophobia or anti-Semitism.

“The Internet can be a huge force for good but we also see faceless bullies use it to intimidate others, make threats ‎and persecute people because of factors like who they love or their religion.

“As Minister for Women and Equalities I am proud of how far we’ve come as a country but incidents like this remind us that the fight for equality is not yet over.

‎”These bullies should remember that what is unacceptable offline is unacceptable online. People like Ben, who do a vital job in promoting awareness of the issues facing the LGBT community, must be able to do so without fear of intimidation or harassment.”

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron told PinkNews: “No-one should be subjected to online abuse or harassment.

“A barrage of online homophobic and anti-Semitic bullying is totally, utterly and completely unacceptable and these people who hide behind an anonymous profiles and spout hate should be held to account.

“Free speech is a fundamental right but with that comes a responsibility and Twitter needs to do more to deal with these trolls.”

Labour peer Lord Cashman, the party’s envoy on Global LGBT Rights, told PinkNews: “There is absolutely no place in a civilised society for this kind of intolerance and discrimination.

“Anti-Semitism like any form of hatred or discrimination affects every single one of us. We must learn from history that unless we face down this hatred it will turn upon others.

“We are all in this together and Twitter along with other social platforms must take action.”

Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers told the Jewish News: “That is truly shocking. I find it appalling that people use the anonymity of social media to inflict this kind of vile anti-Semitic and homophobic abuse. I welcome the fact that the police will investigate this case.”

The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating the tweets –  but it is unclear how many of the Twitter users are subject to the UK’s hate speech laws.

Some of the comments attacked the book for “indoctrination”, while others appeared to be shockingly anti-Semitic.

One tweet read: “If all Jews would go gay and lesbian we’d all be happy. Would save on our gas bill later.”

Another said: “I only wish all Jews were homosexuals, they might go extinct sooner.”

Referring to the Holocaust, a troll wrote: “This is why your people get Shoah’d”.

Others joked about “Pogrom” – a massacre of Jewish people.

Another troll wrote: “Best wait till after potty training.

“Don’t want them to love poop boxes before then, now do you… you bestial pervert?”

Some of the comments sent to Mr Cohen accused him of “sexual perversion” for reading the book to his nieces.

One troll wrote: “I think they call it grooming. The pervert needs curb stomped.”

Others branded him a “paedophile”, adding: “you should be arrested for child abuse”.

Mr Cohen said yesterday: “Although I’ve occasionally received homophobic and anti-Semitic tweets before, it has never been on the scale that I have received in the past 24 hours.

“All that I did was post a photograph of myself and my sister with my wonderful nieces after I read them a beautiful gay inclusive children’s book, ‘King and King‘.

“What shocks me the most is not that people are so homophobic or anti-Semitic but rather that the tweets to me were written by people whose Twitter timelines are filled with similar vile attacks to other people.

“This clearly illustrates the huge problem that Twitter has in dealing with and policing hate speech.”

More: abuse, Anti-gay, anti-Semitic, book, children's book, Gay, Homophobia, jew, Jewish, king & king, LGBT

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