Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has read out racist abuse he receives on social media to make a point about what big companies could be doing to protect young people online.

Khan was speaking at the South by Southwest festival in Texas when he read out the abuse.



Many of the horrific tweets Khan received are Islamophobic in nature.

They often indicted violence against the Mayor too.

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“I say KILL the Mayor of London and you will be rid of ONE Muslim Terrorist,” one read.

Another called for Muslim’s to be subjected to extreme violence in response to terrorism.

“Muslims need to be shot or hanged!! The mayor is doing nothing about attacks.”

A third tweet Khan received called for the Mayor to cause harm to himself.

“Muslims have no dignity. I wish Sadiq Khan would just blow himself up like they all do. He might get his 12 virgins,” it said.

The Labour politician, who served as an MP for Totting from 2005 to 2016, also read the tweets in a video that co-opted Jimmy Kimmel’s famous segment, Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.

Khan explained that he did not share the abuse “to be portrayed as a victim or to ask for sympathy”, but rather to draw attention to the damaging nature of the abuse.

“Ask yourself this – what happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines – or experience it themselves?

“What about young girls and women who are being driven from these platforms – reversing our long fight for gender equality?”

(Photo by Chris Jepson)

Related: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to roll out gender neutral toilets across the city

He went on to call on large social media outlets to develop a tool to combat online hate speech, or else he warned the UK would adopt laws similar to Germany, where social media companies face large fines if they fail to quickly remove things like hate speech.

He said: “Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are finally starting to react to the criticisms and are developing technology to make sure the reporting process becomes quicker and more effective.

“But with the skills and resources these companies have at their disposal, I believe it’s possible to go further and faster.”

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Khan has long condemned the rising levels of hate in the UK.

In a passionate speech at the PinkNews Awards last year, he called for a zero-tolerance attitude to hate crime in London.

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The mayor told the PinkNews Awards: “Let me be clear, hate crime will not be tolerated anywhere in London. In London, you are free to be whoever you are happy and safe.

“London is a warm, inclusive and welcoming place, and I’m grateful for all of your support over the last 16 months, not for me, but for all of us.

“London is open to all people regardless of race, gender and sexuality and open to love.”

Despite facing threats from within his own religion for his outspoken support for same-sex marriage, Khan has continued to be a champion and ally of LGBTQ equality.

He was the first Mayor of London to walk in London Pride, and has used his position to condemn politicians such as Donald Trump for not doing enough in the fight for equality.




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