The self-styled “nationalist, fascist, theorist and supporter of white rights” Joshua Bonehill-Paine, of Yeovil, Somerset, has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison following his conviction for inciting racial hatred.
Bonehill-Paine had created antisemitic images to promote his ‘anti-Jewification’ rally. One image included weed killer sprayed over the entrance of Auschwitz. The image ridiculed the horrors of the Holocaust. And called for the ’round-up’ and removal of Jewish communities from Golders Green.
A racist and antisemitic caricature of a Jewish man underscored much of the propaganda. During the trial, the prosecution argued that the ‘O’ of Golders Green referenced the SS. Forensic analysis of Bonehill-Paine’s laptop revealed many versions of the flyer.
Owing to public outrage and a fear of disorder, the Met Police moved the protest to Westminster. More than 2,000 signed-up to a counter protest online. The ‘Golders Green Together’ campaign helped raise community awareness and counter-narratives.
Members of the neo-Nazi group New Dawn also had a part to play in the Golders Green protest.
Bonehill-Paine was arrested in February on suspicion of malicious communications after Labour MP Luciana Berger. Garonn Helm, 21, of the neo-Nazi group Nazi group National Action, received a four-week prison sentence after sending Ms Berger an antisemitic tweet last year.
Another neo-Nazi, Zack Davies, made headlines in June after he attempted to decapitate a Sikh dentist. He used a claw hammer and machete to attack Dr Sarandev Bhambra, shouting: “This is for Lee Rigby.”
Davies uploaded an image of himself in a balaclava with a large knife and the flag of National Action before the attack.
Bonehill-Paine’s asinine and sometimes delusional online posts provides succour to neo-Nazis offline and online. On June 25, the Jewish Chronicle reported that a Holocaust survivor had neo-Nazis knock his door. They performed a Nazi salute on his doorstep and asked him he if supported Bonehill-Paine. Before leaving, they handed the pensioner a blue Star of David with the message “Jew go home” written on it.
The interconnectivity of far-right groups online allows them to share materials outside of traditional borders. One of the United States most popular white supremacist hate sites endorsed Bonehill-Paine’s march. In the end though, counter-protestors outnumbered twenty neo-Nazis.
In a separate high-profile incident, Bonehill-Paine forced The Globe, in Leicester, to temporarily close. A malicious blog claimed that the pub had banned military personnel to avoid offending migrant groups. As it grew in popularity, people threatened to firebomb the premises and kill or assault its staff. After admitting malicious communication, he received a community order. He had his community order extended after breaching its terms in April 2015.
Propaganda from Bonehill-Paine’s Daily Bale made national headlines in 2014. A poster appealing for help to find a ‘missing’ six-year-old girl at the hands was a racist hoax. It included the message: “It is believed Amy has been kidnapped by an Asian grooming gang.” Another racist hoax appeared in Leicester.
Bonehill-Paine’s viciousness and cowardice online has real-world consequences. Earlier this year, he carried out a sustained campaign of racist and homophobic abuse via an online pseudonym. Bonehill-Paine would humiliate and defame individuals he disagreed with via his Daily Bale website. He even tarnished some as paeodophiles.
He targeted Sara Roocroft and her children online. Ms Roocroft later suffered respitory failure due to the distress of his lies. Doctors believed she almost died due to his “vile and slanderous actions”.
This sustained online harassment and slander resulted in a suspended prison sentence.
In April, Bonehill-Paine claimed police had detained him over homophobic tweets sent to Guardian columnist Jack Monroe.
In response to Bonehill-Paine’s conviction, a victim of his online hate campaign, who wishes to remain anonymous said:
“Joshua took it upon himself to share fake hoax stories and target vulnerable members of our communities on social media. Innocent victims were falsely accused and their lives tarnished by his hate campaigns. He recruited others with his ‘White Genocide’ narrative to target Jewish communities.
“Many are unaware that during this campaign accomplices of Bonehill-Paine targeted children on social media with multiple troll accounts that harassed victims and their families. Joshua worked with other racists and neo-Nazis to spread his hate campaigns. I trust these offenders will also face justice through the court system.
“Some use social media to spread hate rapidly and globally. We need new laws to protect online victims. Social media companies must be held accountable when neo-Nazi groups like National Action use their platforms to spread hate and recruit.
“Will the government also monitor extremists like Joshua Bonehill and his accomplices? Measures need to be put into place to protect communities online and deter racists from reoffending.
I would encourage others to report online hate to police – it assists with investigations – especially if you see racists bullying children online. As a community we cannot ignore hate as it destroys innocent lives.”