At 9:37pm on May 18, 2016, Katie Hopkins tweeted ‘Give me strength. Stick up a chuffing sign for English Language School’. Her bombastic tone accompanied an image which suggested that road signs in Bradford now included Urdu.
Twitter users soon exposed the hoax.
Er, same van in the background. 100% photoshopped.
— Adam Leyton (@AdamLeyton) May 18, 2016
same van. Pull your head out of your arse pic.twitter.com/H53qut3OV2
— Graeme Rayner 💙 (@Gag_N_Bone_Man) May 18, 2016
The origins of the hoax stem from a white nationalist hate site called The New Observer. Its content rallies against perceived ‘white genocide’. Editors of the site insist on labelling migrants and refugees as“illegal invaders” and “Third World colonizers.”
Nor does the content lose its traditional antisemitism. Articles are rich with Holocaust denial. And obsess over the ideas of an all powerful ‘Jewish lobby’. An article on September 6, 2015 was headlined ‘Jewish Supremacists Using “Holocaust Fable” to Promote Third World Invasion of Europe’.
The election of Sadiq Khan as London Mayor was ‘the first such formerly European city to officially fall before the nonwhite invasion of Europe.’
But to return to the Bradford story, the hoax goes beyond photoshopped roadsigns. Quotes are either invented or a product of plagiarism. It lifted quotes from a Guardian article published back in 2003. It also claimed that Bradford has its own Grand Mufti. A bizarre inaccuracy compounded by the fact that the individual died in 1974. In actuality, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni served as the Mufti of Jerusalem under the politicial authority of the British Mandate in Palestine. Nor is the text photoshopped in the image Urdu in origin.
The white nationalist Vanguard News Network (VNN) had also shared the story yesterday evening. Neo-Nazi hate site, the Daily Stormer, reposts content from The New Observer.
Twitter user @Juliet777777 was the source of Hopkins’ tweet. This pro-Pegida account often directs its 19.4k followers to hate sites like The New Observer.
As of writing, the hoax image tweeted by Katie Hopkins has received more than 300 retweets. It’s also possible that Hopkins saw the image as nothing more than an exercise in confirmation bias. Nor has she removed or apologised for the gross inaccuracy.