Half of Britons fear freedom of speech is ‘under threat’ in the UK as rampant ‘cancel culture’ scares people out of speaking their minds, a poll has found.
Almost 50 per cent of Britons feel it is harder to share their honest thoughts on controversial topics such as immigration or transgender rights now than it was five years ago.
Meanwhile, just 12 per cent of those surveyed, or one in eight, disagreed, according to the poll commissioned by Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party.
On immigration issues specifically, four in ten of those surveyed – a massive 43 per cent – said they are too scared to share their real beliefs. Just 28 per cent said they could talk openly about the topic.
Some 42 per cent said they didn’t want to openly discuss transgender rights for fear of backlash, with just 15 per cent saying they can comfortably speak out.
The survey results follow a year of wide-spread ‘cancelling’ of celebrities and public figures with un-woke views.
Half of Britons fear freedom of speech is ‘under threat’ in the UK as rampant ‘cancel culture’ scares people out of speaking their minds, a poll has found. Actor Laurence Fox said the survey results are ‘alarming’
In June, Harry Potter author JK Rowling took issue with an online article about ‘people who menstruate’ sparking enormous backlash – including from actors starring in the movie adaptations of her novels, such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson
Rowling was hit by what she described as ‘relentless attacks’ after she took issue with an online article about ‘people who menstruate’
In June, Harry Potter author JK Rowling took issue with an online article about ‘people who menstruate’ sparking enormous backlash – including from actors starring in the movie adaptations of her novels, such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
Rowling wrote: ‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
She then likened hormone therapy and surgery for transgender young people to ‘a new kind of conversion therapy’ – leading to transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf to slam her as ‘dangerous’ and a ‘threat to LGBT people’.
Meanwhile actor Fox was dropped by his acting agent after being embroiled in bitter Twitter spats with a number of people who called him a ‘racist’.
Fox had accused Sainsbury’s of ‘promoting racial segregation and discrimination’ and promised to boycott the supermarket chain after it promoted Black History Month.
He replied making unsubstantiated claims that they were ‘paedophiles’. He later deleted the tweets.
Fox accused Sainsbury’s of ‘promoting racial segregation and discrimination’ and promised to boycott the supermarket chain after it promoted Black History Month
Two people who Fox accused – deputy chair of LGBT charity Stonewall Simon Blake and Drag Race UK star Crystal – then announced they would sue him for defamation.
One month earlier, Fox launched The Reclaim Party – to fight for freedom of speech, ‘reclaim British values’ and challenge what he regards as a ‘culture war’ taking place in Britain.
Fox told The Sunday Telegraph that the results of the survey – which saw Savanta ComRes interview 2,119 British adults between February 5 and 7 – are ‘alarming’.
He said ‘woke’ beliefs sought to ‘tear down our statues, rewrite our proud history [and] stand in opposition to the tolerant, fair and free society our ancestors gave their lives for’.
Rowling later likened hormone therapy and surgery for transgender young people to ‘a new kind of conversion therapy’
The Black Lives Matter movement rapidly spread across the globe this year following the killing of black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the US.
Protesters tore down a statue of Edward Colston on Sunday, June 7, on the same day a memorial to Winston Churchill in London was defaced with the words ‘was a racist’ written on a plinth underneath.
It prompted a wave of statues being targeted with graffiti or being attacked during protests, culminating in some statues, including ones of Nelson Mandela and Mr Churchill, being covered up to protect them from vandals.
The Topple the Racists campaign launched a comprehensive list of statues it wanted to see removed as it believed the names behind the monuments held racist beliefs.
The list – compiled by the Stop Trump Coalition – pinpoints the locations of 125 under-fire landmarks featured on a map.
The Churchill monument in Parliament Square was defaced with the words ‘was a racist’ last June
Outrage over statues led to Oriel College at Oxford University voting to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a colonialist politician in southern Africa in the 19th century.
Slave trader Robert Milligan’s was covered with a shord and the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ was placed on it in West India Docks amid calls for it to be taken down. It was later removed by Tower Hamlets Council.
Less than a year after it was erected, ‘Nazi’ was scrawled underneath a statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in Parliament, in Plymouth.
A monument to 19th-century politician Henry Vassall-Fox, the third Baron Holland, was left splattered with red paint in Holland Park. A cardboard sign reading ‘I owned 401 slaves’ was perched in the bronze statue’s arms, with the number painted on the plinth alongside red handprints.
A Grade II-listed monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, Britain’s foremost naval hero, which stands in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, was sprayed with a black ‘V’ in the middle of a circle – an anarchist symbol.
Red paint spattered another stature of Lord Nelson at Deptford Town Hall in South London.
Tower Hamlets Council removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan after it was covered and displayed the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ during last month’s protests
In Kent, a former councillor wrote ‘Dickens Racist’ outside a museum dedicated to the beloved 19th century author. Letters sent by the Oliver Twist author showed he wished to ‘exterminate’ Indian citizens after a failed uprising.
A statue of Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell in Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, had the words ‘Cromwell is a cockroach,’ ‘f*** racist’ and the Black Lives Matter acronym ‘BLM’ scrawled across it last month. Thousands of people were massacred during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
BLM was also scrawled across the Worcester Civil War memorial in Royal Park.
Boris Johnson wrote last year: ‘We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.
‘They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults.
‘To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.’