Laurence Fox is being sued by Stonewall deputy chair and charity CEO Simon Blake, after calling him a ‘paedophile’ on Twitter amid his rant at Sainsbury’s for supporting Black History Month.
Yes, there is a lot to unpack here.
The Lewis actor, 42, had shared his thoughts over the weekend on Sainsbury’s creating a safe space for Black staff, and urged his followers to boycott the chain after they suggested anyone offended by an ‘inclusive retailer’ were ‘welcome to shop elsewhere’.
Responding to Sainsbury’s message, the aspiring politician – who recently shared his aims to set up his own political party, named Reclaim – wrote: ‘I won’t be shopping in your supermarket ever again while you promote racial segregation and discrimination. I sincerely hope others join me.’
The bizarre rant took a turn, however, when Fox began retaliating to the many comments that went against his grand boycott plans.
Simon Blake, who is the CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, was one who replied to Fox’s tweet, as he wrote: ‘What a mess. What a racist t**t.’
‘Calling gay men ‘paedophiles’ is a homophobic slur that has a long, dark history of being used to paint us as threats to children and stop us from being treated as equal citizens. Using it to silence a gay man standing up for racial justice just demonstrates how far we have to go before we can say that we live in a society where we are all valued, and can live our lives in safety and dignity.’
Fox had taken down the offending tweet, after Blake had asked him via Twitter, and wrote on the social media platform on Sunday: ‘I have deleted the tweets posted yesterday, in response to being repeatedly, continuously and falsely smeared as a racist.’
In a statement, a spokesman for Fox’s Reclaim party, said: ‘We note the stated intention and the judicious wording of the tweet.
‘However, unless and until intent becomes reality, we have no further comment.’
Sainsbury’s had previously ushered in BHM and told their Twitter followers on October 1: ‘We are proud to celebrate Black History Month together with our Black colleagues, customers and communities and we will not tolerate racism.
‘We proudly represent and serve our diverse society and anyone who does not want to shop with an inclusive retailer is welcome to shop elsewhere.’
It went on to double down on its message, and tweeted yesterday: ‘At Sainsbury’s we strive to be an inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop. Earlier in the year we created online support groups for black colleagues across the business.
‘These “safe spaces” helped our black colleagues come together, share their experiences and support one another.
‘We represent and serve our diverse society and are proud to be celebrating Black History Month with our colleagues and customers.’
It added: ‘The “safe spaces” we created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement were online support groups that helped our black colleagues come together, share their experiences and support one another.’
October is annually Black History Month in the UK where Afro-Caribbean groups celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of black people in the country both historically and contemporarily.
Metro.co.uk also contacted Mental Health First Aid England for comment.
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