Ignorant Bigot Arrested In UK For Tweeting About Being An Obnoxious Ignorant Bigot

from the free-speech? dept

Matthew Doyle appears to be not just an ignorant bigot, but a proud ignorant bigot. But... it still should be concerning that he's been arrested for the crime of saying ignorant bigoted stuff on Twitter. Doyle is apparently a PR guy in the UK, who claimed on Twitter that he had "confronted" a Muslim woman on the street demanding that she "explain" the attacks in Brussels. She allegedly told him "nothing to do with me," which, frankly, is a much more polite response than he deserved:
There is some question as to whether or not this actually happened or if it was just Doyle acting out his ignorant jackass fantasies online. But what is clear is that he was then arrested. Not -- mind you -- for the alleged confrontation with the woman, but for tweeting about it:
A Metropolitan Police spokeman said: "A 46-year-old man was this evening arrested at his home in Croydon on suspicion of inciting racial hatred on social media. He has been taken to a south London police station and enquiries continue."
For what it's worth, Doyle only marginally backtracked later, saying that the word "confront" was not accurate and that resulted in his tweet being taken out of context. He told a reporter at the Telegraph a slightly whitewashed version of the incident:
"What everyone's got wrong about this is I didn't confront the woman," he said. "I just said: 'Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?'"

"She was white, and British, wearing a hijab - and she told me it was nothing to do with her.

"I said 'thank you for explaining that' - and her little boy said goodbye to me as we went out separate ways."
Still makes him out to be ignorant and foolish. In the meantime, if you check out his Twitter feed now (which I'm not linking to) he seems to be basking in the glory of all this newfound attention, pretending like it was some great PR coup.

Still, even if he is a clueless, ignorant bigot, it should be very concerning that he's been arrested for posting on Twitter. And, yes, I know the UK doesn't respect free speech in the same way that the US does. And I know that the UK has a history of arresting people for tweets. But, still... really?

For those who insist he needs to be punished for being an ignorant bigot, supporting his arrest is still stupid. The public is pointing out how ridiculous and simpleminded a person he is, and that reputation will stick longer than any jail time. Sure, he's basking in the attention now and pretending that it's all been beneficial to him, but the reality is that the majority of people recognize him for what he truly is. Arresting people for saying stupid things doesn't help better educate people away from ignorance. It doesn't help deal with the kind of bigotry that possesses people like Doyle. It just serves to create a giant spectacle where people who agree with him feel persecuted and people who recognize he's ignorant feel outraged. But it does nothing to end actual ignorance and bigotry, and only further entrenches people in their existing positions.

Update: Apparently the charges have already been dropped. But that still doesn't stop concerns about the fact that he was arrested in the first place.
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Filed Under: free speech, ignorance, matthew doyle, tweets, uk


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  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 25 Mar 2016 @ 2:54pm

    This might work...

    If "clueless and ignorant" qualifies for being arrested, that takes care of congress and the senate - not to mention the leadership of all the TLAs - this could be much easier than a revolution...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 25 Mar 2016 @ 4:01pm

    Better to be thought...

    Better to be thought an idiot than opening one's mouth and prove it to the world.

    Or, I guess, open one's media account...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    HuwOS, 25 Mar 2016 @ 4:10pm

    Umm

    'the majority of people recognize him for what he truly is..'
    Mind you if that were generally true; no one in America would be worried about the possibility of a trump presidency

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    streetlight (profile), 25 Mar 2016 @ 4:15pm

    No 1st Constitutional Ammendment in the UK

    The USA is one of the only places, maybe the only place, where free speech is enshrined in the a founding document. The UK does not have such a commitment as far as I know. Even then, there are limits to free speech in the USA - you can't yell, "Fire!" in a theater when there is no fire to start a riot of escape. Threatening someone with violence or other threats is not allowed and can put one in jail, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 25 Mar 2016 @ 4:56pm

      Re: No 1st Constitutional Ammendment in the UK

      The USA is one of the only places, maybe the only place, where free speech is enshrined in the a founding document. The UK does not have such a commitment as far as I know.

      As I stated in the post. Still, not the point.

      Even then, there are limits to free speech in the USA - you can't yell, "Fire!" in a theater when there is no fire to start a riot of escape.

      This is a trope that is always trotted out by clueless people whenever they want to limit people's speech. It's wrong. Read this:

      https://popehat.com/2012/09/19/three-generations-of-a-hackneyed-apologia-for-censorship-are-eno ugh/

      Threatening someone with violence or other threats is not allowed and can put one in jail, too.

      Within a VERY strictly confined area, where the threats of violence are likely to "incite an immediate breach of the peace" and "inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction" in a *specific* person -- not the general population.

      So, no, none of that is relevant here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dan (profile), 26 Mar 2016 @ 5:00am

        Re: Re: No 1st Constitutional Ammendment in the UK

        You've at least got to give @streetlight credit for getting the "fire in a crowded theater" remark correct. Most people, when they cite it, leave out the idea of doing so falsely, and thereby inciting a riot. And he's correct--the First Amendment's protection of free speech is not absolute. However, the exceptions are few and narrow (and "hate speech" isn't one of them), and the Supreme Court has shown no inclination in recent years to expand them.

        As a side note, you've confused "true threats" with "incitement". Both are other exceptions to the First Amendment's free speech protection, but the tests are very different.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 26 Mar 2016 @ 2:49am

      Re: No 1st Constitutional Ammendment in the UK

      The USA is one of the only places, maybe the only place, where free speech is enshrined in the a founding document. The UK does not have such a commitment as far as I know.

      The UK does not have a written constitution and hence there could not be such a written commitment - but that doesn't mean that we don't have a commitment to free speech.

      The fact that people in the US are constantly arguing about what the constitutional right actually means in practice shows to me that having it written down doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2016 @ 4:57pm

    It's telling that the word "alleged" is nowhere to be found in the source article. Thanks for being a better journalist, Mike.

    It's shocking how quick people are to applaud the enforcement of a particular worldview with the force of the state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2016 @ 6:11pm

    easing the population into allowing people to be arrested for what they say.

    Start with something that's obviously most people agree with for pc reasons then you switch over to anything that you disagree with so that people only say things that support the ruling party.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fin, 25 Mar 2016 @ 6:34pm

    This article seems really ignorant of other cultures.

    Randomly harrasing a person going about their business totally warrants a knock on the door.

    It's not acceptable to most British people and it's our law

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2016 @ 6:49pm

      Re:

      A single question is hardly "harassment" (otherwise every reporter ever would be in jail) and it wasn't the confrontation that got him arrested - it was his tweet about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2016 @ 6:54pm

    The UK is an incredibly authoritarian country.

    And before anyone accuses me of hyperbole, we're talking about a country that jails people for failing to self incriminate.

    Let that sink in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 26 Mar 2016 @ 3:20am

      Re:

      Objectively the US is just as bad but in different ways. We don't have the aggressive plea bargaining culture that you have. We don't have the executions that you have. We don't have to be in fear of our lives if a traffic policeman stops us like you do - because our policemen are not armed. (I would say that this forces them to do the job better).

      So NO the UK is no worse than the US - and in any ways better.

      If the US was better for freedom and justice then there would never have been the high profile cases where people tried to avoid being extradited there from the UK or other european countries.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      klaus (profile), 26 Mar 2016 @ 4:10am

      Re:

      Most of Magna Carta has been repealed... Imagine that for a moment.

      Here's a sad little factoid; as of 2008 British people were no longer able to freely forage for firewood in The Kings Forests. For health and safety reasons. God forbid That Sceptered Isle should ever need to go to war again, for their mighty army of middle-managers would surely lose.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous UK Resident #5424743871, 25 Mar 2016 @ 7:35pm

    Chilling effect?

    One might cynically (or perhaps not so cynically) say that the police knew fine well it was not worthy of charges, but they arrested anyway because it creates a chilling effect for him and everyone else.

    Makes me laugh when people say "don't we have free speech in this country?"

    No, we bloody well don't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shadow Firebird, 26 Mar 2016 @ 1:42am

    some basic facts

    1. the right to free speech is most definitely a part of UK law, most clearly and recently due to the ECHR.

    2. what this idiot has been arrested for is the UK law which says you can't say 'lets all attack [group]!' in a public place. Which is definitely not an authoritarian nonsense.

    You can certainly argue that we have authoritarian laws, or that the idiot's actions aren't covered by that law. Sure: we do and maybe.

    But you didn't do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous UK Resident #5424743871, 26 Mar 2016 @ 9:14am

      Re: some basic facts

      what this idiot has been arrested for is the UK law which says you can't say 'lets all attack [group]!' in a public place.

      But that's not even remotely what he said.

      So it's no wonder the CPS slapped down the Rozzers.
      But the fact remains that he was arrested, and that arrest will no doubt remain on record. Perhaps they fingerprinted him too? Took DNA samples? If they did, I bet that will remain on record as well.

      Hence chilling effect. "You can't say that, you'll get arrested!"

      As to your other point; regardless of what the books say, if you can be detained/arrested and face criminal charges for asking a question, for expressing a simple opinion, then speech is not free. It is restricted.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Shadow Firebird, 27 Mar 2016 @ 1:30am

        Re: Re: some basic facts

        "that's not even remotely what he said"

        I'd argue that that is exactly false - it *is* what he said, just, only remotely. My point was that this was the law he was arrested under, and not some 'you cant be a bigot' law.

        I'm guessing this is why he was released.

        I'm guessing that the US has no equivalent law, and I can legally give a speech that says, "i'd like you all to attack brown people, just, not right now, okay?"

        Would explain Trump.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 5:32am

          Re: Re: Re: some basic facts

          "I'm guessing that the US has no equivalent law, and I can legally give a speech that says, "i'd like you all to attack brown people, just, not right now, okay?""

          I think that would not be on legally safe ground in the US, gut it would fall into a gray area. Most people who want to incite violence but don't want to risk arrest take a slightly different tack by saying something like "Those people deserve to be attacked".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 28 Mar 2016 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re: some basic facts

          I'd argue that that is exactly false - it *is* what he said, just, only remotely.

          That tweet is the same as "let's attack Muslims"? How did you get that?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shadow Firebird, 26 Mar 2016 @ 2:07am

    Aaaand they've released him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 26 Mar 2016 @ 3:04am

    Bigotry and public perception.

    Hmm I seem to remember Gordon Brown coming to grief for accusing someone of being a bigot. On that occasion the press and public sided with the "bigot". This time

    I think it might be a good idea to refrain from using that word because it generally shows that you are no better than the person you are accusing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    klaus (profile), 26 Mar 2016 @ 3:52am

    Mathew P Doyle is indeed an ignorant bigot

    Erm... Mathew P Doyle, in the off chance you should ever read this, I would love for you to kindly explain to me exactly what a "Muslim woman" looks like...

    I understand you're a "PR guy"? I would also love to know your thoughts on how to best go about attracting business in your line of work...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 26 Mar 2016 @ 9:00am

      Re: Mathew P Doyle is indeed an ignorant bigot

      Erm... Mathew P Doyle, in the off chance you should ever read this, I would love for you to kindly explain to me exactly what a "Muslim woman" looks like...

      How many non-Muslim women wear a Muslim style headscarf?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2016 @ 6:02am

    Guy tweets "I asked her to explain Brussels." Mike somehow interprets this as a "demand". This is not surprising coming from someone who currently writes his articles as a substrate for the same tired reworded insult 10 times over. Hyperbole much?


    "I asked" ≠ "demand"...

    "Ignorant bigot"
    "not just an ignorant bigot, but a proud ignorant bigot"
    "saying ignorant bigoted stuff"
    "his ignorant jackass fantasies"
    "ignorant and foolish"
    "he is a clueless, ignorant bigot"
    "being an ignorant bigot"
    "ridiculous and simpleminded a person he is"
    "bigotry that possesses people like Doyle"
    "recognize he's ignorant"
    "actual ignorance and bigotry"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2016 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      Guy tweets "I asked her to explain Brussels." Mike somehow interprets this as a "demand"....
      ...
      ...
      This is not s
      "actual ignorance and bigotry"


      The thing I find odd is that in his proper field (intellectual property/ economics) Mike has studied enough to realise that the conventional wisdom is wrong and that the "voices crying in the wilderness" actually have a point - even though some of them may go over the top from time to time and may be objectionable people (eg Kim Dotcom).

      However on this one he runs with the crowd.

      Well I'd say that Islam is very similar to copyright etc.

      Both are world views that have achieved prominence by dishonest and (in the case of Islam) violent means and which seek to suppress criticism. Remember when somebody said that the pirate party "shouldn't be allowed to hold its anti-copyright views? Sounds awfully similar to Islamic blasphemy law to me.

      A good explanation of the error of the politically correct rothodoxy is to be found here: http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/islam-facts-or-dreams/

      Now I do note that in this case Mike was defending the person he called a bigot on free speech grounds. However he seems to have felt the need to go over the top in his condemnation of the guy and what he said perhaps to stop the politically correct crowd from calling him a bigot!

      As for the plight of those Muslims who have found some way to reject or ignore the violent teachings - well I'd note that they seem to have much more to fear from other Muslims than from the so called "bigots" (at least in the UK).

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3509367/Muslim-shopkeeper-stabbed-death-hours-posted-hap py-Easter-message.html

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3467029/Man-rearrested-religious-leade r-Jalal-Uddins-death.html

      (Yes I know its the Daily Fail - but even they don't fake police reports)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2016 @ 1:16pm

    A bigot - really?

    The definition according to dictionary.com:
    "a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion."

    Was he actually intolerant? He asked a question of a person with obvious knowledge of a religion that he was uninformed about. How does that make him a bigot?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2016 @ 4:29pm

    "Charges have been dropped"

    So is he going to be reimbursed for the kidnapping?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 12:19am

    Bigotry, intolerance, dehumanization, war

    It has been observed that one of the tools that are used by government in promoting war is dehumanization of the enemy, because by making the enemy less than human a government makes inhumane treatment of the enemy acceptable. We can kill the enemy, because they are not human; we can torture the enemy, use inhumane weapons against the enemy, commit genocide. Because they are not human.

    Bigotry is a term we apply to a form of dehumanization. By its very nature, bigotry makes the victim less than human; for example ascribing animal intelligence or animal motives. The resulting effects are broad: in the case of blacks, n****rs were not only viewed as non-humans on a personal basis, but in many respects by law.

    The person who asserts that he is "entitled to his bigoted beliefs", is the problem. The same problem as war, only on a smaller scale.

    There is a problem in our society; we have competing requirements. On the one hand, there is the First Amendment; on the other a definite need to eliminate bigotry and its ilk at all scales. How shall these be reconciled? Because until we can eliminate bigotry, intolerance (a broader form), and dehumanization (their bastard stepchild) we cannot solve the problems of humanity.

    Shall humanity continue in this form, forever, because there is a First Amendment? The hard answer to that question is that, if humanity is to improve, to some extent bigotry, intolerance, dehumanization and war must be removed from the domain of protected speech.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2016 @ 7:24am

      Re: Bigotry, intolerance, dehumanization, war

      "definite need to eliminate bigotry"

      Where do I sign up to become an officer of the thought police?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 2:28pm

      Re: Bigotry, intolerance, dehumanization, war

      Bigotry is a term we apply to a form of dehumanization.

      Bigotry is a term we use in order to dehumanise a political opponent.
      FTFY

      We use the term when we want to deny an argument without taking the trouble to actually address it.

      In other words accusing someone else of bigotry is usually a form of bigotry.

      In order to truly eliminate bigotry we must first fix the plank in our own eye and stop using the word.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 28 Mar 2016 @ 9:32am

      Re: Bigotry, intolerance, dehumanization, war

      to some extent bigotry, intolerance, dehumanization and war must be removed from the domain of protected speech.

      Who gets to decide what qualifies as bigotry, intolerance, and dehumanization (I left out war because that isn't speech), and what is "acceptable" speech? Congress? Please, I just ate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2016 @ 4:47am

    muslim=race
    ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      Huh? Where was anybody saying that Islam is a race?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 2:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Where was anybody saying that Islam is a race?

        By implication when the word bigotry, which is usually associated with racism, is used to describe anti-islam sentiments.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 4:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Amusingly enough, in my usual readily-accessible dictionary (gcide), the definition of "bigot" does not mention race ta all.

          The definition talks first about religious views, and then about opinions in general, particularly including political and moral opinions, and stops there without ever mentioning race.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Richard (profile), 28 Mar 2016 @ 1:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Many, perhaps most, definitions do mention race at some point - and I still maintain that this is in practice the most common usage. This applies particularly in the UK in relation to those who complain about immigrants - as in the Gordon Brown/Gillian Duffy incident.

            Dictionaries often don't capture the most common current usage of a word - because part of their mission is to educate. As I'm usually on the side of the dictionary in these debates I feel a bit odd arguing the other way on this one.

            btw - I am not the AC above - just trying to explain why he said what he said.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 27 Mar 2016 @ 6:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I see. But as The Wanderer pointed out, the word "bigotry" in no way implies race specifically. It's possible to be bigoted about pretty much anything.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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