Just playing a character?

Branko Marcetic at The Spinoff has a low opinion of Katie Hopkins generally and isn’t very complimentary about Newstalk ZB giving her airtime here in New Zealand.

Warning: Newstalk ZB’s new favourite guest is a really terrible person

A range of viewpoints is a good thing. But giving a platform to noxious, hateful, racially inflammatory propaganda is quite another. So why is Newstalk ZB so keen on Katie Hopkins, asks Branko Marcetic.

He paints an ugly picture with words.

…she’s fashioned an image for herself as something akin to the Ann Coulter of Britain, a deliberately outrageous provocateur who aims to offend whoever she can, particularly the sensibilities of those who consider themselves liberals or anything further left. As Coulter and various shock jocks before Hopkins have found, drumming up outrage can be good business, particularly in an age when our keyboard trigger fingers are more sensitive than ever.

Suffice to say, listing every offensive thing Hopkins has said would take all day. A selection, however. She’s defended pre-judging children based on how “lower class” their names sound, made fun of transgender former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney’s horrific botched plastic surgery job, charged that being a mother isn’t a full-time job but a “biological status”, claimed she wouldn’t hire someone if they were overweight, charged that feminists want “special treatment” instead of equality, and she really, really doesn’t like people with red hair.

Clickbaiting and pandering to intolerant minorities is common online.

Just days before hundreds of human beings drowned in a refugee ship in the Mediterranean, Hopkins wrote a column for The Sun calling for the use of “gunships to stop migrants”, referring to them as “a plague of feral humans” and comparing them to cockroaches. She claimed there were “swathes” of Britain where non-Muslims couldn’t show their face, then couldn’t name a single one of these alleged places.

She’s called Palestinians “filthy rodents burrowing beneath Israel” while urging for more bombing of Gaza, and referred to the sight of three-year old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi drowned on the beach as a “staged photo”. She falsely accused a Muslim family of being extremists with links to Al Qaeda, a charge that resulted in a libel suit that cost The Mail Online£150,000 and an apology, which Hopkins quietly posted at 2:07 am, a cunning strategy that might have worked better in 1998 than in 2016. This wasn’t Hopkins’ last libel suit. Last month, she was ordered to pay £24,000 in damages after falsely accusing food blogger Jack Monroe of vandalising a war memorial.

Her response to charges of racism? “I don’t care. [The term] has lost all meaning.”

It sounds like the quotes and links to her from fans here are the more moderate side of her, if there’s such a thing.

So it’s fair to ask why Newstalk ZB would give her exposure here.

People who push extremes of hate and intolerance are likely to eventually dig holes that are hard to get out of, as New Zealand bully boy Slater is finding out.

And Alex Jones has got himself into a difficult situation in the US in a custody dispute.

Attorney argues Alex Jones ‘playing a character’ in child custody trial

A Texas jury will decide if Infowars’ Alex Jones on-air persona makes him unfit to have custody of his three children with ex-wife Kelly Jones.

“He’s playing a character,” attorney Randall Wilhite told state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo, according to the Austin-American Statesman. “He is a performance artist.”

Kelly Jones, who is seeking sole or joint custody of their three children, argued at a pre-trial hearing that her ex-husband’s fiery public persona is no different from his private life.

“He’s not a stable person,” she said. “He says he wants to break Alec Baldwin’s neck. He wants J-Lo to get raped.”

“I’m concerned that he is engaged in felonious behavior, threatening a member of Congress,” she said, referring to Jones’ comments about Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “He broadcasts from home. The children are there, watching him broadcast.”

In the next two weeks a jury will be asked to determine whether there is a difference between the Infowars host’s on-air personality and the real Alex Jones, and whether it makes him fit to be a parent.

Jones and Hopkins play to an audience for sure to get attention, but building up records of being nasty can backfire eventually.