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Anorak | Labour activist Bethany Barker gets publicly shamed

Labour activist Bethany Barker gets publicly shamed

by | 9th, May 2017

Kids, eh. They say the darndest things. Take Bethany Baker, 19, described in the Telegraph as the “student chosen to introduce Jeremy Corbyn at his local election launch”. Bethany Baker has just resigned as general secretary of Nottingham Labour Students. She doubtless had a bright and rosy future in the Labour movement until someone spotted “a series of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets” on her account.

Take these tweets from 2013:

“I cooked brandon chicken and rice, supporting the n***** race.”

“I hate bbc one, f****** c**** black f****** b**** I hate everyone #mayday.”

There’s another tweet mocking Jews in their unlovely “Jew caps”.

 

bethany barker labour

 

The stars and frosting are used lest any reader not on twitter and therefore not used to such nastiness get offended.

The paper adds:

In response to a tweet about the jewellery firm Pandora knowing “your mood” she tweeted “it’s a jewellery company you f****** f****t it will never know your mood”.

Miss Barker has issued a statement:

“Some screenshots have resurfaced about what I said in the past. I’m absolutely horrified and beyond disgusted about these tweets and they are in no way representative of the views I hold now.

“I have no recollection of writing these tweets and I am unequivocally sorry for the shadow that has been brought over our society because of it.

“These views are in no way what I align with today and I am beyond upset that I could ever say such things.”

You might wonder how someone who says such things gets to be a leading light of Labour student politics? Or you may not. You might see the anti-Semitism as some part of Bethany Barker’s audition to be a Labour activist. Or you may not.

But can we not be sympathetic to Bethany’s plight? The Sun features a line from Bethany’s apology that the Telegraph does not. She writes: “I have changed so much since I was 14, I was not nice and my past is something I am ashamed of.”

The Independent makes her age-at-tweeting a key part of the story:

 

bethany barker

 

 

Fair enough, no? Who at 14 is not a bit of a dick and says ugly things? And who sane wants to be publicly shamed? If we can spend a moment wondering about Bethany Barker’s state of mind rather than the media’s shaming of her, don’t our hot views cool a little? Those tweets stick and prick with stigma. And we wonder how language became more important than deeds?

 

bethany barker

 

Jacob Collier, chairman of the student group, tells us it’s not Labour policy to be a bigot: “We reiterate these comments are not reflective of Nottingham Labour Students members and we will do everything as a committee to ensure that our society is an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone regardless of their background, ability, age, ethnicity, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”

 

 

What price many student activists are now hitting the delete button.



Posted: 9th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink