A ruling from Britain’s broadcast regulator has found LBC broadcast news presenter Steve Allen to be in breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code for remarks he made about Chris Spivey when the notorious conspiranoid ranter/publicity hound was given a suspended sentence last August.
Steve was found in breach of Ofcom Rule 2.3 for potentially offensive material, whilst at the same time, the broadcast regulator said he was not in breach of Rule 3.2 for Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime.
The rulings were based on a broadcast made on the 28th August last year, when Steve was talking about Chris Spivey, who had recently been given a suspended six month sentence for posting offensive comments on social media sites about the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013, which amounted to the harassment of Rigby’s family.
During the programme, Steve said:
“He’s quite clearly not only immensely stupid but thick at the same time. I’d have had him hanging from gallows, ladies and gentlemen”.
“We know all about internet trolls because they are generally people with mental health issues. This particular one here is a menacing looking bloke. He’s a nasty piece of work this one is. His name is Chris Spivey”.
“When you see him out throw things at him – bricks would be quite nice”.
“I’d have had him banged up immediately. He looks like he would enjoy a bit of prison life with a few other men”.
“You vile piece of filth…you stupid pathetic waste of space. People like you need taking out and just pushing off the end of the pier somewhere. Let you swim, preferably as far out as you can possibly get”.
“So you’ll like it then when I call, Chris, for people to egg you in the street and throw things at you, you know, because you are a vile piece of work. What a disgusting person you are. I hope to God he doesn’t live next to any of you – he’s in Rochford in Essex”.
“What an ugly person…perhaps we can come and daub things on the outside of your house?”
While Mr Allen’s bosses at LBC claimed that his words should not be taken seriously, and that his customary listeners would have “noted from his typically acerbic delivery that the comments were not meant literally and thus would not have been likely to be offensive…”, his words on the face of it have an ugly, familiar ring to them.
Far be it from us to defend anything about Chris Spivey.
We’ve been clear in the past that the noted internet troll, whose primary claim to fame is libelling and harassing the family of slain soldier Lee Rigby, is a nasty piece of work. However, we absolutely cannot agree that it’s okay to encourage people to throw bricks at him, drown him, or string him up from a gallows.
No, not even in jest.
We’ve spent the past year watching vigilantes harass and threaten the innocent children, parents, teachers, clergy, and business people of Hampstead. We’ve seen keyboard warriors encourage people to hunt them down, cut them up, and kidnap their children. These threats are terrifying, both to those being targetted and to those of us who don’t want to see our society devolve into packs of roving vigilantes, complete with pitchforks and flaming torches, meting out punishment based on fantasy, rumour, and supposition.
Obviously, Spivey is an ass. And he’s done a lot of that harassing and threatening himself, no question.
But how much better are we, if we would allow ourselves to wallow in the same sort of mindless hatred? If we’re to claim we’ve risen above the mentality of the lynch mob, we need to be certain of what we do stand for.