A topic of some discussion at HR HQ these days is whether those who promote the Hoaxtead SRA hoax actually believe what they are saying. In a fascinating livestreamed video on Friday night, YouTuber “Cip’s Clips” led a discussion about what he termed the “TFR Cult”—Truth Frequency Radio, which styles itself “Your protection from deception”.
Four of Cip’s guests were ex-TFR hosts, and it was interesting to hear them discuss the issue of belief. It seems that much of the time, hosts were endorsing certain conspiracy theories and other material which they knew to be false—but they knew it would bring them clicks, which of course is the name of the game online.
But what about the Hoaxtead mob?
It’s quite clear that some of those who promote the hoax are indeed true believers, who think the world is run by a mysterious cabal which maintains its power through rituals involving child sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism. Such believers were described by a judge in 2016 as “irrational, obsessional, delusional, and odd”, which seemed pretty apt under the circumstances.
It seems likely that those at the top of the hoaxers’ pyramid are less gullible, but still, there’s no real way to prove whether people like Belinda, Angela, or Wesley truly believe or are simply using the hoax for their own nefarious purposes.
We could argue this back and forth all day, but ultimately it really just does not matter.
At the end of the 2016 trial, the judge handed down restraining orders which prevented the accused—who had by that time been found “not guilty”—from engaging in certain actions. (And no, we are not going to go into why the restraining orders are legal. Those who doubt their legality are perfectly capable of looking it up for themselves. They will find that Judge Worsley acted in accordance with standard legal practice.)
This expresses an important principle: whether or not any given person believes that children are being raped, murdered, and eaten in a church in Hampstead, the law will hold them responsible for their behaviour.
In other words, being “irrational, obsessional, delusional, and odd” is not a defence against causing harm to others.
At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, consider the Nazis: one of their core beliefs was that Germans were representative of an idealised “Aryan master-race”—blond, blue-eyed people of Nordic stock, who were inherently superior to…well, everybody, really.
Insane as this belief now seems (unless one is Tommy Robinson or a “Proud Boy”), it became the excuse for the murder of millions of people the Nazis considered “inferior”: not just six million Jews, but five million non-Jews, including Gypsies, people of African descent, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, those who were physically and mentally disabled, Communists, Social Democrats, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, Slavic peoples, and anyone Hitler or his thugs disliked for whatever reason.
The fact that the Nazis believed passionately and fervently that the people they murdered were deserving of death makes no difference to history’s judgement of their actions.
Obviously, the Hampstead SRA hoax is hardly comparable to mass genocide. However, our point is that whether the Hampstead hoaxers believe passionately and fervently in what they are doing, or are using the story to generate fear and disgust amongst the gullible, it makes no difference.
Wrong is wrong, and being on the wrong side of the law will result in serious consequences, belief or no belief.