British TV personality and columnist, Katie Hopkins, is no stranger to controversy, but earlier this week when she was due to sit on a panel for a debate at Brunel University, Hopkins became the catalyst for a mass student protest.
In recent months, the opinionated star seems to have turned up the heat on the offensive statements that have become her sort of signature. Her dehumanising comments earlier this year regarding the on-going refugee crisis caused such public uproar that she made the decision to leave The Sun, where she wrote a weekly column.
Shout out to my university. Brunel students troll Katie Hopkins by walking out of a debate when she began speaking https://t.co/ZfUkA3ilJj
— Aliyah Saleem (@Ali_Jones89) November 26, 2015
But on Monday, when Hopkins was invited to join the panel for a debate titled “Does the Welfare State have a place in 2015?”as part of a 50th anniversary celebration, students at Brunel University hatched a clever plan to demonstrate a lack of support for the celebrity’s contentious views.
The students filled the theatre, at first giving the impression that they were a keen and attentive audience. But as soon as Hopkins opened her mouth, the students stood up in unison and turned their backs on the troublesome starlet.
@xugla Answering critics saying they were impinging on her freedom of speech – but no one stopped her speaking https://t.co/65JWqPdc9K
— Gary Barker (@Barkercartoons) November 26, 2015
After the students rose, a university representative, also sat on the panel, stated that the students had made their point, and asks the audience if they would kindly take their seats. Unwilling to give heed to Hopkins’s offensive views, the students quietly turned and marched out of the auditorium.
Ali Milani, President of Brunel’s student union, named Hopkins as the “physical manifestation of online trolls”, and claimed she had no “valuable intellectual insights” to contribute to the debate.
Complete solidarity with our students who walked out of #Bruneldebates here’s hoping @bruneluni learnt their lesson!
— Brunel SU President (@UBSPresident) November 23, 2015
In a piece regarding the protest, Milani writes: “The inclusion of Ms Hopkins has been met with widespread outcry from the student body and the Students’ Union.
“It is important to note that the conversation at no point has been about banning Ms Hopkins from speaking on campus, or denying her the right to speak. It is instead about saying it is distasteful and incongruous for our University, as part of a 50th celebration event, to provide a platform to someone who adds nothing to the intellectual or academic discourse; and an individual who publicly utters such overtly bigoted views.”
Here’s what Hopkins had to say to her student opposition:
Here’s my handy list of labels for the students @Bruneluni to stick on me later. Don’t label. Debate. #bruneldebates pic.twitter.com/JEQP51pom4
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) November 23, 2015
But of course, the Brunel protesters did not take it lying down:
@KTHopkins @Bruneluni are you serious don’t label isn’t that what you always do to anyone you consider not normal why don’t you change jobs
— Kirsten Read (@lewnicnat) November 23, 2015
@KTHopkins @Bruneluni Says the one who labels and can’t debate
— Robert Bristow (@Robbristow77) November 23, 2015
@KTHopkins @Bruneluni You either believe what you say or say it for the money, either way you need help. You have my pity.
— Andy (@RedAndy36) November 26, 2015
@KTHopkins @Bruneluni You missed: white supremacist
— mark (@MarkWroxham) November 23, 2015
@KTHopkins @Bruneluni didn’t you label desperate refugees cockroaches?
— Josh Glover (@Gloverstone) November 25, 2015
@KTHopkins @Bruneluni I think they got it just right, don’t you?
— A.N.I.A (@Aniprim) November 26, 2015
Image via AP Images.
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