Laurence Fox: actor’s Twitter ban over Pride flag Swastika explained, and what is feud with Kathy Burke about?
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The actor-turned-campaigner posted the controversial image over the weekend, leading to his Twitter account being locked.
As soon as he regained access to his account, Fox posted a video to his 311.4K followers to hit back at those who had criticised him.
So, what exactly did Fox say in his video, what had Kathy Burke said and why was he locked out of his account?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why was Laurence Fox locked out of his Twitter account?
Fox posted the picture of a swastika made out of four LGBT pride flags on the social media site, and set it as his profile photo.
He said the image reflected his belief that LGBT pride month, which is taking place during June, is “enforced with a sense of hectoring authoritarianism”.
The tweet resulted in a backlash from Twitter users and Twitter temporarily froze his account for violating their hateful imagery policy.
A London Assembly member even called for the Met Police to investigate Fox over the tweet, calling it a hate crime.
Caroline Russell, who is a member of the Police and Crime Committee in the Greater London Authority, wrote: ‘I hope the Met Police will look into Laurence Fox using pride flags to create nazi imagery and posting the images on a public platform. This is a hate crime.”
Fox was allowed access to his account again after deleting the image.
What did Kathy Burke say on Twitter, and how did Laurence Fox respond?
In response to Fox’s image, actress, comedian and writer Kathy Burke wrote her own controversial status.
She said: “The existence of Lawrence Fox is another reason to be pro abortion.”
When he was allowed back in to his account, Fox retweeted Burke’s tweet and added his own response.
He simply said: “You used to be funny.”
He later added another scathing tweet which he sent directly to her.
He wrote: “A message for @KathyBurke who wishes I had been aborted. You have dishonoured my mother. The only encouraging thing I can say is that my mum would have loved you anyway. She had class, compassion and talent, you see. You have none. You have an empty, lonely and miserable soul.”
Fox also replied to Caroline Russel’s tweet and accused her of using tactics similar to those used by the Chinese Communist Party.
He wrote: ‘This is the UK, not China. Good to know you would like to see your political opponents prosecuted for "hate", locked up and probably worse. So thanks for proving my point for me.”
What did Laurence Fox say in his video?
On his return to Twitter, Fox posted a five minute video in which he spoke directly to the camera about the situation.
Fox said: “Basically Kathy Burke is saying that she wished I was dead. Okay, you know, that’s fairly standard for Twitter. You don’t really get reported or banned for that.
“She’s then conflated that with the issue of abortion, which is a very difficult choice for lots of women and men and people who are going through such a difficult time.
But the thing that’s really bothered me more than anything, if I’m really honest, is the fact that she even brought my mother in to it.
“Now, my mum died during the pandemic. She wouldn’t have been able to understand where Kathy Burke’s thinking comes from.
“She was sound of mind, she was incredibly fair, she loved people and she taught us to love people as well and to be kind.
“She didn’t care about if you disagreed politically, or in any other ideological way, she just wanted people to be heard and for everyone to have a voice - which is why I care about free speech.
“I’m grateful every single day that I was blessed with such an amazing mother.
“So for Kathy Burke to say that she wished I was aborted is a great dishonour of my mother.”
He also went on to urge Twitter users who had “abused” him over the image he posted to “sort it out”.
He also stood by the image that he posed.
He called the pride movement “disgusting”
He added: “This was a movement started by gay people to get equality, which we all believe in, and it has been totally taken over to become something very, very different now.
“We all know what it is, it’s a flag for something very, very different.
“The point that I was making, I made, I’m very happy to do it and I stand by it whether I’m banned or not.”
How have people reacted to Laurence Fox’s image?
Many people have also condemned Fox for the image he posted.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism said the post was “insulting”.
In a tweet, the campaign group wrote: “Displaying pride flags in the shape of a swastika is not the edgy statement that you think it is.
“It is possible to express a view without the hate, and without insulting those murdered by the Nazis, which included Jews and LGBT people.”
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust also said they were “appalled” by the “vile” image.
“We are appalled to see Laurence Fox’s vile tweet this morning with abhorrent use of the swastika.
“Gay men experienced untold suffering under the Nazis, including murder, castration, and medical experimentation.”
Some did, however, support Fox, who is the founder of The Reclaim Party.
Martin Daubney, deputy leader of the Reclaim Party was quick to post his own picture of a swastika, but compiled from Union Jack flags.
He posted the image, which has now been deleted, along with the caption “So is this worthy of a ban?”
Has Laurence Fox been in trouble with Twitter before?
The actor was suspended over a controversial post on Manchester City player Benjamin Mendy last year.
Fox was forced to defend himself from accusations of racism after he tweeted: ‘Get kneeling, f*****s’ when it came to light that Mendy had being charged with four counts of rape and sexual assault.