Until this week, Katie Hopkins was a right-wing pundit for the Mail Online.
Notorious for her opposition to immigration and her penchant for lashing out against liberals, Hopkins attracted clicks and public attention.
But she also attracted lawsuits.
The final straw for the Mail Online seems to have been its decision this week to pay thousands of dollars in libel damages to a teacher Hopkins had falsely accused of taking her students to an anti-Trump rally in London. While the teacher did attend that rally with a banner her students had made, she did not take her students with her. This is just one of a number of payouts that the Mail has made on Hopkins' behalf.
Yet, even though I disagree with most of her views, I have some sympathy for the pundit. She is being silenced by unduly aggressive British anti-speech laws.
The best example of the injustice here is what happened in March, when an English libel court awarded activist Jack Monroe $32,000 after Hopkins tweeted at Monroe. Hopkins' grave offense was to ask Monroe (yes, ask) whether she had "scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalized the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?" Hopkins' tweet followed graffiti that was scrawled on a war memorial during an anti-government spending cuts protest.
But while the questioning tweet was idiotic — there was no evidence Monroe had engaged in any graffiti activity — the court's judgement was even more ludicrous. After all, according to the presiding judge, Hopkins had acted unlawfully by tweeting a message with a "defamatory tendency" which caused Monroe "real and substantial distress."
Here we see the legal ruling that opinions or questions can be illegal if they upset someone. The triumph of feelings over freedom of speech, it represents a grave affront to the natural right of individuals to express an opinion and contribute, even controversially, to public debates.
In turn, Hopkins should move to the U.S. and find herself free to speak without fear of facing idiotic libel judgements. After all, there is no way a U.S. civil court would rule in Monroe's favor.