Category Archives: Responses

How the press manufactured the Peppa Pig scandal

In a show of questionable journalism at best, and blatant deception at worst, several major news outlets have mistaken a piece of satire as a genuine call for the banning of the children’s show Peppa Pig.

Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig is a British preschool animated television series

News outlets including the Metro, IBTimes and Daily Mirror, have all published highly inaccurate and defamatory articles about a supposedly Bradford man who posted a satirical video on Youtube on the “Dangers of Peppa Pig to Muslim Children.”

Dangers of Peppa Pig to Muslim Children [PARODY]

The video, which is clearly labelled as parody, was quoted extensively in these reports.

The Metro’s report, published on September 5th, states:

The ban Peppa Pig campaign appears to have been started by Zayn Sheikh, from Bradford, after he found his youngest child Abdullah watching the ‘abominable creature’.

He was even more disgusted when the child informed him he no longer wanted to be a doctor, but instead wanted to be a pig.

In a video uploaded to the Facebook page, Mr Sheikh explains: ‘For us Muslims it is very important that we do not eat meat of the pork.

‘It is completely wrong that our kids are being shown these things on TV.’

Mr Sheikh instead proposes replacing the pig with an ‘Abdullah the cat’ cartoon.

He said: ‘Children still need cartoons to develop their minds. I propose we introduce Abdullah the cat. I think that if we had a good Muslim cartoon then our children would be better Muslims.’

However, according to messages on twitter, Zyan Shiek is not his real name and he is not from Bradford. His real name and location are still unknown, apart from his username MBAM Ummah.

Within the description of the video posted on Ummah’s Youtube Channel, BritishMuslim Comedy, he clearly states that he is not in fact the instigator of the petition or any Facebook pages.

He said: “This video is obviously a parody. I have NOT made the page ‘Muslims Against Peppa Pig’ or any other Facebook pages of the sort.

“This country’s possible future downfall is 1 million times more likely be down to the rapid multiplication of the mentally deficient like you who have failed to spot the satire rather than immigrants who have been unlucky in the accident of birth and have since then decided to move here for better prospects (just like you would in their shoes),” he added.

Ummah’s video was originally uploaded to his Youtube account on June 11th, but was later re-uploaded to a channel called United Midlands on August 22nd, who have posted two other questionable video’s about Islamic extremist.

Their profile picture also bears the motto, “Realists not racists”, and appears to be a group affiliated with the English Defence League.

After becoming aware of the reports, Ummah published a new video labelled, “Dangers of Peppa Pig Part 2”, in which he responds to the backlash surrounding his original clip.

Dangers of Peppa Pig Part 2

He said: “Of course there is a reason I am making this video and now and not in the past.

“It is because the Metro, which is a paper I like to read, has published a story that someone is trying to ban Peppa Pig today, which came up in my facebook feed and many of my friends have been telling me about.

“The only person that I see in that video talking about banning Peppa Pig is me in a parody version of myself.

“That wasn’t serious, they are inventing people.”

Ummah accused Amy Willis, a journalist at the Mail Online and Metro UK, of writing “nonsense in a newspaper which I respected up until this point”.

“It’s a bit suspicious that all your articles seem to be against Muslims,” he added.

The articles have gone on to fuel a huge outpouring of hate for Muslims, including offensive images and statements found on a group called “Peppa Pigs against Muslims“, which currently has over 6000 followers.

These include an image of bacon inside a Quraan and a pig on top of a Kaaba, an important holy site for Muslims, and have acquired thousands of likes and comments.

Comments range from accusing Muslims of being paedophiles, that they have sex with animals, and other derogatory remarks.

Initially it was claimed this page was in response to the group supposedly set up by Ummah, yet evidence indicates that the “Muslims against Peppa Pig” page (which has now been taken down) was set up as a parody, including the petition.

However, similar pages were set up by anti-Muslim activists with the aim of smearing Islam.

“I think it’s disgusting,” said Ummah, “that newspapers can try and even try and defend such a page, by making it seem as if it is a defensive action”.

“I demand an apology from both these papers for taking this story out of context and using it to fuel anti-Muslim hatred.

“Whatever is going on in the rest of the world is not do with us regular Muslims in the UK because we’re just like any other people, we’re normal people just trying to get by.”

The IBTimes, Metro and Mirror have been contacted but have yet to respond.

Andrew Gilligan’s unabashed Islamaphobia

The infamous London editor of the Sunday Telegraph has once again used a highly controversial issue to piggyback his anti-Muslim agenda


Andrew Gilligen, journalist, beside the Thames outside City Hall

In a recent article Gilligan accuses Lutfur Rahman, elected-mayor of Tower Hamlets,  of using his constitutional powers to favour associates in the sale of public land and grant giving. While these are serious allegations that seem to have some merit, Gilligan loses all credibility by bringing Islamist extremism and Lutfur’s religion into the picture. The first clue as to his real motive behind this piece lies in the subheading of the article;

Muslim mayor Lutfur Rahman in line of fire over public grants in Tower Hamlets, East London

Was there really a need to need to refer to him as a Muslim mayor?

While at first it may seem to be a reasonable description of the man, but if hypothetically speaking, Lutfur was a white Christian, you almost certainly wouldn’t describe him as a “Christian mayor” in an article subheading.

Clearly this man wrote this article with an agenda in mind.

In the second paragraph, he claims that a Lutfur has “close links to Islamic extremism”, completely unsubstantiated allegations routinely made by Gilligan.

Although there are serious problems with some of the things Rahman has done, Andrew Gilligan has consistently attempted to damage Rahman’s reputation as well as Ken Livingstone’s during the mayoral elections.

In 2010, following an interview with Lutfer in the Newstateman, Gilligan lashed out at Mehdi Hasan, for daring to let the man tell his side of the story.

Medhi responded with this article, in which he outlines how the Telegraph editor used tacit deception to create controversy.

Not only that, Gilligan was caught sockpuppetting to influence online debate, and has been known to be a tireless proponent of Boris Johnson, who subsequently gave him the role of Cycling Commissioner for London.

Medhi also exposed Gilliagan’s former employment with Press TV, a controversial publication known for spouting Iranian propaganda. Medhi concludes:

Isn’t that ironic? The man who obsesses about Islamists under every British bed is himself a paid, high-profile employee of an an openly Islamist government … Hilarious. And, of course, deeply hypocritical.

Even Lutfers opponenets, such as a member of the Tower Hamlets Labour party, felt unease about the wording of the story. A commenter going by the alias ringmaster_j, said:

Having just read the article, I must say that the islamophobic nature of a lot of the attacks against Lutfur really isn’t on. The point isn’t that he’s giving money to Islamic groups, or Bangladeshi groups – he’s giving money to his mates, his supporters.

While CressCrowbits, from the City of Westminster, stated that:

Attacks like this article which have such a strong anti-islamic undertone that are designed to appeal to those on the right who feel threatened by Muslims will backfire as Rahman’s side can show this as criticism of him being motivated by islamophobia, which will undermine legitimate criticism.

So essentially Gilligan has used the story of a corrupt elected-mayor to perpetuate a negative stereotype of Muslims as unabashed, morally reprehensible leaders. Not only does this detract from the real issue at hand, it gives Lutfur sympathisers ammunition against their critics.

But the real kicker is, Lutfur is just small fry compared to the government currently in power, including Andrew’s good pal Boris, ’cause these guys are just as guilty as Lutfur, more so even, when it comes to cronyism and misuse of public funds.

Feeding the trolls – Brendan O’Neill on Unpaid internships

Another response to Brendan O’Neill.

Masterful troll that he is, the Spiked editor has spurred me to retort once more. Seeing as this is a topical issue, one very relevant to me, I thought I’d post my response here for further discussion.

Original Article –
Why interns don’t deserve pay – by Brendan O’Niell

My response…

“Is there anything worse than when middle-class campaigners use grubby-kneed poor folk as a Trojan horse for the pursuit of their own self-enriching escapades? Resilient working-class kids have for years topped up their internships with Saturday jobs or evening work, while kipping on a friend’s couch to cut outgoings.”

Oh Brendan, how utterly contrived your argument is. As an intern who comes from a low income family, and as an aspiring journalist, I think you’re just a bit out of touch with what obstacles people like me face these days.

I intern 5 days a week, and work weekends when I can. I am on the books of three different temping agencies. I think this is neither fair nor just, namely, that people with wealthy parents have significantly easier circumstances than me. Life would be considerably easier if I was even just paid a menial sum of money for my efforts, rather than next to nothing.

I agree that an internship is an opportunity to learn; I do not contend that interns are “work” for the company “employing” them. But the fact that I can’t claim jobseekers while interning, that I am given no state support is simply ridiculous. I can’t even afford to pay my phone bill, the interest on my student account overdraft, and more and more this just makes internships very unappealing. But without doing unpaid work, the simple fact is, it would be near on impossible for me to become a successful journalist.

Oh yes, but we mustn’t forget the middle-class campaigners now, right Brendan? The people who can actually afford to finance their children’s internships. But I suppose there are plenty of middle class campaigners to argue for the importance of unpaid internships, ones such as, editors of small online magazines perhaps? The same small magazines that quite frequently use and abuse unpaid interns. Now for me at least, this is “easily the most grating argument” used by a greedy businessman such as yourself Brendan.

While I do not disagree that internships are very useful and if not more so to the intern, the fact remains, is they ultimately make the business employing them money. I can find several articles written by interns on Spiked alone that are more successful than a lot of your own articles Brendan. And a lot of your posts are simply written to irk the far left wing, and thereby garner you views and comments. I’ve been following your articles for some time now, and it is my opinion that you’re nothing more than just a glorified troll Brendan.

Interns deserve to be paid for their efforts, even if it is below minimum wage. But you ride off their success; you don’t give them the monetary value their efforts deserve, however small it may be. As someone who has worked for Living Marxism, I’m sure you must understand why this is wrong?


Fellow interns, what are your thoughts on unpaid internships?

In response to Brendan O’Neil – The Royal Birth

Note: This is a response to an article written by Brendan O’Neil, Editor of spiked. Often I’ll write out a lengthy and researched reply but never recieve a reply from the author. Rather then let the discussion be lost as it so often is, I’m hoping this new feature will help bring them to a wider audience.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Kate’s baby and the myth of the monarchist masses
by Brendan O’Niel

My Response…

You make a fair point Brendan, it is wrong of those who oppose the broad coverage of this event to look down upon those who do enjoy it. Arrogance is a terrible thing, regardless of if you are right or not. Another criticism you could make is that by writing about the royal birth these critics are increasing media coverage of the topic, and thereby directly attributing to what they supposedly despise. Both sides are playing to their readership. The birth is a hot topic, equally if you venerate or vindicate the royal family.

But by claiming that you know what “true” Republicanism means you are committing the same fallacy as those who you claim are “public-allergic republicans”. Namely, that you know better than those who should dare to mock the royal birth. A lot of these persons however are lower working class themselves. Your image of those who support the royal family and those who don’t is grossly inaccurate. Likewise, those who oppose the broad coverage of the royal birth have an equal right to share their reasons to why they oppose it, as those who follow it should be able to without obstruction. As you rightly stated, true republicanism is about what the people have to say. By standing up for one side, you ultimately do not stand for all people.

You also make the case that the royal family are nothing but celebrities, describing Kate as a “posh” Kim Kardashian. I must contend this notion. Queen Elizabeth II is a “constitutional monarch” meaning that she acts as head of state within the boundaries of a constitution. The royal family therefore have powers still enshrined in law, and are obligated to perform certain civic duties. If people enjoy them as celebrities, then they ought not to take any money from The Crown Estate and rescind these official duties. They should find ways to earn an income through the means that celebrities do, and not depend on profits from land passed down since the 11th century, land their ancestors claimed by supposed divine right.

These issues are increasingly important and unjustifiable in this age of austerity. If the average Joe has to incur cuts to the welfare estate, then so ought to the royal family, who increased their expenditure for three years in a row now. The royal’s use around £35 million of public money a year, profits from The Crown estate. This is excluding security services, which would put this total a lot higher. For instance, in 2012 The British government spent a grand total of $52 million on property upkeep, communication, security and travel expenses for The Queen.

This seems ludicrous when we consider that the cost of the controversial “Health Tourism” issue was estimated at only £30 million a year. What do you think brings more benefit to society; financing the royal family, or providing healthcare to those who need it? The government waged a successful war against providing free medical care to Non-EU citizens, an issue that is arguably incredibly important to tourism. Yet that same government argues the monarchy are necessary to tourism, hence we mustn’t stop funding them? What an utterly ridiculous and hypocritical contention.

The important question here is do we need an official constitutional monarchy? Honestly, probably not. Do I think people ought to be follow the lives of people that interest them? Of course, I’m not here to tell people what they can and cannot do with their free time. But this is under the condition that the royal family should be treated like normal celebrities and therefore normal citizens. They should not expect any special treatment from the government in the terms of financial assistance, and should rescind their official civic duties, titles, whilst operate using only their own income that is not from The Crown Estate.