Scarborough Spa’s management has cancelled the Sargon of Akkad (Carl Benjamin) show ‘This week in stupid’ following a campaign by Scarborough Stand up to Racism (SUTR), supported by Labour and Green Party councillors and members, trade unionists and other anti-racists.
Benjamin, who had been due to appear at the venue on 16 June, claims to be against extremism but is a mouthpiece for the far right, who are once again trying to mobilise on the streets.
‘The far right are clearly trying to regroup under the banner of free speech,’ said Labour councillor Rob Barnett. ‘Scarborough Spa are to be congratulated for refusing to allow their stage to be used as a tool in that campaign. We don’t need division – we need unity to fight for a better society.’
Scarborough SUTR’s Kim Hunter, added, ‘A mosque and a Sikh gurdwara were both set on fire in Leeds this week, four days after 350 racists rampaged through the city centre. That’s what happens when the far right march on our high streets and flock to mainstream venues.’
Benjamin himself spoke at the ‘free speech’ rally in Whitehall on 6 May called by now-incarcerated former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon). Other speakers at the rally included Ann-Marie Waters, a person deemed too right wing for UKIP. Speakers demonised Islam while the audience shouted for Muslims to be expelled.
Benjamin has also been booked to speak at events such as the Patriots Day rally in Boston organised by the ‘Proud Boys’, a so-called ‘western chauvinist’ fraternity recently named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
Scarborough SUTR thanked everyone who had signed the statement against Benjamin’s show.