How Scotland’s controversial hate crime law triggered JK Rowling, Joe Rogan and Elon Musk – POLITICO

“You see this wild shit in Scotland where they target comedians with hate crime laws? Joe Rogan, the world’s most popular podcaster, asked his guests in a recent episode, as he seized on claims – quickly denied by Police Scotland – that officers are monitoring hate speech “by through the public performance of a play.

Musk approvingly shared a post from Malaysian right-wing influencer Ian Miles Cheong who claimed the law would see people locked up who “show someone a spicy meme” about transgender people or “mass migration”.

Closer to home, footballer-turned-pundit Ally McCoist also spoke out against the legislation, arguing that he and 48,000 other fans would likely be breaking the law by watching his beloved Rangers take on their arch-rivals Celtic this Sunday . Scottish football – and the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers in particular – has long been plagued by sectarian hatred, which the Scottish government has attempted to combat with previous legislation.

Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, stood behind Rowling this week, citing Britain’s “proud tradition of free speech.” | Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

Still keen to try to give blood to the Scottish SNP government, Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak got behind Rowling this week, citing Britain’s “proud tradition of free speech.” His Westminster government has long battled the Scottish administration over the protection of transgender people.

“Protect people”

The law poses a real test for Scottish First Minister Yousaf, who was Justice Secretary when it was passed in 2021 and is now presiding over its coming into force.

Although a majority of lawmakers from all Holyrood parties except the Scottish Conservatives supported the bill at the time, it had a rocky road to becoming law and was amended in the process to strengthen its free speech provisions following a backlash.


Back to top button