Katie Hopkins, the ultra right-wing columnist and broadcaster recently said in an interview in The Times, that “Speaking my mind cost me my career” and that “her views have left her unemployable and living in the shadows”. She was forced to sell her last house for £950,000 to pay off a legal bill in excess of £500,000. A bill she could have settled early by giving £5,000 to a migrant’s charity. Something she refused to do.
She is hated by many people and never really has a good word to say about anyone, apart from other ultra right-wingers, and, of course, Trump.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote, in a quote often attributed to Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it“. This is the foundation of the freedom of speech in a democracy.
But is it true to say she has lost her career as a result of her right to a freedom of speech? She claims that 50% of her income comes from public speaking engagements, so there are definitely some people out there who want to listen to her.
She lost her job at LBC after tweeting there needed to be a “final solution” after the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. Since then she just tweets words and videos as she sees fit, mostly unpleasant attacks on other faiths, races or people.
But is it OK to say such things? In a free society we all should be allowed to say these things (or the complete opposite) and take the rough with the smooth. This, she obviously has done. It’s not as OK for an organisation such as LBC to continue giving her a salary to say such things. Although, that said, they continue to have Nigel Farrage on their station.
My view is she deliberately overstepped the mark, in the full knowledge of what would happen. Losing a job and a house is a natural consequence of that deliberate action.
Should she be allowed to continue to overstep the mark? In my view, yes. We don’t need to silence her. The more rubbish she spouts the less likely she is going to be listened to. Let her dig her own hole.