A British tabloid columnist faced calls for a police investigation on Tuesday after she used the term “final solution” to describe how the country should respond to the deadly bombing in Manchester.
The phrase is the well-known euphemism used by the Nazis for the genocide of the Jews.
Katie Hopkins, a conservative writer for Mail Online, invoked it in a tweet responding to the explosion at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night, which killed 22 people and injured dozens of others. The Islamic State claimed responsibility, saying one of its “soldiers” had carried out the attack.
The tweet was directed to Phillip Schofield, host of the British news show “This Morning,” though it was not clear what he said to prompt it.
“22 dead — number rising,” Hopkins wrote. “Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution. #Machester”.
Hopkins quickly deleted the tweet after it drew a reaction and replaced it with an edited version that read, “we need a true solution.” She said she stood by the original and called her use of the word “final” a “typo” that she deleted because she found it “disrespectful to the survivors in Manchester.”
The tweet was the latest in a long line of inflammatory remarks from Hopkins, who has come under fire in recent years for comparing migrants to cockroaches, shaming overweight people and boasting that she wouldn’t allow her kids to play with poor children.
Islam is one of her favorite targets, one that she has focused on with increasing fervor as the migrant crisis in Europe has grown. Some of her material has landed her in legal trouble. In December, Mail Online retracted two columns in which Hopkins alleged that a British Muslim family barred from flying to the United States had ties to al-Qaeda. The claim was false. Mail Online apologized to the family and paid them $186,000 in libel damages.
In late 2015, during the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump praised Hopkins on Twitter as a “respected columnist” and thanked her for her “powerful writing on the U.K.’s Muslim problems.”
“Thank you sir,” she replied. “You have support in the UK.”
Critics blasted Hopkins’s remarks Tuesday, many arguing the Holocaust euphemism was obvious and intentional. Some complained to Metropolitan Police Service in London, where Hopkins is based, asking whether her tweet amounted to hate speech.
Police confirmed that the complaints were being reviewed but didn’t say whether they’d launched a formal investigation. British law prohibits threatening speech that incites hatred based on religion.
Later she tweeted:
On Tuesday evening, Hopkins appeared on Fox News, where she discussed the Manchester bombing with conservative host Tucker Carlson. She said she wished people would use stronger language to demand deportation and other action in the wake of the attack.
“We’re not allowed to talk like that,” she told Carlson disapprovingly.
“Now, clearly certain things I tweet — I absolutely accept words matter,” Hopkins said. “I used the word ‘final solution’ in a tweet, and I would not in any way want to use that term and the inference other people lay on that. What I meant was, we need a lasting solution, a resolution to this.”
Carlson listened intently, a concerned expression on his face.
“You’ve got to figure out how to fix it,” he said. “Yeah, I get it.”
Some of Hopkins’s counterparts in the British press condemned her “final solution” tweet. Hugh Muir, the Guardian’s associate opinion editor, argued in favor of a criminal investigation, saying “some speech is so inflammatory and societally divisive that we enact laws to prevent it.”
Sean O’Grady of the Independent wrote that Hopkins may not have intended to invoke the language of the Holocaust. But even if that was the case, he said, her words were counterproductive.
“If we simply become angry, as Katie Hopkins appears to, then we play into the terrorists’ hands,” O’Grady wrote. “Violence, in deed and in word, begets violence. She should take note.”
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