Laurence Fox calls for a Twitter ‘retract button’ for people who say controversial things and then change their mind as he blasts ‘anti-Western and anti-democratic’ freedom of speech ‘crisis’ in Conservative Conference appearance
- The actor turned political activist spoke at Conservative Party Conference fringe
- Attacked Twitter as ‘everything that everyone ever writes exists in perpetuity’
- Tweets would stay up with ‘a big stamp across the top’ saying views had changed
Laurence Fox suggested Twitter introduce a ‘retract button’ for people who say controversial things but then change their views today as he blasted a freedom of speech ‘crisis’.
The Lewis actor turned political activist attacked a ‘totalitarian orthodoxy’ which was marshalling people’s views as he attended a Conservative Party Conference fringe event.
He attacked Twitter because ‘everything that everyone ever writes exists in perpetuity’, and suggested it should have some changes to make it fairer and stop people being arrested for hate crimes.
His attendance at a virtual fringe event on ‘the free speech crisis’ run by the IEA think tank, came the day after he labelled a fellow actor and social media users ‘paedophiles’ in a bizarre online spat.
The actor is embroiled in a heated exchange with a number of Twitter users including Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp and deputy chair of Stonewall, Simon Blake, whom he called ‘paedophiles’ after they claimed he was ‘racist’. He later deleted the tweets.
Discussing the impact of social media on freedom of speech, Mr Fox, 42, said: ‘I started mulling to myself this idea of whether Twitter should introduce a ‘retract button’ where the tweet stays up but it just has a big stamp across the top saying ‘this is retracted by the author’.
‘So you could watch the development of people’s thoughts, understand that their positions change and alter or something that they have made mistakes.
‘And that may encourage us to be more free in our views rather than collectivising around any form of victimhood or any form of offence and then you agree we should motivate ourselves to collectivise around things that are really important like how we relate to each other, good manners, mutual respect…’
The Lewis actor turned political activist attacked a ‘totalitarian orthodoxy’ which was marshalling people’s views as he attended a Conservative Party Conference fringe event
Laurence Fox is embroiled in a heated exchange with a number of Twitter users
While tweets can be deleted, they can easily be captured by other users as pictures, and often also can be found using Google.
Mr Fox made headlines at the weekend when he accused Sainsbury’s of ‘promoting racial segregation and discrimination’ and promised to boycott the supermarket chain after it promoted Black History Month.
As he faced a backlash for his views, he clapped back at people ‘falsely accusing him of racism’ by retaliating with unsubstantiated slurs calling them ‘paedophiles’.
He has since removed the posts, writing: ‘I have deleted the tweets posted yesterday, in response to being repeatedly, continuously and falsely smeared as a racist.’
He was joined at the debate today by author and former Government education advisor Toby Young, and Inaya Folarin Iman, Founder and Director of the Equiano Project and a former Brexit party election candidate.
The actor is embroiled in a heated exchange with a number of Twitter users including the deputy chair of the Stonewall charity, Simon Blake
Fox has since removed the posts, writing: ‘I have deleted the tweets posted yesterday, in response to being repeatedly, continuously and falsely smeared as a racist.’
Addressing the fringe he said there was a ‘freedom of speech and type of speech crisis’, adding: ‘What is happening is that the only way to not challenge the ideology that is trying to be promoted – which is anti-western and anti-democratic – is by shutting up reasoned debate among people. I think it is very dangerous.
‘It is order to stagnate our society and make us doubt ourselves and allow this very totalitarian orthodoxy to take over.
‘I was really shocked about what Toby (Young) said about 66 people getting interviewed everyday over hate crime. Twitter does not help in this situation because everything that everyone ever writes exists in perpetuity, so I think we could do something about that.’
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