Supporters of English rightist Tommy Robinson, who was recently released on bail after a 13-month jail term for contempt of court was reversed, have donated nearly £20,000 in bitcoin.
The level of Robinson’s support, which comes from as far as Washington and Istanbul, has alarmed organizations that monitor right-wing activities, according to the Evening Standard. Robinson’s Facebook fans have reached 830,000, a 10% gain since May, when he was jailed. His YouTube followers have increased by 20 percent to 230,000.
Free Speech Issue Cited
The £20,000 includes a £5,500 payment to his bitcoin wallet when Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed after he allegedly filmed people in a criminal trial and posted the footage on social media. His supporters criticized his jailing as a violation of his right to free speech.
Media outlets such as Rebel Media, Robinson’s former employer, as well as Breitbart and Fox Newshave supported Robinson. Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, actress Roseanne Barr, Donald Trump, Jr. and “alt-right” personalities have also supported him.
Robinson’s cause was mentioned at an event last month where right-wing politicians slammed evils associated with Islam. The event was funded in part by U.S. think-tank Middle East Forum and organized by former Breitbart U.K. editor Raheem Kassam.
Robinson’s Critics Alarmed
The level of support for Robinson has alarmed his critics.
Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, called Robinson a dangerous extremist attempting to unite the far right around Islamophobia rather than a martyr for free speech.
Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a U.S. organization that monitors U.S. hate groups, said called the amount of Robinson’s support “extraordinary.”
After Robinson appealed the jail term, London judges overturned the contempt finding, granted conditional bail and called for a new hearing.