The move marks a continuation of Hopkins’ embrace of the far right, as well as Rebel’s increasing focus on the UK.
A television personality and former columnist for The Sun and Mail Online, Katie Hopkins has rendered herself untouchable by legitimate news sources due to her long history of extreme and dangerous statements.
In this sense the histrionic pundit should prove a good fit at Rebel, a dubious anti-Islam and anti-immigration platform which has served as a major vehicle for the so-called “alt-light”. The alt-light is a loose bloc of reactionary right-wing activists and alternative media content creators that have latched onto the Presidency of Donald Trump. The alt-light has also helped to extend the reach of the more extreme “alt-right”, with which it shares an antipathy towards left-liberal values but diverges in attitudes towards race.
Hopkins, who will provide regular text and video content for Rebel through her new site “Hopkins World”, has launched her stint at Rebel in characteristic style, decrying “women weaponizing their vaginas, using whorefare to take down famous faces and politicians” and stating that “even our children are not safe from the Muslim takeover of Britain” in early columns.
The announcement of Hopkins’ move to Rebel comes hot off the heels of her latest controversy, after she was forced to deny accusations of transphobia after writing that you could “chop the dick off a man but you won’t end up with a woman”, in comments aimed at Celebrity Big Brother star India Willoughby.
Hopkins first came to public attention as a contestant on reality TV show The Apprentice in 2006, and developed notoriety as a pundit through her astonishingly inflammatory commentary on immigration, Islam, and gender debates.
Among her many controversies was an April 2015 column for The Sun entitled “Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants”. Throughout the article she labelled migrants as “cockroaches” and “a plague of feral humans”. The article began: “No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care”.
These comments, published shortly before hundreds of refugees were killed after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean, were condemned by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as using language reminiscent of Nazi propaganda and the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. A petition pressuring The Sun to sack Hopkins was signed by over 300,000 people.
Hopkins left The Sun for Mail Online in September 2015, spending two tumultuous years at the outlet. During this time Hopkins attempted to spend a week reporting for the publisher aboard the vessel of Defend Europe, the mission of leaders of the far-right Identitarian movement to impede refugee search-and-rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
The announcement that Hopkins had parted ways with Mail Online “by mutual consent” broke late in November 2017, three days after she told an audience to “arm themselves” at an event organised by the American “counter-jihad” think-tank the David Horowitz Freedom Centre.
Hopkins’ weekly show at LBC Radio was cancelled three days after she called for a “final solution” following the appalling terrorist attack in Manchester in May 2017, which left 22 dead. Hopkins later claimed her use of the phrase – which echoes the Nazi term for the Holocaust – was a mistake.
The bagging the notorious pundit is a coup for Rebel Media. The outlet, which was founded by “counter-jihad” activist Ezra Levant in February 2015 and thrived during the ascendancy of Trump, has suffered in recent months.
Rebel Media has boasted several of the alt-light’s most recognisable figures as contributors, including Lauren Southern, Jack Posobiec, Faith Goldy and Gavin McInnes, head of the “Western Chauvinist” fraternity Proud Boys. However In August 2017 Rebel went into meltdown with co-founder Lilley, McInnes, Goldy and British commentator Caolan Robertson all leaving the organisation.
The loss of most of its leading faces has left Rebel increasingly dependent on Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), founder and former leader of the anti-Muslim street gang the EDL. In 2017 Lennon received significant attention for a number of incendiary videos capitalising on terror attacks on the UK.
Researcher Jack Buckby has worked closely with Lennon at Rebel. A former rising star in the British National Party (BNP), Buckby also closely aided the UKIP leadership campaign of anti-Muslim activist Anne Marie Waters in the summer, and has been key in the formation of Waters’ new political party, For Britain.
With Hopkins now Rebel’s best-known name, the move marks a significant shift of focus for the outlet to the UK.
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