Before the bodies of those killed in the attack in London this week were cold, Katie Hopkins sporting her “can I speak to the manager” haircut found her way onto Fox News to share her hot take that “People are cowed by one particular religion, which is promoted by the Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, son of the bus driver.” Her divisive rhetoric works as a dog whistle to the far right and neo-Nazi movements both here in the UK and in the United States and it’s nothing new. Hate brands like Nigel Farage and Ann Coulter have long cultivated their message choosing to speak for and to those unable to abide by the slowly changing power structure. The difference between Ann Coulter and Hopkins is Coulter believes every word she writes and says- Farage is moulded and motivated by white supremacy; Hopkins is not.
Katie Hopkins was a savvy business woman and a caring mother who during her stint on BBC’s The Apprentice chose to exit the show due to her family commitments rather than progress to the final. In 2007 when she was exposed having sex with a married man in a field, Hopkins opened up about her struggles of being a single mother “"I have cohabited three times, been engaged twice and given birth before settling down to marry the father. I am a divorcee with paperwork pending and have spent the last two years as a single mother of two girls under three. Finally, I am cohabiting again." In the BBC interview, she goes onto to advocate the celebration of everyone’s differences and complexities “since emerging in the public eye, I have been asked many times by many people to apologise for my approach to life. But I haven't apologised for any of it. In fact, I celebrate it. I celebrate the fact that we are all complex and different and that we have a choice.” Here is a woman who understands the need to apply nuance when she is being judged but incapable of extending the same consideration to those unlike her especially when she realised “the most hated woman in Britain” moniker was a lucrative one. Being a thoughtful, kind media figure like Oprah isn’t profitable when you are financially beholden to those desperate to believe “the other” are the source of your disenfranchisement thus Hopkins is at peace with perpetuating islamaphobic diatribe about London’s Mayor Saadiq Khan on American news in order to further line her pockets, apathetic to the impact of her awfulness.
I am unwilling to ignore the damage her prejudice causes especially when white supremacists, who now fancy themselves a religion, find legitimacy in her message. Amy Nickell for Yahoo News writes “we need to stop being outraged by Hopkins” and I feel the roof of my mouth itch when she claims “you must admire her ability… to rise from ‘I think she was on the Apprentice? Bit bossy’ to a genuine household name to appearing on US news stations.” I see a direct correlation between hate speech like hers and the 326% rise in racist attacks against Muslims in the UK last year. This troublesome ability to encourage us to commend Hopkins for her marketing prowess yet lambast those who oppose her for “allowing her to thrive” speaks to the protection of whiteness even when its function is the continued disenfranchisement of people who do not look like her for profit. Recently Jodie Marsh rushed to defend Hopkins in her column for Closer Magazine where she claims again people shouldn’t pay attention to her and should “laugh it off.” The problem is the choice to “ignore” Hopkins isn’t extended to those affected by the prejudice she has become a representative of, like the Woman On Westminster Bridge who became a target for nationalist racists in the wake of the Attack on London’s parliament.
This week Tomika Lorange was suspended from her show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze when she came out as Pro-Choice and right on time like those flashing lights after the massacre at the Armitage’s, white feminist Morgan Mickavicz sprinted to pen an open letter entitled “I Owe Tomi Lahren An Apology.” I make the distinction Mickavicz is a white feminist because her desperation to absolve Lahren and welcome her with open arms, wilfully ignoring her racism, xenophobia and misogynoir because she now can find one subject on which they agree classifies her feminism as exclusive to those unaffected by Lahren’s sponsored hate speech. The need to coddle Lahren and Hopkins when they become victims of the systems of oppression they uphold is galling and highlights the percieved value and fragility of white womanhood and the commitment to safeguard it regardless of the violence it perpetuates.
It will not always be so fruitful to speak for and to those who enjoy and celebrate the denigration of marginalised groups. I look forward to Hopkins’ comeuppance because just as Lahren was exposed as a fake who once argued in defence of liberal ideals, Hopkins too lazily chooses the profits of infamy over her successful career as a businesswoman who turned the tragedy of her epilepsy into a highflying career. These women are dangerous and I will not be distracted by the implied innocence their whiteness affords them when the chickens come home to roost. Their hypocrisy will not be rewarded by me and mine.
Click the heart below.
Jump in the comments below and tell me how you fell.