No-one has grabbed more attention from the British grooming gang scandal than far-right activist Tommy Robinson. Self-proclaimed “journalist” Robinson has covered the scandal numerous times however this has more often than not been to the detriment of the resulting courts cases rather than to the benefit of the victims or society.
In May 2017, Robinson was given a 3 month sentence (suspended for 18 months) having committed contempt of court for filming outside Canterbury Crown Court. The following year in May 2018 Robinson was arrested again for livestreaming a video outside Leeds Crown Court in regards to another case that held heavy reporting restrictions. Justice Marson sentenced Robinson to ten months for contempt of court and his previous three months' suspended sentence was activated because of the breach. Robinson was released in August 2018 due to procedural errors, however after a retrial in July 2019 he was sent back to prison for 9 weeks. On the 13th of September he was released from prison.
For a political activist and an attempted Member of European Parliament jail would be seen as a possible career-ender. Not for Robinson, the court cases and resulting jail time has seen his reputation (and bank balance) soar significantly, largely thanks to support from the USA. In recent years Robinson himself has reached out to broadcasters, outlets and politicians specifically in the US. Upon his release from prison in August 2018 he headed straight for an appearance on FOX News with Carlson Tucker, whilst his final media appearance before his July 2019 imprisonment saw him make an appearance on notorious online outlet Infowars (who years earlier had openly insisted the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax) where Robinson pleaded for political asylum from US President Donald Trump despite having been banned from the country due to numerous prior convictions including trying to sneak into the country illegally.
The feelings appear mutual, and Americans have hastily taken to him. Around 35% of signatories from a #FreeTommy online petition originated from the US, protests occurred in various American cities after his incarceration, numerous notable political figures such as Pamela Geller and Donald Trump Jr have publicly defended him, whilst donations from American organisations, politicians and citizens have flooded in over the years. Joe Mulhall of Hope Not Hate highlighted the American connection and insisted Robinson would “come out of prison (in mid-September) as a superstar, especially in North America. He’ll be on Fox News, everywhere.”.
The question is why? Why is a British-born activist who is railing against the British problem of grooming gangs within the UK trying to reach out to American broadcasters, outlets, personalities, and foundations on the other side of the world so much? What benefit would raising awareness of the problem in America bring? It is possible that the reason could simply be... profit. It is absolutely no secret that politics in the US is a heavily cash-inundated workplace, with political fanatics across the country eager to plough financial support into their favourite activist.
Politics in the USA has been significantly drawn towards three key and recurrent areas in recent years over the course of Donald Trumps presidency: mass-immigration from Muslim-majority nations, free speech, and guns. All three of these hotly-debated topics are in one way covered by Robinson:
Robinson appears to have boxed up and packaged the scandals into a neatly convenient political playing card for his American audience. He has crafted a perception of victimhood towards himself that falsely portrays Britain as everything Americans fear that the USA may become if not for restricted immigration as well as the 1st and 2nd Amendment: that is a tyrannical state over-run by mass-immigration living in 1984. He ultimately tells them what they want to hear. It suits their own political purposes, regardless of whether it is even remotely true. It is inevitable that Americans will support him, and this includes financially.
Robinson's former cameraman and producer Caolan Robertson (named Caolan here for ease of reading) revealed in a series of exclusive interviews for The Byline Times that after a manipulated video of Robinson “defending” himself against an immigrant in Italy went viral, the money from the States flooded in. The video itself, Caolan admitted, was heavily edited to cut out Robinson pushing the migrant into a car and to make himself look like the victim. After this, the money poured in from the States (to quote from The Byline Times):
“It just exploded there and that’s when all the money started coming from there,” Robertson says. “We were like ‘that’s where the money is: America, America, America, f*ck Britain, let’s not even talk about Britain anymore’.” ”.
The result was a flood of cash coming in from American donors, whether it be from regular citizens giving the odd ten or twenty dollars. Caolan insisted that Robinson made around £450,000 in donations over the first five months of working together, whilst a Stripe account was “receiving up to £3,000 a day”. Robinsons appeal also resulted in support from foreign organisations and think-tanks.
In December 2018, investigations by The Guardian showed various instances of funding towards Robinson from abroad. Among them were:
Robinsons biggest payday appears to have come since his jailing for contempt of court in mid-2018 after he almost collapsed an entire grooming gang trial. He began livestreaming outside Leeds Crown Court, reporting on a case he admitted had tough reporting restrictions, and was subsequently arrested and jailed (although he was later released due to procedural errors, then jailed again a year later). For this, Robinson received significantly increased cash support as money flooded in and the support from abroad intensified. He bragged about how he had received “probably in excess of £350,000” in donations in just one fortnight after he was jailed in 2018, and stepped up appearances on foreign outlets (as mentioned) such as FOX News. US politicians highlighted his “cause” and offered their support to him publicly.
Evidently, almost collapsing the grooming gang trials by himself was seen as a sacrifice other people were reluctantly having to make. In a letter he wrote from prison in June 2018, he insisted that being jailed would indeed be “a win” for his cause, insisted that judges had “added more support for me and my cause”, and boasted that regardless of the outcome: “my support will be stronger than ever... either way I win.”.
It would not be the first time Robinson has gained financially through malicious ways. In November 2012 he was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by misrepresentation in relation to a mortgage application, along with five other defendants. He pleaded guilty to two charges and in January 2014 was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. His fraud amounted to £160,000 over a period of six months.
Very few people have come away from the grooming gang scandals in a positive way, however arguably nobody has benefited more from the scandals than Tommy Robinson. His status among right-wing activist circles has exploded from minor notoriety to becoming a poster-boy for the right, whilst money has been flooding in, particularly from the USA. Media appearances have soared, whilst political support has skyrocketed.
Despite almost collapsing an entire trial, Tommy Robinson appears to have profited from the British grooming gang scandal in a similar way that Alex Jones and Infowars profited from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, after which Jones spread numerous blatant falsehoods that the Connecticut shooting was a “false flag” attack where no-one died and that those involved were instead “crisis actors”. Jones is now being sued by various Sandy Hook families who are scaling over his finances to see just how much Infowars and Jones profited from these falsehoods.
Robinson appears to have managed the grooming gang scandals into his own valuable commodity that he has packaged and shipped off to the USA. Here, Americans can utilise it as an argument for guns and free speech, and against mass-immigration. Lucy Brown, his former assistant who insisted Robinson was spending “thousands of pounds” of donors money on cocaine, told The Times in 2018 that Robinson (“the best funded politician in the UK”) was essentially running a “business” out of the grooming gang scandals and indeed all and any anti-Islamic sentiment as a result of terrorism and the grooming gang scandals “valid as it is, will be monetised as such”.
In early 2019, Robinson put his four bedroom country home on the market for a whopping £900,000, complete with outdoor hot tub, TV above the bath, and a Range Rover sitting in the driveway. After the wind-fall he received from almost collapsing a rape trial, the extra dollars may help take him somewhere even more luxurious.
As another notorious clown once said: “Let's just say it moved me... to a bigger house!”