Minor TV celebs Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman teamed up with lawyer Mark Lewis to try to censor online communications of left-wing activists.
Celebs’ fragile egos
Both Riley and Oberman have been voluminously active on social media platforms recently where they have engaged in combative political discourse.
The key conclusion from Riley and Oberman’s online engagement is that people with greater knowledge, intelligence and social awareness were able to refute and destroy most of the political points made by the pair.
Repeated defeat in arguments did not sit well with the respective egos of Riley and Oberman. The ease with which their opponents dispensed with them led to both adopting an aggressive approach.
A young Labour activist was targetted by Oberman in a deliberate attempt to intimidate and shut down and Riley joined in with the intimidation of the same activist.
Tactics used by Oberman and Riley followed a familiar right-wing strategy of encouraging people to target an opponent – dogpiling – and of provoking a reaction from allies of their opponent. The next step was to use fallacious legal threats against anyone who criticised or exposed the dogpiling tactic.
Malicious ‘legal’ threats
Mark Lewis claimed he issued legal threats on behalf of Riley and Oberman to seventy people including some who had complained about their behaviour. Jim Waterson reported in Lewis legal threats that Lewis claimed he “is contacting people who have either posted allegedly libellous claims about his clients or repeatedly sent them large numbers of messages, which he says is tantamount to harassment.”
The actions of Lewis have more than one objective:
- Shut down political criticism of the views of Riley and Oberman
- Remove left-wing activists from social media platforms
- Dissuade others from engaging in left-wing activism and of challenging right-wing rhetoric
- Distract from and cover-up the intimidation tactics used by Oberman and Riley
Notably, Lewis was aware of the young Labour activist who had been the recipient of Riley and Oberman’s dogpiling tactic. Waterson reported that “one of the Twitter users describes herself as a 17-year-old girl, earning Lewis criticism from those who accuse him of targeting a child. He said if the user could prove she is a minor then no action will be taken against her.”
For most people, a threat of legal action is sufficient to shut them up and legal threats against other people is sufficient to deter many activists from expressing an opinion.
Lewis, Oberman and Riley are indulging in political censorship; political censorship by the wealthy of the less wealthy.