How Do You Solve A Problem Like Katie Hopkins?
You know what Katie Hopkins is? She’s a time toilet. The ex-Apprentice contestant says something offensive, and you disappear down a Facebook/Twitter/Youtube rabbithole for as long as it takes to absorb her irritatingly misinformed opinion. Then she’s gone, fading away into the mists of offensiveness until she next takes in upon herself to make the nation roll it’s eyes so hard we shift four inches to the left.
Yesterday, it was reported that a Scottish nurse who’d recently returned from travelling to Sierra Leone with a group of healthcare workers from Save the Children had a suspected case of Ebola. The suspicion was confirmed, and she was moved to London for further treatment. Katie Hopkins had these thoughts:
Patently, she’s acting out the colloquial definition of a wanker. And by the end of the day, Twitter was aflame with the Katie Hopkins tweets, some in defense, the rest of us in blinding irritation. Some have accused her of committing a hate crime due to the perceived racism in the Tweet. The furore has been covered in a number of news outlets, including the Independent and the Metro.
Katie Hopkins and her ilk are the mobius strip of awful; they cater to our desire to be outraged just enough to keep themselves in the legal clear. The more people react to her, the more newspapers report on her, the more people want her on their morning shows, the more people find out how she is. So next time she says something offensive, more people react. And so it goes on.
Hopkins knows how to stoke outrage with finesse. She’s not like Dapper Laughs, who accidentally blunders out stuff which he probably doesn’t realize is as grim as it is.; she’s just close enough to enough people’s real-life opinions that she often gets away with the “telling it like it is” tag, despite the fact that most rational-minded people realize what a tremendously nonsensical twat she is. So how do you solve a problem like Katie Hopkins?
A lot of people have called for her to be banned from a variety of social media outlets, and that’s not the answer. Blocking her opinions entirely confirms you see that she’s said something stupid, don’t watch it, don’t search for it, don’t click on articles about it. Utterly, utterly ignore it. that she’s significant enough to warrant a reaction, and that just adds to the rolling stone of leathery, platinum moss. It’s confirmed to many people that she’s “too much” when that’s not true; she’s just repugnant and profoundly annoying. I am not offended by Katie Hopkins, I just have no interest in hearing what she’s got to say on anything ever again. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t got the right to say it at all. Professional offense-mongerers live off publicity, as Hopkins well knows. The only way to get her out of the news, off TV, and keep her opinions out of earshot is to cut off that oxygen. Next time you see that she’s said something stupid, shut it down, ignore it, and encourage other people to do the same if they don’t want to hear anything from her again. Hopkins is on a cliff-edge with her career and her fame; we can provide that nudge and shut her down entirely if we don’t want to listen to her. Do it. Do it for me.