Supporters of Tommy Robinson worldwide have collectively donated around £20,000 to a campaign to see the former-English Defence League (EDL) leader released from jail. Robinson was incarcerated in May and has since appealed for donations towards his legal costs in Bitcoin.
Far-Right Activist Appeals for Bitcoin Donations
The English political activist Tommy Robinson was freed from jail today. The former EDL leader was bailed after successfully appealing a contempt of charge he’d previously plead guilty to. During the court proceedings, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett ruled that the case must be reheard since there were technical issues with the ruling in which Robinson was originally incarcerated.
Robinson’s previous conviction for contempt of court was for broadcasting a live Facebook video from outside of Leeds Crown Court in late May. Naturally, as the subject of his video was defending himself at the trial in question, such documentation of legal proceedings warrants legal action.
According to an ITV report, Robinson has been appealing for fans to donate to his legal effort using Bitcoin. This has resulted in around £20,000 being gifted to his cause using the digital currency Bitcoin. The largest single donation was for £5,500.
Most of these payments were sent in the week following Robinson’s arrest. Interestingly, many of them have come from outside of the British Isles too. The Bitcoin transactions have been traced from as far afield as Istanbul and Washington.
For those who don’t know who Tommy Robinson is, he’s a particularly vocal (and selectively ignorant) preacher against child sex offenders and radical Islam. In fact, his name isn’t even Tommy Robinson. It’s Stephen Yaxley Lennon. That doesn’t sound as cavalier crusader though, does it? His list of accomplishments include harassing defendants pre-trial, threatening police officers and journalists alike, and beating people to the ground whilst they attended the Royal Ascot race meet.
Somehow, “Robinson” has managed to garner international support for his thuggish brand of vigilante street justice. Several right-wing media outlets have even come to his defence in recent weeks. These have included Breitbart, Rebel Media, and Fox News. Along with these publications, vocal individual fans of Tommy are Donald Trump Jr. and actress Roseanne Barr.
Such international and high-profile support for the vigilante comes as something of a surprise to the leaders of think tanks monitoring hate groups. The deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, Heidi Beirich, told ITV:
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s not typical to have those kind of political officials advocating on behalf of people who take part in street fights and anti-Muslim rallies. It’s a shock.”
This isn’t the first time Bitcoin has been used to fund individual campaigns for justice. Previously, the WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange was gifted over 4,000 Bitcoin in donations. This was following the freezing of WikiLeaks’s accounts by multiple payment processing companies.