Williamson event booking cancelled by hotel after threatening emails, calls, social media messages – and a sinister visit – but did not report the incidents to police
An event featuring MP Chris Williamson, who was reinstated and then resuspended by the Labour Party, had to be held outdoors after the Holiday Inn Brighton and another venue cancelled bookings following a series of threatening and abusive messages from opponents.
“There will be consequences” – the sinister message delivered in person to hotel staff
The Holiday Inn cancelled its booking on Monday, after an avalanche of abuse. In an email to the event organiser, it stated that “our hotel and employees have been subjected to abuse and threats from members of the public on the phone, on email and on social media outlets”:
But the threats were not limited to electronic media. In a deeply sinister turn of events, two men turned up at the hotel reception and warned that “There will be consequences” if the booking was not declined.
Staff were traumatised, with one so upset that she could not face coming into work the next day. The men were captured on CCTV and the footage has been viewed by hotel management – but when the SKWAWKBOX contacted Sussex Police for an update on the case, the force advised that no report of any of the incidents has been made by the hotel.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted the hotel management to ask why it had not involved police when it has video and documentary evidence and a statutory duty of care to its staff that would require full investigation and prosecution.
The management refused to comment on its duty of care or why it had not yet reported the threats to Sussex Police.
A second venue cancelled the event after a Twitter ‘storm’ believed to have been started by a criminal recently convicted of ‘disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress’ for his ‘aggressive, bullying behaviour’ toward pro-Palestinian protesters.
Opponents of the event resorted to tweeting from what appears to have been a resurrected, disused Twitter handle in order to create the appearance of a third venue cancelling a booking:
The account making the clumsy tweet was quickly deleted after it was exposed:
One of the event organisers told the SKWAWKBOX that he felt the behaviour of a neighbouring Labour MP had ‘given permission to [Williamson]’s opponents to behave in this appalling and frightening manner”, adding that “it’s an absolute abuse of freedom of speech”.
The Chris Williamson event eventually took place outdoors in Brighton’s Regency Square, with an estimated two hundred supporters attending in spite of the last-minute change. A number of people told organisers they were staying away because of fears that they would be photographed and targeted. A small number of counter-protesters did turn up and were seen filming the crowd.
The Holiday Inn owes a duty to its staff to report this matter to police and to provide the force with all available evidence, so that those behind the threats can be prevented from abusing others.
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