Elon Musk warns against Irish government’s 'hate speech' laws that would criminalize memes

"Language being proposed as law in Ireland means this could literally happen to you for having a meme on your phone."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
A stabbing attack against women and children allegedly committed by an Algerian immigrant in Ireland has led the prime minister of that nation, Leo Varadkar, to promise to enact new laws against hate speech. In response, Elon Musk shared a gif of an arrest, saying "Language being proposed as law in Ireland means this could literally happen to you for having a meme on your phone."

"We will pass new laws in the coming weeks to enable the Gardai [police] to make better use of the CCTV evidence they collected yesterday, and also we will modernize our laws against incitement to hatred and hatred in general," Varadkar said one day after the stabbing and the riot that followed.

"I think it's now very obvious to anyone who might have doubted us that our incitement to hatred legislation is just not up to date. It's not up to date for the social media age. And we need that legislation through within a matter of weeks," Varadkar said.

Those legal changes, proposed in 2022, would "create new laws to deal with hate crimes, expand the protected characteristics to include gender (including gender identity and expression) and disability," and "make it an offence to deny or trivialise genocide."

The proposed change would define a hate crime in very broad terms. "A hate crime," the law reads, "is any criminal offense which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to have been motivated by prejudice based on a person's age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender." This law would replace the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989.

Varadkar's comments after the stabbing were timely and directed against the Irish citizens who reject mass migration and advocate for Irish culture. One of those individuals was UFC champion Conor McGregor, who took a stand after the revelation that the suspect in the stabbings is an Algerian immigrant. The suspect was on a list to be deported in 2008, but those orders were rescinded and he was able to gain an Irish passport. 

McGregor made posts on social media advocating against mass migration to Ireland. Those posts are now being investigated by police "as part of an inquiry into the disseminaiton of online hate speech."

McGregor said that if leadership wasn't prepared to act to create change, he would do so himself. He said that while he did not condone rioting, theft or looting, he did "understand frustrations."

"I do understand frustrations however, and I do understand a move must be made to ensure the change we need is ushered in. And fast! I am in the process of arranging. Believe me I am way more tactical and I have backing. There will be change in Ireland, mark my words," McGregor said.
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