CitizenGo

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CitizenGo, sometimes CitizenGO, is an international Roman Catholic campaigning organisation, founded in Spain in 2013 by Ignacio Arsuaga from an earlier Spanish organisation called HazteOir. Active in Europe, North America, and South America, CitizenGo promotes various socially conservative causes, and in particular opposes LGBT rights and abortion.[1][2]

It reportedly modeled itself on liberal campaigning groups MoveOn.org, Change.org, and similar groups, which sought to mobilise people online with petitions and other campaigning: hence its focus is primarily online.[3] However, there have been some real-world stunts organised by CitizenGo, including displaying homophobic and transphobic messages on buses and planes.[4] Its pronouncements include the bizarre claim that "homosexual activists have played a integral role in the rise of fascist politics, including Nazism".[5]

In the UK it has become known for the actions of its campaign director Caroline Farrow, who has received media coverage for homophobic and transphobic trolling, as well as attention from the police.[6][7]

Around the world[edit]

Spain[edit]

In Spain it is closely linked to the extremist, ultra-nationalist party Vox, which campaigns against immigrants and opposes regional autonomy. It is also closely linked to another Spanish organisation HazteOir, founded in 2001; HazteOir had its charitable status removed due to anti-trans comments.[2]

In 2017, it campaigned against a law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, with stunts including flying the "hate plane", a bright orange plane emblazoned with slogans such as "They are coming for your children", across Spain. It also drove a transphobic bus around Spain painted with slogans like "boys have penises, girls have vulvas, don’t be fooled"[3][4]

It has also been linked to El Yunque, an alleged Catholic secret society operating in Mexico and Spain that press reports have claimed is closely connected to HazteOir.[3][8][9] Based on the information that exists about El Yunque, it is an antisemitic group that bars people of Jewish ancestry from membership regardless of religious belief. Members are required to follow orders from the group without question, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is obligatory reading.[10]

United Kingdom[edit]

Actions in the UK include a February 2021 campaign against an advert for Cadbury's Creme Eggs featuring a gay kiss; the chocolate company said to "showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real-life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert" but CitizenGo objected to them ramming chocolate homosexuality down people's throats.[11]

Caroline Farrow[edit]

In the UK, CitizenGo's campaign director is Caroline Farrow, a self-styled journalist and a prominent campaigner against trans rights and gay rights. Farrow has stated that she "rejects the idea of feminism outright", and she is part of the transphobic circle around author J.K. Rowling.[7] Farrow complained on Twitter about London Zoo promoting its gay penguins, calling it "confrontational propaganda".[12] Farrow also appeared on TalkTV in the UK in 2022, complaining about gay men adopting babies, and she objects to surrogacy in general.[13]

On 3 October 2022 Farrow was arrested for malicious communications and harassment against trans activist Stephanie Hayden, after allegedly doxxing Hayden on Twitter and Kiwi Farms (although Farrow claimed she was playing a church organ at the time).[7][6] Farrow promptly went on Mark Steyn's show on right-wing channel GB News to defend herself, and the following day police informed Hayden of a credible arson threat against Hayden, possibly linked to Farrow's media appearances.[7] Farrow is a keen user of hate site Kiwi Farms, which is known for bullying and doxxing people and even driving them to suicide; on Kiwi Farms she is called "Bulwark of the Catholic Church in the UK".[7] CitizenGo nonetheless launched one of its campaigns to defend Farrow.[14]

United States[edit]

CitizenGo has also launched various anti-LGBT+ campaigns in the United States. This included calling for a boycott of insurance company State Farm, forcing it to drop its support for an inclusive reading program; CitizenGo accused them of "aggressive and predatory behavior" and efforts "to try and make children gay".[15][16] However it's not clear how much of its campaigning success is actually due to CitizenGo rather than other right-wing entities such as Fox News which often push similar stories.

Other anti-LGBT campaigns included a petition that claimed that "cisgender men" are banned from the US armed forces.[17] And they campaigned against LGBT characters in Netflix and Disney programming.[18][19]

One campaign opposed the FBI and Facebook for allegedly spying on and victimizing conservatives.[20] They bizarrely claimed that Joe Biden was forcing all immigrants entering the USA to have abortions — the reality is that immigration authorities have taken steps to preserve access to abortion for pregnant minors being looked after by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.[21][22]

Mexico[edit]

CitizenGo has also campaigned in Mexico, including supporting an anti-abortion march.[3]

Ireland[edit]

CitizenGo was involved in Ireland lobbying against the legalisation of abortion, collecting a petition and funding advertisements on social media, and after a referendum allowed abortion, it began supporting "conscientious objector" doctors who wanted to refuse to give abortions.[23]

Russia[edit]

CitizenGo declared its support for Vladimir Putin's anti-gay laws in 2013.[5]

Kenya[edit]

CitizenGo petitioned against the decriminalization of abortion and homosexuality in Kenya in 2019, then later celebrated the continued criminalization in 2020. [24] According to the Mozilla Foundation, CitizenGo has been a key contributor to misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric in African internet communities, especially in Kenya.[25]

Trustees and funders[edit]

Arsuaga in 2014

It was founded by Ignacio Arsuaga, with the mission statement: "CitizenGO will produce a social benefit that we trust will impact human history. Abortionists, the homosexual lobby, radical secularists, and champions of relativism will find themselves behind CitizenGO’s containment wall".[1]

Its trustees have included Alexey Komov, who is closely linked to the Russian oligarch and monarchist campaigner Konstantin Malofeev;Wikipedia Brian Brown of the American group World Congress of Families (at whose congresses speakers have included Viktor Orbán and Matteo Salvini); Gualberto Garcia Jones, of far-right anti-gay organisation LifeSite and allegedly the Human Rights Advisor for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the Organisation of American States; and Luca Volontè,Wikipedia a former Italian politician.[1][26] Volontè was jailed in January 2021 for corruption after funnelling bribes from Azerbaijani politicians into a foundation that supported CitizenGo, Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Irish Catholic advocacy group the Iona Institute, and other similar lobbying groups.[1] Patrick Slim, son of the Mexican billionaire Carlos SlimWikipedia, has also reportedly donated; as has José Luis Bonet, boss of the Freixenet wine company, whose bottles look like sex toys.[1]

Gay rights organisation GLAAD has claimed that CitizenGo worked closely with Brian Brown's organizations including National Organization for Marriage in campaigning against gay people in the US and around the world.[5]

Donors to parent organisation HazteOir included David Álvarez, founder of business services company Eulen; Isidoro Álvarez, owner of department store group El Corte Inglés; and Esther Koplowitz, 7th Marchioness of Casa Peñalver.[1][27]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Money Men Behind CitizenGO's Anti-Gender Agenda, Sian Norris, Byline Times, June 21, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revealed: the Trump-linked ‘Super PAC’ working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far Right, Open Democracy, 25 April 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "They are coming for your children" - The Rise of CitizenGo, Open Democracy, 9 August 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 CitizenGo, Equity Forward, accessed October 10, 2022
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Brian Brown extends his anti-LGBT activism across the globe, GLAAD, Jan 14, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Anti-LGBTQ+ activist Caroline Farrow rages against trans people as she’s being arrested, PinkNews, 5 October 2022
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 J.K. Rowling Ally Arrested for Allegedly Doxing a Trans Activist, Vice News, 6 October 2022
  8. See the Wikipedia article on El Yunque (organization).
  9. The Secret Society That Won't Go Away, Guadalajara Reporter, June 29, 2007
  10. Julianna Neuhouser (Julianna Neuhouser). "For God, Fatherland and the Faith: CitizenGo, HazteOír and the Yunque. Trans Safety Network.
  11. Did Same-Sex Kiss in Cadbury Ad Spark Angry Petition?, Snopes, 20 Feb 2021
  12. Catholic journalist Caroline Farrow caused a Twitter storm last week over her opposition to the stars of London Zoo’s Pride celebrations — gay penguins., Pink News, 3 July 2019
  13. Caroline Farrow thinks ‘entitled’ gay parents are ‘removing’ babies from mothers, Pink News, 4 September 2022
  14. Sign 🖊 the Petition to Help Defend Caroline Farrow: https://bit.ly/PetitionForCaroline CitizenGO’s @CF_Farrow Caroline Farrow 🇬🇧 was arrested last week under false, unfounded and unwarranted accusations. She needs all of our support now, more than ever. #Liberty #UK #Justice, CitizenGO, Twitter, Oct 10, 2022
  15. State Farm Drops Support for LGBTQ Reading Program GenderCool, Bloomberg, May 24, 2022
  16. State Farm pushing Gender Ideology on 5-year-olds!, CitizenGo website, May 31, 2022
  17. Stop Woke Military From Banning "Cisgender Men" and Enforcing Gender Ideology!, CitizenGo, September 23, 2022
  18. Netflix: #StopIndoctrination, CitizenGo, August 17, 2022
  19. Disney: My family won’t watch your LGBTQ+ films, CitizenGo, June 30, 2022
  20. Stop Facebook from spying on Conservatives for the FBI!, CitizenGo, September 29, 2022
  21. Biden instructs ICE border control to perform abortions on immigrants! Sign to save these babies!, CitizenGo, July 19, 2022
  22. Biden administration looks to protect abortion rights of migrant minors following Dobbs ruling, CNN, July 21, 2022
  23. Special Report - Far right in Ireland: ‘Dark money’ and the price of democracy, Irish Examiner, June 10, 2019
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20200212174936/http://hazteoir.org/noticia/93168-over-3000-signatures-were-delivered-office-attorney-general-demanding-he-defends-life
  25. Odanga Madung et al. "Exporting Disinformation: How Foreign Groups Peddle Influence in Kenya through Twitter". Mozilla Foundation.
  26. Gualberto Garcia Jones launches a petition against "Onward" animated movie, Pink Triangle Trust
  27. Family Feud, Uncorked in Spain, New York Times, July 19, 2014