“”It's muslims attacking me!
|—Tommy Robinson in a nutshell|
|Frogs, clowns, and swastikas|
|Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time|
|Buzzwords and dogwhistles|
Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon (1982–), better known as Tommy Robinson (main pseudonym), Paul Harris, or Stephen Lennon, is a far-right media personality known for hating and opposing Muslims; he is also former member of the far-right British
NaziNational Party (BNP) and the founder and former leader of the anti-Muslim far-right English Defence League (EDL), a group he has since left. He is also the founder of the far-right, anti-Muslim Pegida UK. He has since emerged as an anti-Muslim far-right pundit, allegedly working for far-right outlet Rebel Media, mostly focusing on anti-EU sentiment and anti-Muslim bigotry. You get the idea, dude is a tad obsessed with Muslims and far right politics.
For some time he operated under the pseudonym "Tommy Robinson". However, in June 2010, the antifascist magazine Searchlight of Hope not Hate claimed that his real name was Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and that he had been a member of the BNP. A couple of months later, the EDL, in a (now-removed) report on the group's official website, declared that his name was, in fact, "Paul Harris":
Contrary to the left-wing effluent that spews from the unpatriotic Anti-English, Anti-Democratic, Anti-Jew and Islamist loving ranks of the unwashed who seem to think they have 'exposed' Tommy we again laugh at their feeble attempts to cause him harm. In fact all they have done is actually put some poor innocent peoples lives at risk and for what? For the sake of their own egos? For the sake of the Islamists we protest against?
As the loony left celebrate we cant help but extinguish their party bonfire with this 'FACTUAL' information… The minds of the 'far left' are incredibly warped, so much so they care not for the safety of innocent peoples, nor do they care how idiotic they expose themselves to be. Still if they had a brain between them they could be dangerous, lets thank God for small blessings eh? At least Tommy, or should i say 'Paul Harris' has done the right thing and publicly admitted who he actually is, lets hope that is enough to save innocents from getting hurt.
Another website critical of the EDL, One Million United, examined the claims and concluded that his name was indeed Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, not Paul Harris. Lennon has since begun publicly identifying himself as Stephen Lennon and was indeed revealed to be named Stephen Yaxley-Lennon in 2017 court proceedings.
The above comments from the EDL website became incredibly ironic in October 2013, when Lennon went on a curious stalking session against Garry Moon, owner of the anti-EDL website EDLNews. Lennon looked up Moon in a telephone directory and found details about a completely different person who also happened to be named Garry Moon and proceeded to post pictures of this individual's home on Twitter.
Chronology of activities (by year and month)
Was eating in town and 2 muslims started telling me I'll get knocked out, went outside they followed me did I get knocked out? #didifuck
April: Conviction for assaulting an off-duty police officer
Robinson told a BBC film crew that he lived in a part of Luton where Islamic fanatics lived and that he feared for his safety. The reality is somewhat different as he lives in Wilstead, a relatively leafy village on the outskirts of Bedford.
According to Searchlight magazine, Lennon was convicted in April 2005 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Lennon had assaulted an off-duty police officer who had intervened to stop a confrontation between Lennon and his partner Jenna Vowles, another BNP member, who was cautioned for possession of cocaine.
June: Arrest for brawling
In June 2011, he was arrested in connection with a brawl at an EDL demonstration. "Due to the ongoing harassment by the Police forces of the UK I have decided that as from this point in time there will no longer be any Police Liaison with any Police force at all levels, Division, Regional or National," he said.
July: Arrest for brawling
The following month he was sentenced to twelve months of "community rehabilitation" for his front-line role in a fight between rival football hooligans, to which he responded that the country is a "police state."
May: Sexual harassment of a minor
In May 2012, then 29-year-old Lennon took the time to sexually harass a 15-year-old on Twitter, with the knowledge that she was a minor:
October: Arrest for false passport
Being politically incorrect in Britain now means having your door kicked in by the Gestapo.
This is a defining moment in British history, as significant as any major turning point. It is in many respects like the Night of the Long Knives, which marked the point of no return from Nazism for Germany.
On 20 October 2012, Lennon was arrested on suspicion of possessing a false passport (under the name "Andrew McMaster"), and, after spending Christmas in jail, was found guilty in January 2013. He was released from prison the following February, under bail conditions that kept him away from the EDL.
November: Arrest for mortgage fraud
In November 2013, he was convicted of mortgage fraud and sentenced in January 2014 to 18 months imprisonment. He had conspired with a crooked mortgage broker, Deborah Rothschild, and others, to obtain mortgages under false pretences. Robinson obtained £160,000 over a period of 6 months; Rothschild helped her co-conspirators obtain a total of £640,000 and she was also jailed for 18 months. He was released on parole in June 2014, again with conditions barring him from contact with the EDL. Much of his sentence was spent in solitary confinement for his own protection.
October: Departure from the EDL
In October 2013, Lennon announced that he was leaving the EDL:
I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic idea. I believe that the revolution needs to come from within the Islamic community and they need to stand up.
February: Pegida UK
[Question:] Hey Tommy, how is the Pegida March going to be different from the drunken EDL mobs you led?
[Answer:] the banners will say Pegida instead of EDL
Lennon, while meeting with Pegida and other groups in the Czech Republic, told reporters that a serious Pegida movement would begin in the UK with him largely involved that would be more than the existing small British Pegida groups. Lennon stated that the group would have far less drinking and fighting with the far left than the EDL. Lennon did indeed speak at Pegida rallies in the UK.
On 13 February, Lennon was found unconscious outside Club 195, a nightclub, and was hospitalized. It's not clear who caused the fight or what occurred. Some have claimed that this attack is related to an 11 February interview where Lennon claimed that he believed he would eventually be "killed" with IEDs or guns by "Islamists"; however, there is no evidence to support this. One club employee claimed that Lennon was part of a fight that began in the bathrooms:
From what I gather there was an altercation with someone in the club's toilets. I then saw two people dragged out the club by the bouncers, with Tommy following behind. I believe there were then some fights going on outside but I don't know who was involved. Next thing I saw was someone taking out a first-aid kit.
A spokesperson for Essex police stated:
Police were contacted by the ambulance service at 2.25am on Sunday February 14 with reports a man had been found injured in High Street, Epping. The man from Bedford is believed to have been assaulted in Cottis Lane. He was taken to hospital with a head injury and later discharged following treatment. His injury was not serious.
Lennon declined to pursue the matter with police.
May: Arrest for contempt of court
[Y]ou should be under no illusions that if you commit any further offence of any kind, and that would include, I would have thought, a further contempt of court by similar actions, then that sentence of three months would be activated, and that would be on top of anything else that you were given by any other court.
Lennon was arrested for "trying to film Muslims" during court proceedings on an alleged child grooming case, despite notices that doing so was illegal posted on the building. His sentence was suspended for 18 months (ie, it would only apply if he broke this law again). He did, as documented in the May 2018 section of this article.
The Judge, at length, explained why this is not a free speech issue:
This contempt hearing is not about free speech. This is not about freedom of the press. This is not about legitimate journalism; this is not about political correctness; this is not about whether one political viewpoint is right or another. It is about justice, and it is about ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly. It is about ensuring that a jury are not in any way inhibited from carrying out their important function. It is about being innocent until proven guilty. It is not about people prejudging a situation and going round to that court and publishing material, whether in print or online, referring to defendants as "Muslim paedophile rapists". A legitimate journalist would not be able to do that and under the strict liability rule there would be no defence to publication in those terms. It is pejorative language which prejudges the case, and it is language and reporting – if reporting indeed is what it is – that could have had the effect of substantially derailing the trial. As I have already indicated, because of what I knew was going on I had to take avoiding action to make sure that the integrity of this trial was preserved, that justice was preserved and that the trial could continue to completion without people being intimidated into reaching conclusions about it, or into being affected by "irresponsible and inaccurate reporting". If something of the nature of that which you put out on social media had been put into the mainstream press I would have been faced with applications from the defence advocates concerned, I have no doubt, to either say something specific to the jury, or worse, to abandon the trial and to start again. That is the kind of thing that actions such as these can and do have, and that is why you have been dealt with in the way in which you have and why I am dealing with this case with the seriousness which I am.
February: Radicalization of the Finsbury Park terrorist
Prosecutors and the former head of national counter-terror policing claimed that Lennon's online posts (among other far-right material that he consumed) had radicalised Darren Osborne, who plotted to ram a van into a Palestinian march. Osborne crashed his car into a crowd of Muslims leaving a mosque around midnight, killing 1 and injuring several. Former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Mark Rowley stated:
He had grown to hate Muslims largely due to his consumption of large amounts of online far-right material including, as evidenced at court, statements from former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, Britain First, and others. Osborne had a 'dysfunctional' background and a history of alcohol and drug abuse and violence. There can be no doubt that the extremist rhetoric he consumed fed into his vulnerabilities and turned it into violence.
March: Brawling while allegedly working for Rebel Media
In March 2018, Lennon continued to get himself into bother, while allegedly working as a journalist for Canadian far-right outlet Rebel Media. His placement with Rebel was funded by American machine-vision billionaire Robert J. Shillman, who contributed to his salary of around £ 5000 per month. In Rome on a journalistic assignment to investigate migrants being evil, he punched a migrant in the face; Robinson claimed he was defending his camera crew against the migrants. He also posted footage on YouTube of what he claimed was footage of himself being set upon by a violent gang of Antifa protestors outside a London branch of fast food chain McDonalds.
March: Banned from Twitter
May: "Free speech" rally in London with hooligans
On 6 May 2018, he organised a rally of 2000-3000 people in Whitehall in central London ostensibly devoted to "free speech", with support from far-right football hooligan group the Democratic Football Lads Alliance. Speakers included American alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, UKIP leader Gerard Batten, British anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters, and YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad.
May: Arrest for contempt of court
This is not a free speech issue - it is ultimately a matter of ensuring due process and a fair trial (a cornerstone of Western civilisation that "Robinson" and his supporters apparently support).
i'll give my best guess: he saw all that money dankula raised & decided to intentionally breach the terms of his suspended sentence so he'd get himself arrested, on purpose
In May 2018, Lennon was arrested for breaking contempt of court with a Facebook livestream of a "child grooming gang" case at Leeds Crown Court. The case that Lennon livestreamed had had a reporting restriction, which made his actions illegal. In addition, Lennon had been sentenced in May 2017 with contempt of court for reporting on another "child grooming gang" case in Canterbury, despite notices that doing so was illegal posted on the building; his sentence was suspended for 18 months (ie, it would only apply if he broke this law again, which he did). Lennon acknowledged these facts during the livestream:
There is a reporting restriction on this case. I have to be super careful, you see, because when I was coming to these court cases, part of what the police did was they dawn raided me and they put me on a contempt of court charge, which would mean that I could face prison.
At his sentencing, Lennon admitted that his livestream could have stopped the trial of alleged groomers (which would have prevented any justice for the victims) and that he breached his suspended sentence. Lennon was sentenced to 13 months of jail time, 10 months for this contempt of court case and 3 months for breaking his suspended sentence.
Nazir Afzal, who has prosecuted other "grooming gang" (informally organised child rape-rings) cases, explained that Lennon's arrest was intended to ensure that the jury was unbiased, which would prevent the alleged child groomers from claiming a mistrial:
[A]ctions like his can lead to alleged criminals walking free by prejudicing a jury so that there can’t be a fair trial[.] We nearly lost the so-called Rochdale grooming case (#ThreeGirls) cos of a far right communication[.] Their lawyers applied at their trial that the jury had been prejudiced by Far Right[.] We had to fight to persuade Court to allow trial to continue[.] Those criminals came close to being freed & victims close to getting NO justice[.] Jury must decide on EVIDENCE, not on your OPINION[.] During Rochdale grooming trial (#ThreeGirls) there was intel Far Right & 1 of Accused were engaged in joint strategy to force trial to be aborted[.] Deft hoped we couldn't get victims to give evid[ence] at retrial[.] Far Right hoped [that] No trial would lead to riots[.] [The o]nly losers would be victims!
On 2 August 2018, in an appeal hearing, Robinson's sentence was overturned and he was bailed from prison. In a twenty-four-page judgement, the Lord Chief Justice, sitting in the Court of Appeal, highlighted a number of substantive flaws in the handling of the latest contempt case by the trial judge at Leeds and ordered that the case be re-heard before a different judge.
The judge at Leeds had imposed a reporting restriction on Lennon's case over fears it could affect the "child grooming gang" trial; however, the order was lifted after The Independent and Leeds Live pressured the court. But by the time all the reporting restrictions were lifted, Robinson's supporters filled the internet with what were at the time characterised as conspiracy theories claiming this was an unprecedented attack on freedom of speech and a highly irregular legal procedure.
Tommy Robinson was imprisoned in HMP Hull. Some Tommy Robinson supporters have claimed that he was relocated to HMP Leicester, which is claimed by Alex Jones to have 71% Muslim inmates (as opposed to 2% for HMP Hull). Neither of these claims is true; according to his lawyer, Robinson is still imprisoned in HMP Hull; HMP Hull is 7% Muslim; and HMP Leicester is 14% Muslim.
Further rallies followed in support of Robinson, including in London on 9 June and 14 July 2018. Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum, an American Anti-Islamic group whom the SPLC has accused of "fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment", claimed to have funded both marches and contributed to Robinson's legal fees. Paul Gosar, a member of the US House of Representatives, spoke at the 14 July rally in support of Robinson, despite Robinson's lack of connections to the US. Since his jailing he has also received backing from American wingnut Congress critter turned diplomat Sam Brownback, right-wing media figure Steve Bannon, and presidential spawn Donald Trump Jr.
March: Intimidation of critics
In March 2019 11pm, Lennon arrived at the home of Mike Stuchbery, a journalist critical of Lennon. Lennon likely had accomplices, although he denies this. He violently banged on the doors/windows of the property until he presumably got bored and left. At 5am, Lennon turned up again and repeated the action.
May: European parliamentary candidate (failing)
He stood as an independent candidate for the European Parliament in May 2019 but received only 2.2% of votes in the North West England region, failing by a considerable margin to be elected. His campaign has been characterised by hostile behaviour towards people opposed to Lennon's speech. As a result, two anti-racism demonstrators were sent to the hospital. One of them has been assaulted by Lennon's campaign organiser, which led to the case being investigated by the police.
July: Retrial for contempt of court
Following his appeal over the contempt of court conviction in 2018, he was retried and convicted in July 2019, being sentenced to 9 months in prison (although the amount of time already served will be subtracted). Prior to sentencing, he attempted to claim asylum from Donald Trump, but Trump didn't seem convinced and we were spared a replay of Julian Assange hiding in an embassy for several years; claiming asylum would also prevent him from returning to the UK in future, which would interfere with his main hobby of shouting at British Muslims. He also reportedly sought the help of Ted Cruz in moving to the USA, with Cruz's friend the businessman Terry Giles involved in connecting Robinson's supporters to Cruz; however nothing came of this. On 11 July he was off to jail again.
March: Arrest for assault
Lennon was charged with assault after punching a man in the face following an altercation in the swimming pool at Woburn Forest Centre Parcs. He received a sentence of 300 hours of community service for the offence in November 2020.
In January 2021, he found new targets, Independent newspaper home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden and her boyfriend; she was investigating allegations that he had misused money from his supporters. He was arrested on 17 January after he and an accomplice went to the couple's home and tried to gain entry to their house; on being refused entry, Robinson sat outside in his car, tooted the horn repeatedly, and shouted (falsely) "There’s a paedophile living in this building." In March 2021, an English court issued an order under anti-stalking legislation preventing him from threatening or having anything to do with them, pending a full trial.
In July 2021, he lost a libel case bought by schoolboy Jamal Hijazi who, in 2018, was filmed being attacked by another pupil at his school and was then accused by Robinson of being a violent aggressor. Robinson lost the case and declared bankruptcy to avoid paying damages of £100,000, legal costs, and other debts of up to £2,000,000. There was widespread suspicion that he had lied to declare bankruptcy and clear his debts, and he actually had millions of pounds of assets hidden away which he would be able to enjoy once the bankruptcy period was complete and the debt was discharged; Hope not Hate declared they would try to track down his missing wealth.
Banned from Facebook and Instagram
In February 2019, Yaxley-Lennon was permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly breaking its policies on hate speech. Not surprisingly, this was followed by comparisons to Nazi Germany and Orwell's 1984 by his faithful supporters.
Lauded by fellow wingnuts as the 2019 champion of free speech
In a case at least similar to, if not an outright example of, wingnut welfare, Robinson/Yaxley-Lennon was given the 2019 annual award as a champion of free speech working for ”a free and open English society“ (no, not The Onion) by Trykkefrihedsselskabet, a society of fellow wingnuts and Islamophobes. Considering the awardee and the company, the various speeches were of course awash with various veins of conspiracy theories, red baiting and persecution complexes.
He's British, isn't he?
Although Yaxley-Lennon was born in Luton, and is clearly a British national under the Nationality Act 1981. He is open about the fact he is the son of Irish immigrants ,as he said in a radio interview back in 2010, and thus under Ireland's liberal citizenship laws, he is able to get an Irish passport.
- Was a Far-Right Activist Jailed for Breaching a Court Order Designed to ‘Protect Muslim Pedophiles’?
- What on earth happened to poor Tommy Robinson? 10 Things You Should Know. by The Secret Barrister.
- File:Tommy Robinson Twitter Profile 2012.png
- The BNP past of the EDL leader, Searchlight, via HOPE not Hate
- web.archive link, archive.is link) , EDL (
- Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
- Tommy Robinson arrested after 'trying to film Muslims' outside court, The Independent
- REGINA -v- STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON
- Tommy Robinson Accused Of 'Stalkerish And Bizarre' Behaviour By Anti-EDL Campaign Group, HuffingtonPost
- EDL leader is ex-BNP thug, LeftFootForward
- EDL leader Stephen Lennon faces Blackburn assault charge, BBC
- Screenshot of Facebook message
- English Defence League founder convicted of leading street brawl
- EDL Leader Tommy Robinson Outed as Child Sex Pest, Loonwatch
- EDL Leader Lennon Jailed For Passport Offence
- EDL Leader Stephen Lennon, AKA Tommy Robinson, Jailed For 10 Months For False Passport, Huffington Post
- English Defence League has few supporters left, New Europe
- EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon admits mortgage fraud, BBC, 26 Nov 2013
- EDL founder Tommy Robinson jailed for mortgage fraud, The Guardian/PA, 23 Jan 2014
- Tommy Robinson, former EDL leader, jailed for fraud, BBC, 23 Jan 2014
- 'The guards don't run the prison, Islam does': my interview with a 'reformed' Tommy Robinson, The Telegraph
- EDL leader Tommy Robinson quits group, BBC
- Midlands Anti-Fascist Network
- Across Europe with Tommy Robinson: inside the new wave of anti-immigration protest coming soon to Britain, The Telegraph
- Pegida UK: Tommy Robinson's anti-Islam street movement
- Tommy Robinson: Ex-EDL leader in hospital after attack outside Essex nightclub, IBTimes
- Tommy Robinson Hospitalised After Being Attacked Outside Essex Nightclub, Days After Pegida Rally
- Tommy Robinson: Ex-EDL leader drops Essex assault complaint after branding police 'a waste of time', IBTimes
- What on earth happened to poor Tommy Robinson? 10 Things You Should Know., The Secret Barrister
- Finsbury Park attacker turned violent by far-right posts from Tommy Robinson and Britain First, police say, The Independent
- Tommy Robinson releases video of himself fighting with masked men outside McDonald's, The Independent, 11 March 2018
- Revealed: the hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson, The Guardian, 7 Dec 2018
- EDL founder Tommy Robinson filmed punching 'migrant' in the face before claiming it was 'act of self-defence', MSN.com/The Mirror, 12 March 2018
- Tommy Robinson banned from Twitter. BBC News.
- Analysis: Tommy Robinson’s ‘Day for Freedom’ – a new turning point for fascism and the far right, Martin Smith and Tash Shifrin, Searchlight, 13 June 2018, (reprinted from Dream Deferred, 10 June 2018)
- Thousands march in 'free speech' protest led by rightwing figures, The Guardian, 6 May 2018
- Tommy Robinson jailed after breaking contempt of court laws with Facebook Live video, The Independent
- Tommy Robinson PROOF, Facebook
- Why Tommy Robinson was jailed - and why we couldn't report it until now, Leeds Live
- Ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson jailed at Leeds court, BBC
- R v Yaxley-Lennon – Court of Appeal judgement 01/08/2018
- Paul Joseph Watson, Caolan Robertson, et al blatantly lie about Tommy Robinson's supposed new jail
- No, Tommy Robinson hasn't been moved to a 71% Muslim prison, The Mirror
- This hardline US conservative think tank says it’s funding Tommy Robinson rallies in the UK, The i (UK), 14 July 2018
- A jailed UK far-right activist has gained some big-name US supporters, CNN, July 26, 2018
- Twitter thread from Mike Stuchbery detailng threatening behaviour from Lennon
- Article from Hope not Hate, alleging threatening behaviour from Lennon
- Tommy Robinson met with laughter as he fails to win EU parliament seat and loses £5,000 deposit, The Independent, 27 May 2019
- Tommy Robinson asked wealthy US backers to help him claim asylum, The Guardian, 12 April 2021
- Tommy Robinson given a nine-month jail sentence for contempt of court, Ben Quinn, The Guardian, 11 July 2019
- Tommy Robinson charged with Center Parcs swimming pool assault, 3 March 2020
- Tommy Robinson given stalking ban after threats to journalist, The Guardian, 19 March 2021
- Tommy Robinson loses libel case brought by Syrian schoolboy, The Guardian, 22 July 2021
- Tommy Robinson pursued for estimated £2m debt after bankruptcy claim, The Guardian, 20 Jan 2022
- Tommy Robinson banned from Facebook and Instagram. The Guardian, 26 February 2019.
- Aia Fog's speech at the 2019 Sappho Award to Tommy Robinson, Saturday, January 18, 2020, January 19, 2020
- Tommy Robinson accepts free speech award: This is my opportunity to disgrace the media, from the society’s website, January 19, 2020