How Scotland’s controversial hate crime law triggered JK Rowling, Joe Rogan and Elon Musk – POLITICO – 24 Global News | Latest International Breaking News Today

How Scotland’s controversial hate crime law triggered JK Rowling, Joe Rogan and Elon Musk – POLITICO – Latest International Breaking News Today

“You see that wild shit in Scotland where they’re targeting comedians with hate crime laws?” Joe Rogan, the world’s most popular podcaster, asked his guests in a recent episode, as he seized on claims — swiftly denied by Police Scotland — that officers would be monitoring for hate speech “through public performance of a play.”

Musk approvingly shared a post from Malaysian right-wing influencer Ian Miles Cheong who claimed the law would see people who “show someone a spicy meme” on transgender people or “mass migration” locked up.

Closer to home, the footballer-turned pundit Ally McCoist railed against the legislation too —arguing he and 48,000 other fans would likely be breaching the law while watching his beloved Rangers take on arch-rivals Celtic this Sunday. Scottish football — and the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers in particular — has long been plagued by sectarian hatred, which the Scottish government has tried to combat with previous legislation.

U.K. Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rowed in behind Rowling this week, talking up Britain’s “proud tradition of free speech.” | Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

Always keen to try and give the SNP-Scottish government a bloody nose, U.K. Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rowed in behind Rowling this week, talking up Britain’s “proud tradition of free speech.” His Westminster government has long battled the Scottish administration over protections for transgender people.

‘Protecting people’

The law poses a real test for Scotland’s First Minister Yousaf, who served as justice secretary when it first passed in 2021 and now presides over its coming into force.

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Though a majority of lawmakers from all Holyrood parties except for the Scottish Conservatives backed the bill at the time, it had a rocky path to becoming law, and was amended in the process to toughen its freedom of speech provisions following a backlash.

-24 Global News | Latest International Breaking News Today
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