A Brexit campaigner is being slammed for a “vile” tweet about a 16-year-old climate change activist meeting a “freak yachting accident.”
Greta Thunberg has been at the forefront of creating awareness about climate change after her solo protest outside the Swedish Parliament in August 2018 led to millions of people in more than 120 countries joining a strike for climate-change-awareness in March this year.
On Wednesday, as she set on a zero-carbon two-week voyage across the Atlantic on board a solar-powered yacht on Wednesday, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted an image of the activist onboard the vessel to wish her good luck. Thunberg is sailing from the UK to attend UN climate summits in New York and Chile, according to the BBC.
Bon voyage to @GretaThunberg for her 2-week zero-carbon trip by sail across the North Atlantic She’s carrying the vital message to the UN that time is running out to address the #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/pBpEuq6X47— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) August 14, 2019
Thunberg, who is no stranger to online harassment and abuse by climate change deniers, became the target of a 'joke' from Arron Banks when the founder of the pro-Brexit ‘Leave.EU’ campaign group retweeted Lucas and wrote “freak yachting accidents do happen in August.”
But several Twitter users, including Lucas who reported him to Twitter, weren’t clearly impressed with Banks’ “veiled threat.”
grown man issuing veiled threats to a kid, this must be a very proud day for you— shauna (@goldengateblond) August 14, 2019
She’s a child, Arron. FFS.— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) August 14, 2019
Greta, 16, trying to save the world. JHB, 51, trying to make the world more bitter.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) August 14, 2019
Veiled death threats towards a 16-year-old. What a vile individual. I hope we see you in jail one of these days.— Laura 🔶 #Collaborator #FBPE #facciamorete (@smilinglaura) August 14, 2019
Do report his tweet. This one is seriously unacceptable.— S Kean #undesirable EU citizen (@Kean1S) August 14, 2019
In a series of tweets, Banks then sought to defend himself by claiming that he had just tried to crack a “joke” and admonishing “lefties” for not having a “sense of humour.”
Quite and one being used. Obviously I don’t hope she encounters a freak yachting accident! I just enjoy watching the ludicrous tweeter mob following the next outrage ... https://t.co/kYcKvePOrM— Arron Banks (@Arron_banks) August 14, 2019
He also alleged that the 16-year-old Swedish activist was being used for “political purposes.”
Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer also received severe backlash on Twitter after taking potshots at Thunberg, who chooses not to fly.