Anti-Brexit campaigner and political activist Gina Miller says the fundraising page which tried to raise funds to kill her “should concern us all”.
Updated 2 September 2020: Gina Miller is calling for fundraising platforms to face tighter regulation after a “Kill Gina Miller” crowdfunder was left live on GoFundMe for five months last year.
The page, which sought £10,000 to hire a hitman to kill the campaigner and activist, was only removed after it was reported to the police in October. But despite the fact that the page remained unnoticed for so long, GoFundMe have not faced any kind of penalty for the incident.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Miller said she felt “chills down my spine” when she first saw the page. In a statement, she added: “The fact that GoFundMe allowed this page to be set up and remain active and accept donations for such a long time should concern us all.”
Since the page was removed, Miller has urged ministers to bring forward the Online Harms Bill – a piece of legislation designed to hold online platforms to account if they fail to tackle harmful content online. But in June, it was revealed that bill could be delayed until 2024.
“This has to be taken very seriously,” Miller added. “Crime is moving online – from money launder and trafficking to threats of violence or abuse. It’s like cowboy-land and nobody is policing. If crime has moved online, regulation and policing needs to move online too.”
In a statement also issued to HuffPost UK, a GoFundMe spokesperson said that the platform has apologised to Miller and issued “even more rigorous protocols” since the incident.
Although the page did not succeed in raising any money before it was taken down, it’s still a powerful reminder of the kind of threats women in the public eye face on a day-to-day basis.
As reported on 29 October 2019: UK police have launched an investigation into a crowdfunding page that advocated for the killing of anti-Brexit campaigner and activist Gina Miller.
The crowdfunder, which had been on the GoFundMe website since April, was seeking £10,000 to hire a hitman to kill Miller, but was only reported to police on 23 October.
Responding to the crowdfunder on Twitter, Miller shared her desire for the country to “remember true British values”.
“We need to heal our nation,” she writes, “and my view is that the only way of doing that is to remember true British values of tolerance, decency, reason, civic duty, common-sense and above all else honesty and kindness.”
Gina Miller first stepped into the political spotlight in 2016, when she launched a campaign to challenge the government’s position on Article 50. Her campaign eventually led the government to give MPs a vote on invoking Article 50 – and has made her the target for many hardcore Brexiteers.
And in September, she won a landmark Supreme Court case which established that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was, in fact, illegal – which led to parliamentary proceedings being re-established.
This is not the first time Gina Miller has been the target of violent threats online: Miller has previously spoken about being subjected to rape and death threats after she successfully lead the campaign to demand that parliament had a say on when to invoke Article 50.
In the same month as the verdict, police reported that the Metropolitan Police had issued eight “cease and desist” notices to people who had sent the activist threatening messages.
Rhodri Phillips, the fourth Viscount St Davids, was also jailed for 12 weeks back in 2017 for directing “extreme racial abuse” at Miller and offering money to anyone who would run over and kill her.
Speaking to Stylist earlier this year, Miller also explained how the numerous death threats she had received continue to affect her.
“I’m scared of never seeing my children and husband again,” she said. “When I get death threats, which is often, this thought alone often reduces me to tears.”
Miller added that her greatest fear, right now, is “that the strides we have made to become a more tolerant, equal and fair society will be rolled back in the wake of Brexit, and that my children and future generations will have to worry about who they are, the colour of their skin and how they are treated”.
However, she went on to note that her faith in humanity, and her abilities. has helped her to achieve great things. Citing the Supreme Court case, which saw her challenging the government’s authority to trigger article 50, as an example, Miller noted: “When others fell due to the febrile environment and abuse, I thought, ‘Well, of course it was going to be me’.
“I’m tough enough to withstand whatever is going to be thrown at me.”