Stop Funding Hate (SFH) is a political group whose aim is to stop companies from advertising in various British newspapers. The newspapers SFH has in mind are the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express. These newspapers have been read by dozens of millions of people over a period of more than a hundred years.
Stop Funding Hate claims that these newspapers use "fear and division to sell more papers". That fear and division is caused (according to SFH) when the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express refer to the European Union, mass immigration, EU laws (which apply in the UK), Islamic extremism, Muslim grooming-gangs, immigrant criminality, Muslim ghettos, sharia law (in the UK), and so on.
The very odd thing about Stop Funding Hate that it claims to be “non-partisan”. This claim shows either monumental philosophical naivety or straightforward political deceit.
In Stop Funding Hate's own words:
“The Daily Mail, Sun and Express are using hate to sell newspapers. And hate crime in Britain is rising. But there’s a simple way to stop this: persuade advertisers to pull their ads in the papers. Companies need to stop funding hate and we need to raise our voices to let them know. You help us do this by supporting the campaign today.”
When the Stop Funding Hate mentions the “hate” of these very-popular British newspapers it hardly ever analyses why, exactly, it is that the content of the relevant articles is false or even misleading. The bottom line is, then, that the very mentioning of, for example, immigrants, Muslim grooming-gangs or even Islamic terrorism (in any negative way whatsoever) must be hateful. In other words, SFH doesn't argue against the facts. It argues against the very stating of the facts. In parallel, SFH also argues against those political positions which are often backed up by those facts.
Presumably, if Stop Funding Hate's campaign were successful, then the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express would stop publishing (at least according to the Guardian). After all, it would be very difficult (or even impossible) for these newspapers to survive without advertisements; as the leftwing Independent, Guardian and Mirror also show.
Freedom of Choice?
Predictably, Stop Funding Hate has stated that it
"fully support freedom of choice & are not calling for any publication to be removed from sale".
That's the equivalent to stating the following:
Stop Funding Hate believes in the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech... but...
In any case, how could Stop Funding Hate literally bring it about that these “publications” be “removed from sale”? In would need a government led by someone like Jeremy Corbyn to achieve something like that.
Thus it's hardly surprising that the Daily Mail has responded by saying that SFH is
"a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media".
Of course it's not the case that every supporter of Stop Funding Hate is a “Corbynist individual”. (That's probably also true of groups like Momentum and Hope Not Hate.) However, the founders, leaders and main activists in these groups will nearly all be militant leftwingers of various descriptions. It is these people - not the supporters - who'll call the shots and provide the ideological/political theories which sustain Stop Funding Hate's work and activities. (As is also the case with Momentum and Hope Not Hate.)
Stop Funding Hate's History
Stop Funding Hate was set up in August 2016 by Richard Wilson. Before that, Wilson was a Corporate Fundraising Officer at Amnesty International.
Stop Funding Hate began as a political reaction to the in-out European Union campaign. In other words, that referendum set the whole SFH show off. More specifically, SFH reacted strongly to the Daily Mail's coverage of the high court's ruling (in November 2016) on Brexit. It used that ruling as a reason to harass those advertisers who advertised in the Daily Mail. (It used the hashtag “#StopFundingHate” to do so.)
To put it simply, Stop Funding Hate believes that Brexit itself is “hateful”. Of course, since Richard Wilson is corporate man, he (or SFH) would never put it that honestly or clearly.
It's also odd that Stop Funding Hate claims to be non-partisan when it has an explicitly political take on Brexit. Then again, Richard Wilson was a vocal Remainer before he created SFH. Indeed (as stated) he set up Stop Funding Hate precisely because of the Brexit campaign.
So who funds Stop Funding Hate? The organisation itself claims to raise its money through crowdfunding. Indeed, in February 2017, it managed to raise £102,721 through such a method. However, it's almost certainly the case that SFH will receive funding from sources which aren't directly related to crowdfunding.
So what or who are those alternative sources of funding for Stop Funding Hate?
Do rival newspapers fund SFH (such as the Guardian, the Mirror and the Independent)? What about Soros-funded political groups or individuals? What about the Labour Party, the EU, pro-EU groups or Muslim states/individuals? (That funding may not – or won't - be explicit or direct, of course.)
Stop Funding Hate's Advertising Targets
One thing that's worth mentioning here is that it's not the case that Stop Funding Hate only has it in for the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express: it also has it in for the companies which advertise in these newspapers.
At first those companies included Asda, Aldi, Barclays, Co-op UK, Gillette, Iceland, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Lego, British Airways, Virgin Media and Waitrose.
A little later, Stop Funding Hated started to harass BT Mobile, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile UK, EE Limited, O2 and Tesco Mobile. This militant group used the corporate soundbite "Start Spreading Love" in its campaign against these companies.
In terms of detail, Virgin Media was the first company which Stop Funding Hate targeted. Why did it choose Virgin Media? It did so because SFH believed that it had spotted a political/ideological fellow traveller. Indeed SFH said the values of Virgin Media are "totally at odds with the Sun’s track record of misleading reporting".
After that, Stop Funding Hate released an advert (in the style of John Lewis's Christmas adverts) which called on the John Lewis department store to stop advertising in certain British newspapers.
Some of Stop Funding Hate's campaigns have been successful.
In September 2016, for example, Specsavers withdrew an advert from the Daily Express after Stop Funding Hate complained that it was funding "fear and division".
In November 2016, Lego, too, said that that it wouldn't advertise in the Daily Mail any more. In fact it stated that it wasn't "planning any future promotional activity with the newspaper". This made Lego the first company to end its advertising because of Stop Funding Hate's political activism.
Then the internet service provider Plusnet withdrew adverts from the Sun. Following that, in response to SFH's political activism, the Body Shop announced they had no future plans to advertise in the Daily Mail. Then in November 2017, Paperchase also stated that it would stop advertising in the Daily Mail. It also said that it “Won't ever do it again”!
Stop Funding Hate also targeted The Co-operative Group. This led to its chief executive, Richard Pennycook, saying (in 2016) that the the group would be "looking at our advertising for next year”.
However, in a 2017 update, the President of the National Members’ Council, Nick Crofts, stated:
"Many people buy these papers at the Co-op and some of them will be our members. Advertising in these papers also drives sales which are important to our businesses.”
Stop Funding Hate Spreads the Net
Stop Funding Hate never explicitly states that it wants the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sun to shut down - for good! (Though it might have done so in its early days.) Instead it states this implicitly. After all, to explicitly state that you want newspapers (which have been read by dozens of millions of people for over ten decades) to stop publishing is to demand too much. Such political honesty would quite simply backfire.
This means that Stop Funding Hate claims that its campaign is all about stopping advertisers advertising in these newspapers; as well as about “the rights of consumers” to express their political views. (Though only when those political views harmonise with those of SFH.)
You see, the net of Stop Funding Hate is being spread much wider than many people may imagine. For example, let's say that the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express were silenced as a result of SFH's actions. Do you really believe that the SFH campaign would suddenly stop - then and there? Of course it wouldn't! SFH would then immediately get to work on the Spectator, the Telegraph and other right-wing outlets. This may of course be done under another name. However, it'll still be done by the very same leftwing political activists.
As it is, Stop Funding Hate doesn't also need to concentrate on right-wing parties, groups and individuals. That's because other leftwing groups are doing that job. (For example, the similarly named Hope Not Hate.)
So what we have here are legions of unelected leftwing activists attempting to silence literally every right-wing newspaper, group and individual. Yes, so much for that shopworn and phony separation of what's now often called “democratic socialism” from Stalinism.