Canary Workers’ Co-op Canary Workers’ Co-op

Ash Sarkar shames the corporate media for endangering survivors of abuse to protect Boris Johnson

Ash Sarkar and Boris Johnson

Novara Media senior editor Ash Sarkar has brought shame on the corporate media and right-wing MPs for sidelining domestic violence to protect Boris Johnson’s reputation.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on 23 June, Sarkar called out the pundits who have been downplaying a woman shouting “get off me” late at night. That’s what Johnson’s neighbours reportedly heard when they called the police in the early hours of 21 June.

Still, hard-right figures like James Cleverly MP are painting the neighbours as politically motivated:

 

“Irresponsible” approach

On the BBC, Sarkar branded the narrative “incredibly irresponsible”. On 23 June, more of Johnson’s neighbours came forward, with one saying:

It was a proper tear-up. Glasses being smashed, screaming and a lot of arguing. I thought someone was being murdered.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) “two women are killed each week by a current or former partner” as a result of domestic violence. And the ONS has also reported:

In the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2.0 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.3 million women, 695,000 men).

Johnson, meanwhile, is somebody who once conspired to have a journalist’s ribs broken.

“The reason I feel so strongly about this”

Sarkar said:

I think that this coverage of the political views of the neighbours is actually weirdly Mcarthyite. This idea that because they voted Labour, because they were  pro-EU, because she gave the finger to Boris Johnson in the street, the way like 50% of Londerners I think would, that they shouldn’t be trusted and that their motivations for recording the row, the screaming, the smashing were malign.

And she then spoke of the consequences:

The reason I feel so strongly about this is that I think this has negative consequences beyond the Westminster pony show… Having a row in which you shout and you say things you don’t mean, that’s a normal part of relationships. Screaming ‘get off me’ at midnight, hearing thuds, hearing smashing… physical intimation is not a normal part of relationships… To see MPs and right-wing pundits just fall over themselves to normalise it, I think is incredibly irresponsible.

On social media, one barrister hammered the point home:

Suggesting people shouldn’t phone the police when they think they’ve heard domestic violence is dangerous. And male violence against women is an ongoing problem that we need to do more to tackle, not less. What’s concerning is Sarkar was a rare voice of sanity in the corporate media, while right-wingers rushed to protect Johnson – a frequent liar and cheat who apparently has no problem with violence. Utterly shameful.

Featured image via The Left Bible/ Twitter and Guardian News/ YouTube

We’re a thorn in the side of the establishment, but we can’t do it without your help

Your fight is our fight. But as many of you will know, speaking truth to power has never been easy, especially for a small, independent media outlet such as the Canary. We have weathered many attempts to silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media. Now more than ever, we need your support.

We don’t have fancy offices, and our entire staff works remotely. Almost all of our income is spent on paying the people who make the Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our team and enables us to continue to do what we do: disrupt power, and amplify people.

But we can’t do this without you. So please, if you appreciate our work, can you help us continue the fight?

Canary Workers’ Co-op Support us