Brexit group Leave.EU apologise for meme branding Angela Merkel a ‘Kraut’
Brexit campaign group Leave.EU has apologised after branding Angela Merkel a “kraut” in a social media post that compared leaving the EU to World War II.
After initially defending the post, and publishing it on his own Twitter account, Brexit bankroller Arron Banks said it was "unauthorised" had gone "too far" and blamed his team for the image.
The group, which was fronted by Nigel Farage during the referendum campaign and is run by Banks has become notorious for posting offensive and distasteful content on its online platforms.
A Facebook post published by the group yesterday read: “We didn’t win two World Wars to be pushed around by a Kraut.”
The image featured a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
It came shortly after reports of a frosty phone call between Chancellor Merkel and Boris Johnson over Brexit.
The post went on: “Angela Merkel's demand that Britain leaves Northern Ireland to rot inside the Customs Union is reprehensible and shows the true colours of our supposed "European allies".
"Enough of this nonsense, we walk away as an independent, self-governing nation in three weeks' time!"
The group’s spokesman Andy Wigmore later tweeted: “We have removed the tweets from yesterday that were not appropriate, we went too far and we apologise.”
Banks this morning claimed the tweet was "unauthorised" and blamed his team for "going too far", despite posting it on his own Twitter account last night and defending it.
GMB host Piers Morgan criticised the image last night, saying: "This is horrible. You don't speak for Britain."
Banks branded Morgan a "Snowflake" over his comment.
Morgan replied: "Arron, you guys do yourselves no favours with xenophobic nonsense like this. Delete it."
Wigmore replied with an image of a 1996 Mirror front page, which was edited by Morgan at the time, about the Euro 96 football tournament, with the headline: "Achtung! Surrender!"
Wigmore wrote: "One of yours I believe @piersmorgan "
Morgan wrote: "Yes, that was 23yrs ago when Dad’s Army & ‘Allo ‘Allo were on TV. It was meant as a joke but people were rightly offended, and I apologised.
"Your meme isn’t meant as a joke, is grotesquely offensive, and makes you guys look like racist idiots. Is that the look you’re after?"
Banks said: "Listen very carefully I will say this only once – you should be outraged at the Germans trying to annex Northern Ireland!"
But this morning he appeared to have had a change of heart.
Banks tweeted: "This is the first time we have ever apologised and the tweet was unauthorised.
"I agree with the sentiment condemning the German demands to separate NI from the rest of the UK but we could have done a better job but it doesn’t detract from how outrageous the German position is!"
He added: "The team just went too far, the sentiment holds true that it is outrageous to say that British sovereign territory should be annexed."
The post was also criticised by Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice, who co-founded Leave.EU, said he was "appalled" by the "stupid and offensive" picture.
Last night, Wigmore replied to Tice's tweet saying: "Oh shut up @TiceRichard – you loved it, stop being so pompous…."
In response to a tweet saying there was "absolutely nothing wrong" with the image, Banks last night tweeted: "Quite right that’s the spirit!"
A further tweet branding it a "storm in a teacup" was also welcomed by Banks, who wrote: "Agreed . What a lot of nonsense!"
In April 2018, the group were forced to delete a post featuring a picture of London mayor Sadiq Khan branding the capital “Londonistan”.
The post featured a string of statistics to claim a drastic decline of Christianity and an increase in Islam in London. All of the statistics were false.
They posted a “corrected” version, with caveats attached to the statistics. All of the statistics in the “corrected” version were still false.
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