United Kingdom

Guardian disowns writer who trolled Duke of Edinburgh

As people across the world grieved for Prince Philip yesterday, social media trolls – including a one-time Guardian journalist – instead took the opportunity to spread vile messages of spite.

In response to the official Palace announcement that the Duke had ‘passed away peacefully’, writer Karen Geier, who proudly boasts of her work for the Left-wing newspaper on her Twitter biography, sneered: ‘Deeply saddened to hear it was peaceful. He deserved so much more (pain).’

The tweet went viral, and last night had attracted almost 17,000 ‘likes’ and 2,300 retweets.

Guardian writer Karen Geier, pictured, was widely criticised on Twitter after she was saddened to hear that the Duke of Edinburgh 'had died peacefully' telling critics they should get a life.

Laurence Fox, pictured, said: ‘It’s so hard not to despise these people and their visceral hatred of the nation which provides them the comfort to spit their bile. I’m so grateful I don’t have to spend more than a passing moment in your thoughts'

Despite provoking a storm of outrage, the Canadian-based journalist, who describes herself as a ‘content strategist’, made no apology for her post and told her critics to ‘get lives’.

Laurence Fox, the actor-turned-activist who is running for London Mayor under the banner of the Reclaim Party, responded: ‘It’s so hard not to despise these people and their visceral hatred of the nation which provides them the comfort to spit their bile. I’m so grateful I don’t have to spend more than a passing moment in your thoughts.’

The Guardian was quick to distance itself from Ms Geier, who puts the newspaper near the top of her list of achievements on her website.

A spokesman said: ‘Karen Geier is not a Guardian writer – she wrote one article for us five years ago. Her views do not reflect the views of The Guardian.’

She was not the only social media user criticised for their response to the Duke’s death.

The West Berkshire Local Government branch of public sector union Unison appeared to describe the Duke as a ‘bigot’, tweeting minutes after the official announcement: ‘Quick grammatical tip – correct usage is “one fewer bigot” and not “one less bigot.” ’ Unison’s national leaders tried to quell the storm, tweeting from the official account: ‘The comments from West Berks branch account do not represent the views of the union. Our sympathies are with the Queen and her family at this difficult time. We are seeking to get the comments removed as soon as possible.’ However, last night the tweet remained on the site.

Rivkah Brown, editor of Jewish media platform Vashti, wrote in response to a tribute by the Board of Deputies of British Jews: ‘He was a racist, ya idiots.’

It prompted Lord Austin, the former Labour MP who quit the party over antisemitism, to write: ‘Wait till the silly little child hears about the people he fought against in the war.’ In another tweet, responding to the Jewish Leadership Council’s tribute, Ms Brown wrote: ‘He devoted his long life to being a racist.’

Away from Twitter, one Labour Party worker had to apologise for describing the tributes to Prince Philip planned in Parliament tomorrow using a vulgar sexual term for a self-congratulatory exercise.

Gen McMahon, office manager for Bedford MP Mohammad Yasin, reportedly replied: ‘It’s going to be intolerable’, before being reminded that the group of Labour office managers had a wide readership.

In a statement, Ms McGovern said: ‘As soon as I was alerted to the message I asked the team member to apologise, which he immediately did.’

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