Sadiq Khan has had to deal with death threats and racial abuses since being elected as Mayor of London in 2016.
As part of his speech at the South by Southwest Conference in Texas, the Labour politician said he has been called a “gay muzzie terrorist” and even threatened with death. Khan has also received messages saying he “looks like a pigeon” or a “s*** stunt double for Jose Mourinho.”
“I say kill the mayor of London and you’ll be rid of one Muslim terrorist,” Khan read aloud. “I’d pay for someone to execute Sadiq Khan.”
“I could go on and on, but I won’t,” said Khan after reading out the abuses. “I don’t read these out to be portrayed as a victim, or to ask for sympathy. But ask yourself this – what happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines – or experience it themselves?
“Or someone thinking about becoming a politician? And what about young girls and women who are being driven from these platforms – reversing our long fight for gender equality?” questioned Khan.
The Mayor of London urged social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor hate speech so that social media could become a place where everyone feels welcomed and valued.
Khan also added that Facebook and Twitter failed to remove offensive content, then they should be open to facing fines.
Citing the example of Germany, where a new rule was introduced in January that gave social media platforms just 24 hours to decide whether something was hate speech, Khan said such a rule should be implemented in London as well.
“This isn’t about depriving people of free speech – this is about inciting hatred,” Khan said. “This is about things that divide our community.”