At this point, we shouldn’t really be surprised when a flock of neo-Nazis are welcomed back into Twitter’s embrace. Recently, we had the return of the notorious face of gen z neo-Nazis, Nick Fuentes, who managed to somehow squirm his way back onto the platform. But it seems lightning has struck twice as Twitter chief Elon Musk has offered yet another digital pardon to a group with extremist far-right views – British group Patriotic Alternative.
The group, and its leaders, had their accounts suspended for terms of service violations in December 2020. However, thanks to Musk’s reinstatement, the group will now be allowed to spread their harmful rhetoric and ideologies, targeting potential recruits.
Mark Collett, the group’s boss and self-proclaimed admirer of Adolf Hitler, has a blue tick – a form of verification that an account is authentic, which back before Musk’s arrival were given out to notable public figures, but can now be bought for between £8 a month and £115 a year.
Collett has tweeted about race and culture since he was reinstated on February 15 after the ban that spanned more than two years. Twitter also appears to have restored his former followers (55,000 users currently subscribe to his Tweets on the platform).
Collett has been praising Patriotic Alternative’s public protests against migrants and drag queens. He received more than 2,000 likes for posting a photograph of small children in a French primary school, saying: “The great replacement is NOT a conspiracy theory.” This referred to the far-right idea that white populations are being deliberately reduced – a theory that has been adopted by white nationalists and allegedly inspired Payton Gendron’s racially charged mass shooting in Buffalo in 2022.
He has also posted a video of Muslims praying in the street, saying: “This isn’t Islamabad in Pakistan. This is London, England. When politicians gush over ‘diversity’ & multiculturalism, this is what they are really talking about; colonisation & replacement.”
Unsurprisingly, he was also outraged by a fictional cartoon character’s sexual orientation and race. “Remember Velma from Scooby Doo, that cartoon you used to enjoy when you were a child? Well, she’s now a black lesbian who makes anti-white quips,” he tweeted. “That’s what liberals call ‘progress’.”
Laura Towler, the deputy leader of Patriotic Alternative, had her two-year suspension ended in December 2021 and has explicitly praised Musk. She wrote about an anti-migrant riot: “The Liverpool protest is still trending on Twitter and almost every comment I can see is on the side of the protestors. This would have been suppressed before Elon Musk and all we’d see is far-left, anti-White tweets, making us think we were in the minority.”
Other far-right individuals/groups who have been reintroduced to the platform include Lauren Southern, who regularly promotes white nationalist concepts, and Jason Kessler – a white supremacist who was the organiser of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right event in Charlottesville. However, Musk has ensured that some of the most prominent names in the far-right sphere have stayed well clear, with islamophobic activist Tommy Robinson not yet returning, as well as conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Despite Musk’s devotion to free speech, he has atoned for some of his mistakes. Fuentes was once again suspended after a few days, and other instances of anti-semitism, racism and fascism have led to bans. But, still, Musk continuously misjudges these situations, acting far too late after a radical group/individual has been introduced to millions.