Far-right activist Tommy Robinson set to make over $1 million if he manages to visit US on speaking tour
Anti-fascist campaigners fear that the polarizing figure might use the money to fund a UK tour and sow discord among communities
Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, could become one of the best-funded figures since World War II if a potential US speaking tour comes to fruition, according to an analysis by anti-fascist campaigners.
Born Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Robinson has been invited to give an address in Washington by members of Congress on 14 November. The invitation has been made by Middle East Forum, a US-based neo-conservative think tank, and the David Horowitz Freedom Centre, a right-wing Conservative foundation, reports The Guardian.
Joe Mulhall, a senior researcher at Hope not Hate, said: “We believe that, should he be allowed to enter the US for this event, he stands to make in the range of £1m in donations with the potential for much more. America offers the opportunity for further large-scale investment in Lennon.”
“The inevitable media coverage that will surround the visit will no doubt lead to an increase in his already significant monthly donations from America."
According to the MEF website, Republican Paul Gosar and six other members of Congress have invited Robinson, who was recently released from prison, to speak to the Conservative Opportunity Society. It remains to be seen if his he will be granted a visa by US authorities in time for the event.
The 35-year-old is currently on bail after being charged with contempt of court for streaming a Facebook Live outside Leeds court and has many other criminal charges against him.
A vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, Robinson branded mainstream media "the enemy of the people" and asked the people gathered with him to chant "we love Trump". He was outside the court premises earlier this month, where his contempt case was referred to the attorney general by a judge at the Old Bailey and he was allowed to walk free.
MEF has already funded Robinson’s legal fees in part and has also taken credit for funding the protests that took place in support of him post his arrest. MEF said it is “helping Robinson in his moment of danger”, in “three main ways," funding "his legal defense," “bringing foreign pressure on the UK government to ensure Mr. Robinson’s safety and eventual release," and “organizing and funding” a June 9 rally in London.
The Hope not Hate researcher believes that should Robinson be granted entry into the US, he would use the money to fund a tour in the UK. He is not as popular in his homeland as he is in the US. “Both the organizations that have invited Lennon to the US have a history of donating large amounts to European anti-Muslim individuals and organizations,” says Mulhall, adding that the predicted and feared UK tour would be used by Robinson to sow seeds of communal tensions.