Tommy Robinson has revealed alleged undercover recordings of top BBC journalist John Sweeney, accusing the reporter of planning a fake news hit job in collusion with HOPE Not Hate, a far-left activist organisation which has received funding from billionaire plutocrat George Soros.
The former English Defence League (EDL) frontman turned anti-grooming gangs campaigner and UKIP activist unveiled the recordings to a crowd of thousands of supporters outside the BBC’s offices at MediaCity in Salford, Greater Manchester, in the form of a short documentary he called ‘Panodrama’.
Robinson’s livestreams on the day were persistently interrupted during broadcast, with the reason why these served proved unusually unreliable at the heavily-policed event currently unknown.
Robinson was forced to link to low-quality third-party streams, but an edited version of his documentary is scheduled for general release online on Friday afternoon.
In it, Robinson indicates that former associate Lucy Brown, with whom he had had a falling out, was approached by HOPE Not Hate to help BBC Panorama, the publicly-funded broadcaster’s flagship investigative documentary programme, to produce what is said to have been described as a “Tommy takedown”.
“This is massive. This is Britain’s leading investigative journalist documentary by the BBC, that we pay for, creating, editing news, in order to destroy my life,” Robinson alleges in his own counter-documentary.
You never see anything critical of far-left activists HOPE not Hate on the BBC. Is that because behind the scenes they’re all buddies? Here is their senior researcher Joe Mulhall tweeting what appears to be him hanging out with a BBC political reporter. pic.twitter.com/fsl2l4f9U4
— Chris Tomlinson (@TomlinsonCJ) December 10, 2018
Brown met with John Sweeney, but apparently secretly recorded the meeting, passing the tapes to Robinson.
In clips of the recording shown by Robinson, which have been edited, Sweeney is portrayed as appearing to brag that the boozy tête-à-tête will be covered by expenses, seeming to say “Fuck it, no expense spared” at one point.
“For me, that’s an expenses scandal that the licence fee was paying for,” Robinson suggests to Brown as they review the footage, in which Sweeney appears to order a copious number of alcoholic drinks.
“Should we be paying for you to get pissed?”
In Manchester for Tommy Robinson’s film ‘Panodrama’. Undercover footage shows how the BBC tried to set him up for their ‘Tommy Takedown’ programme. Instead they walked into a trap of their own making. Biased Broadcasting Corp shown up for what it now is. Scrap the license fee! pic.twitter.com/Goia0KhkYE
— Gerard Batten MEP (@GerardBattenMEP) February 23, 2019
Panodrama shows the real meat of Brown’s recording in a segment in which Robinson goes to meet Sweeney — which Robinson believed was being set up as a “gotcha” interview for the planned BBC Panorama documentary, but which he instead used to question Sweeney on statements allegedly made to Brown and others about the programme.
The recorded footage appears to show Sweeney making what Robinson describes as racist remarks about Asian drivers and using the slur “honky” — which Sweeney says were taken out of context.
Sweeney also appears to use the homophobic term “bloody woofter” — but rejects any suggestion he is homophobic when Robinson puts it to him.
Sweeney also appears to tell Brown, “You may not like what I’m about to say but one of my political heroes is the former head of the [Irish Republican Army]” — although he seemingly struggles to recall the individual’s name, before seeming to settle on “Daniel, um, Danny McGuinness”.
This may have been a reference to the late Martin McGuinness, who became a leading Sinn Féin politician after the IRA officially wrapped up its long terror campaign against British police officers, military personnel, and civilians in the 1990s, which killed around 4,000 people.
Caolan Robertson has since retracted the sexual assault allegation included during the ‘panodrama’ film, and yesterday he told Stephen Lennon that his allegation was not true and yet the allegation was still aired.
— Nick Lowles (@lowles_nick) February 23, 2019
Perhaps more serious than the alleged indiscretions described above, Robinson also presents what he believes is evidence showing that Sweeney intended to produce a documentary in which former associates were leaned on to paint him in a negative light, and told what to say.
For example, he showed Sweeney a recording of Caolan Robertson, a former Rebel Media staffer who has collaborated with Robinson and gonzo journalist Lauren Southern in the past, appearing to suggest HOPE Not Hate claimed they were “steering” the BBC documentary, were present at meetings between himself and the BBC, and alleged they engaged in intimidation and sexual impropriety.
HOPE Not Hate official Nick Lowles has since stated that Robertson retracted these allegations, however, and claimed Tommy Robinson was aware of this retraction before he aired his documentary in Salford — and that the matter has now been passed to lawyers.
Tommy Robinson says it’s essential that this movement become political. pic.twitter.com/XolxwtfaXp
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) February 23, 2019
The fieriest section of Robinson’s documentary comes when he confronts Sweeney about a clip which, Robinson believes, showed Sweeney suggest that a past dispute with Brown could be clipped in a misleading way.
Robinson also claimed one of Sweeney’s statements indicated that he intended to create an impression of some “sexual” misconduct by him — which Sweeney denied was the case, claiming Robinson had “mischaracterised” him.
“You find it fun to tell someone that an innocent comment is sexualised — do you know what that would do to my family? Do you know what that would do to my children? Do you know what you are doing to my family? You’ve no idea what you’re doing to my family,” he told Sweeney.
“If you had got away with what you were trying to do to me, you’d have ruined me. You’d have [destroyed] my marriage.”
Top BBC Journalist Allegedly Likens Working Class Men to ‘Amazonia Cannibals’ In Undercover Footage https://t.co/qd4Mj2ciGG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 11, 2019
Robinson also clashed with the reporter over comments in which Sweeney appeared to compare meeting a working-class person to sitting down with a “cannibal” from “Amazonia”, branding the journalist a “classist elitist” and telling him: “the way you view working-class people is a disgrace”.
“You’re a disgrace” Robinson added as the interview broke up, saying that said, anyone who has been “taken down” by Panorama previously should challenge its reporting, and telling Sweeney: “You’re a liar, you’re a fraud, you’re a racist.”
“We’ve seen the BBC, who pride themselves on being impartial and reporting the truth, you’ve witnessed the main man from Panorama telling someone what to say, brokering a deal on what they have to say about me,” Robinson alleges at the conclusion of his documentary.
“Now if he’s brokered a deal with her, who else has he brokered a deal with? Who else has been told what to say? They’re scripting the documentary. They’re also creating and inventing news — ‘sexual thing’ against Tommy Robinson… What else was going to be said? What are lies and manufactured evidence would there have been on this documentary?” he asks.
“You’ve seen the contempt they have for the working class, the contempt they have for you, the licence fee payer. You pay the licence fee, and if you don’t, you’re taken to court just so the elitist fake news journalists can travel this country drinking champagne on your expense,” Robinson tells supporters, and urges them to cancel their licence fees.
Thousands of protesters at MediaCity, Salford have been shown a film made by the former EDL leader Tommy Robinson in which he makes a series of allegations against Panorama and reporter John Sweeney. BBC says it’s investigating and programme follows strict editorial guidelines pic.twitter.com/aex3KF4GVK
— BBC Radio Manchester (@BBCRadioManc) February 23, 2019
The BBC, for its part, declared that it “strongly rejects any suggestion that our journalism is ‘faked’ or biased.”
They added that “Any programme we broadcast will adhere to the BBC’s strict editorial guidelines.”
The corporation acknowledged, however, that “Some of the footage which has been released was recorded without our knowledge during this investigation and John Sweeney made some offensive and inappropriate remarks, for which he apologises.”
“BBC Panorama’s investigation [into Robinson] will continue,” they declared.
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