Trolls confronted over laughing at the 27 migrant boat tragedy deaths

·3-min read
Online trolls replied to a story on the tragedy with laughing emoji
Online trolls replied to a story on the tragedy with a laughing emoji.

(Note language throughout)

Online trolls who branded 27 migrants who drowned in the English Channel as "terrorists, rapists and murderers" were confronted by a reporter over their reactions.

Almost 100 Facebook accounts responded to a local newspaper article about last week’s tragedy with a laughing emoji.

Among the refugees that drowned six miles off the coast of Calais on Thursday were seven women — including one who was pregnant — and three children.

The Kent Messenger asked those who laughed at the deaths of the refugees why they did so – and were met with more abuse.

Watch: Migrant deaths: 27 people die after boat sinks off Calais

In total, 96 users replied with a laughing emoji after comments on the Facebook post were switched off by the publication.

Reporter Ed McConnell questioned one account's response, who replied: "It's a total joke mate. Thousands of murders [sic] rapists terrorists coming into our country daily.

“The government are traitors!!".

When asked why they found people dying in the sea trying to get from France to Britain funny, the man, who went by the name of internet meme 'Ronni Pickering', replied: "It's great news [they drowned]! You support the cs probably. F of [sic]. I hope every boat f*g sinks."

Another Facebook user called Chantal said she laughed, "because our country looks after illegals before our own people!!!".

A user known as Steve called the reporter a "jumped up little c***" for questioning his use of a laughing emoji and told him to "jog on".

He added: "They should stay at home and stop f** coming over here. Or do it through the right procedures the scum bags."

When asked if 27 people dying had bothered him, he replied: "Not at all mate not my family and not my children," adding another laughing emoji to the comment.

He was asked: "So would you laugh at anyone dying who you wasn't related to?"

Steve responded: "Nope just them c***s. They are supposed to seek refuge in the first country they get to not travel through them to come to ours.”

Read more:

UK panel asks govt to scrap plan to turn back migrant boats

Asylum applications rise by a fifth in year amid record Channel crossings

RNLI emergency lifeboat ‘blocked by protesters shouting anti-migrant abuse’

Another man claimed all migrants do is "take jobs" and said "most of them that come here are in jail for murder or rape".

When told asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK, he replied: "F*** 'em."

Some responded to the queries, then blocked the reporter when they did not like the follow-up questions.

Local residents gathered with flowers next to Safe Passage Now written in the sand on Sunny Sands Beach on 28th November 2021 in Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom. This vigil was organised in response to the 27 people who were tragically killed while crossing the channel in a small boat. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
A vigil on Sunny Sands Beach for the 27 people who died. (Getty)

McConnell, the News Editor at Kent Online, said the responses were “entirely predictable” and the trolls showed “blind hatred” and an unwillingness to engage with counter arguments.

He added that his story had been read widely and he had received good feedback.

He said: “The overwhelming response has been positive from both fellow journalists but also refugee charities and members of the public.

“There are a handful of people who have missed the point or resorted to 'well they shouldn't have come', but they are very much the minority.”

The International Organization for Migrations said the migrant boat tragedy was the biggest single loss of life in the Channel since it began collecting data in 2014.

The UK and France have blamed each other for not doing enough to stop Channel crossings.

The UK's intake of asylum seekers was 17th in Europe per head of population.

More than 70% of people risking their lives in the Channel were granted asylum.

Last year the UK received 36,000 asylum applications — the fifth-highest number in Europe — while Germany had 122,015 applicants and France 93,475.

Watch: Aerials over Dover port after migrant deaths in Channel

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