The former Respect Member of Parliament George Galloway has been granted permission to sue Google over a YouTube film of a protest where he was described as a “tramp” and “scumbag” who supported Islamic terrorists beheading British and American citizens.
George Galloway – most famous in America for his testimony before the U.S. Senate in 2005, though most famous in Britain for being a cat – had been appearing at an event billed as ‘Saturday Night with George Galloway’ in August 2014 when the protest, prompted by an earlier reference of his to Bradford being an ‘Israel-free zone’, was filmed.
Mr. Galloway claims Willie Frazer — a campaigner for victims of Irish republican violence — slandered his name with a series of “vitriolic, abusive, sectarian and wholly untrue speeches” made directly to camera and also by megaphone to fellow demonstrators. Claims of him being a “scumbag” and a “tramp” were made, and it was said that he is anti-Protestant and supports Islamic terrorists who behead British and American citizens.
Footage allegedly broadcast on YouTube by Mr. Frazer was said to have been viewed over 17,000 times.
Mr Galloway categorically denies all such allegations and yesterday a High Court judge dismissed attempts by Google — YouTube’s owners — to stop him serving libel and harassment proceedings on the company at its American headquarters in Delaware, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
In a statement welcoming the fact he can now serve writs outside Northern Ireland, Mr Galloway said: “Defeat in this case would have been financially ruinous to me which is of course what the corporations count on in such cases.
“They have limitless resources not least because they pay almost no taxes…
“…Tax dodging global corporations like Google act like they are a law onto themselves. The court has just demonstrated otherwise.”
Dismissing Google’s attempts to block Mr. Galloway, Mr. Justice Horner found there is a good arguable case for a harassment claim which involves an alleged 23 day period when nothing was done to remove the YouTube footage. He said:
“Accusing an elected politician of being a supporter of terrorism and of the people who are ‘beheading American citizens’ is going to alarm anyone so accused and to cause him distress.”
Describing the verdict as “a massive result”, Mr. Galloway’s solicitor — Kevin Winters of KRW Law — said:
“George enjoys a reputation as a robust and fearless politician who will never shirk from an argument.
“This shouldn’t mean that it’s open season to vilify him in social media. His decision to go to court and protect his reputation has been vindicated today.”
Mr Galloway – who has hosted programmes for the Iranian state-run Press TV – can expect his claim for damages to be heard later this year.