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Statement on Far-Right Hate Targeting Members of Our Firm

Updated: Feb 25

Statement

For immediate release: February 25, 2024



Last week, our firm publicly expressed its support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Westlock, Alberta, following a plebiscite in the community to effectively erase symbols of Pride and 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion from public spaces. Since that time, members of our firm have been swarmed by far-right online hatred. Every few minutes there are at least a dozen new notifications. Most of these are vile comments, and not things anyone wants to read.


Some of this social media hatred has spilled over into harassing and hateful emails and other communications to our office, including homophobic and antisemitic rants and comments threatening destruction of property. A significant portion of the commentary has libeled members of our firm as pedophiles – a long-standing, conspiracy-driven slur targeting 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Some of this hate speech has also required reports to police, which we have asked to have investigated as hate speech, criminal harassment, and intimidation of justice participants.


It is apparent to us that all of these commenters have been influenced by far-right online propaganda – some of which has been signal-boosted and legitimized by conservative political figures and recent policy announcements.


We understand this as part of a broader coordinated effort, algorithmically or politically, to threaten 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and those who support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, professionally and philanthropically.


It will not work. We are undeterred. Our firm is proud of the work we do for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and other equity-seeking groups, and the support we can offer their causes outside of our practice.


We are going to keep doing this important work and celebrating the beauty, dignity, and belonging of SOGIE minorities, and their right to live, with their families, without fear or intimidation, especially in small communities like Westlock and the ones we call home in Northwestern Ontario.


As one of our partners warned in his newspaper column in July 2023, hate is on the march. 2SLGBTQIA+ people are under siege from the political right. We, and other allies with the tools to fight back, need to get angry, and organized.


As part of our commitment to this cause, we are always interested in hearing from 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, service organizations, or community groups facing threats, online smears, discrimination, and other injustice. We do what we can to offer our assistance as economically as possible, recognizing some of the unique access to justice challenges facing this vulnerable community, especially in the current political climate.


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Contact:


Douglas W. Judson

doug@judsonhowie.ca

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