I recently wrote an article where I called out Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein for posting a statement on her website that spoke very favorably of the bigotry-driven Brexit vote, calling it a “victory” for people who are tired of a “rigged system.” Needless to say, I received a good amount of backlash from those who support her. While I expected some, I quickly began seeing a lot of people claiming what I wrote about her was a flat-out lie and she never spoke favorably about Brexit. This was rather confusing considering the first sentence of her statement was:
The vote in Britain to exit the European Union (EU) is a victory for those who believe in the right of self-determination and who reject the pro-corporate, austerity policies of the political elites in EU.
Now, I don’t know about you all, but typically I don’t call things a “victory” for something I support unless I’m heaping praise upon whatever it is I’m talking about.
She also went on to say:
The Brexit vote is one more sign that voters are in revolt against the rigged economy and the rigged political system that created it.
In fact, she concluded her statement by writing:
Brtain has spoken for much of humanity as it rejects the failed vision of a world that prioritizes profit for the few amidst hardship for the many. Now we must build on this momentum.
Now, to be fair, she did admit (and condemn) the racism and bigotry involved in Brexit. However, what she actually did was more or less excuse the blatant bigotry, racism and anti-immigrant propaganda that were the real forces behind Brexit by blaming – you guessed it – the broken system and the rigged economy:
The increase in anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment expanded because of the EU’s economic policies, and was a key driver in support of the UK’s departure from the European Union.
What Stein did that bothered me was she used a situation that was clearly supported by the same type of fear-mongering ignorance and hatred that’s fueling Donald Trump, and tried to twist Brexit into some sort of “victory” for those who support her set of talking points. She can try to spin Brexit however she likes, but the bottom line is, this was about racism, bigotry, Islamophobia and people who hate immigrants.
So, with her praise of Brexit quite obvious in her statement in both the opening paragraph (calling it a “victory”) and the closing paragraph (saying we must “build on this momentum”), I was legitimately confused as to why I was getting messages from her supporters claiming I was blatantly lying about her, while accusing me of claiming she said something that she didn’t say.
And that’s when I realized why: She completely changed her statement.
Not only did she completely change her official statement on her website, but she removed the original and didn’t indicate anywhere that she had made these changes. In other words, Stein changed her official statement on Brexit hoping nobody would notice, while also ridding any trace of her original comments where she called the vote a “victory” and encouraged people to “build on the momentum.”
Unfortunately for her, I have a screen shot of the original (feel free to click for a larger version):
Her new statement, found here, is much different.
It even appears that she was trying to divert people away from having any trace of her original post, as Jill Stein herself (or someone on her Facebook staff) tried to encourage someone to clear their cache since they apparently still had access to the old statement she didn’t want people seeing:
I did enjoy how the person who commented right after her called her out for clearly trying to hide from her pro-Brexit post, but she didn’t bother acknowledging them.
In her updated online posting, she no longer called the vote a “victory,” nor did she encourage people to “build on the momentum” of Brexit. Her new official statement about Brexit is essentially nothing but a rant against neoliberalism. She did add much more of a focus on condemning the bigotry that fueled Brexit, something that wasn’t a driving theme in her original statement.
Also found within this updated post is her saying that she wanted Britain to stay in the EU, just work on fixing it from within. This is a far cry from someone who, just a day earlier, praised it as a “victory” against neoliberalism and encouraged people to “build on the momentum” of this bigotry-driven split of Britain from the EU.
The issue here is that she made these massive changes to her response without indicating that she had, while scrubbing any trace of the original from her website. Regardless of whether these Stein supporters want to admit it or not, that’s extremely shady and unethical.
If she wants to issue a correction or a retraction to the original, that’s fine. If she wants to clarify why she said some things that quite a few found offensive, that’s fine. Instead, she just changed her entire statement, while getting rid of any evidence of the original and encouraging people to clear their caches to see her “actual” statement. If someone of bigger national relevance had done something like this, it would be a fairly large story.
I’m not trying to say Jill Stein is a bigot or a racist, I’m simply questioning her “logic” of originally heaping praise on a movement fueled by racist ignorance and hatred, all because she felt like focusing on the fact that some had used it as a way to rebel against the “status quo.” Even though everyone knew that Brexit was nothing but a push by the right-wing radicals in Britain who seized on the same type of ignorance we’re seeing back Donald Trump here in the United States to push the idea that they were going to “take their country back” from minorities, immigrants and Muslims.
The push for Brexit was primarily about fanning the flames of hate toward immigrants, minorities and Muslims – bottom line.
The question I have to all these Jill Stein fans who accused me of trying to slander and lie about her is this: If my original report about her siding with Trump by publicly throwing her support (and praise) behind the bigotry-driven Brexit vote was inaccurate, then why did she seem to do whatever she could to get rid of the evidence of her original statement, while releasing a new one seemingly hoping nobody would notice — that’s completely different from the one it replaced?
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