Campaign to Demonize Homelessness Provokes Massive Backlash

March 25, 2016   |   Michaela Whitton

Michaela Whitton
March 25, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom — A local city council in the U.K. is facing severe backlash as a result of a vile campaign demonizing homelessness. Nottinghamshire City Council’s #givesmart campaign was launched in March, with the aim of urging the public not to give money to people begging on the streets. Concerned that money given to those begging is used to feed addictions, the council claims to have launched the campaign to encourage the public to give their cash to homeless charities, instead.

Nottingham’s council implemented the campaign by displaying a number of large posters throughout the city that contain bigoted and hateful slogans. Claiming “beggars are not what they seem,” they portray a young man in a hat and photographs of cans of ‘strong’ lager. They contain slogans stating, “Begging: Watch Your Money Go To A Fraud,” or “Begging: Watch your money go up in smoke,” and even “Begging funds the misuse of drugs.”

Clearly not everyone who begs is homeless, and not all homeless people beg, but it is without doubt that those sitting for hours on Britain’s streets in freezing temperatures are some of society’s most vulnerable. However, it seems the leader of Nottingham City Council, Councillor Jon Collins, disagrees. When announcing the launch of #givesmart, he told the Nottingham Post: “These professional beggars can make up to £800 a day and have in the past waved notes in front of officers.”

After succeeding in labelling and stereotyping those forced to beg on the streets of the U.K. as addicts and alcoholics, the stigmatising ad campaign has provoked uproar with the public — most of whom are perfectly capable of choosing how they spend their money. Unsurprisingly, the sound of a slow hand clap for Nottingham City Council has rippled across Twitter, with users demanding answers and using the #givesmart hashtag to express their outrage.


This article (Campaign to Demonize Homelessness Provokes Massive Backlash) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Michaela Whitton

Michaela Whitton joined Anti-Media as its first journalist abroad in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include human rights, conflict, the Middle East, Palestine, and Israel. Born and residing in the United Kingdom, she is also a photographer.

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  4. Vilifying the poor yet again while the banksters, corporations, oil companies and the 1% just rape the people for their greedy agenda. Begging constantly for government welfare, bailouts, bail ins, tax subsidies, and don't even get me started with the trickle down voodoo economics model they foisted upon us 35 or more years ago. All the while offshoring decent paying middle class jobs and hiding money in offshore tax havens. Money going up in smoke is what the establishment is all about. You give them your hard earned dollars and like magicians they make it all go up in smoke. I would much rather give it to a person on the street than ANY money sucking poverty relief agency. Even if they do buy smokes it's none of the blood sucking governments business. At least they're paying taxes on the smokes which the government can then take and make go up in smoke for a second time. Socialism for the wealthy has never worked and never will, time to actually give it to people who truly need it.

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  10. Here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we had the same thing in 2012. A campaign slogan demonizing homeless people who panhandle marketing an ideology of hate: "Don't Contribute to the Problem," out front of a litany of ills on the city's website suggesting that providing such charity can create: Drug and alcohol abuse; Violent crime; Harassment and intimidation, Distracted drivers and dangerous intersections. Surprisingly they didn't attribute Islamist terrorism to these dastardly acts of kindness. And it's only gotten worse with the implementation of a more comprehensive ban put in place in 2014. So keep up the fight against that nouveau Sherriff of Nottingham! October 22nd Alliance to End Homelessness

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