Free Speech Hotline Launched for New Scottish Hate Crime Law Fallout

A hotline has been established by the Free Speech Union (FSU), headed by social commentator Toby Young, for those who may have been apprehended or approached by Scottish authorities about the country’s recently enacted hate crime laws.

An extra thousand Scots joined the FSU the week after the new Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act went into effect on April 1. The FSU will fund Levy & McRae to handle free speech claims related to the new legislation, which prohibits stirring up hatred based on race, age, religion, handicap, and transgender identity.

Prompting the formation of the hotline was the contentious words between J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, who  criticized First Minister Humza Yousaf of Scotland for establishing the legislation, and Yousaf calling Rowling’s remarks about trans women “upsetting and offensive,”

Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament Murdo Fraser is already receiving backing from the FSU as he fights with Police Scotland to get a “non-crime hate incident” (NCHI) notation removed from his record.

It is thought that most complaints under the new rule have been directed against Mr. Yousaf about a recording of his 2020 statement in the Scottish Parliament that followed the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The tape has been shared out of context by far-right Twitter accounts, who are trying to cast the First Minister as racist for bringing attention to the fact that most Scottish politicians are white.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said they have received several complaints about a speech in the Scottish Parliament on June 10, 2020.” This was about the most recent allegations about the video. Additional action was necessary after evaluating previous complaints about this problem, which determined that no criminal had been committed. By tweeting a slew of insults directed against trans women, Rowling put the new hate crime rules to the test on April 1. She singled out many prominent persons, including broadcaster India Willoughby and convicted felons.

According to the Scottish government, the new hate crime legislation will not make it a crime to misgender someone intentionally or to use their preferred pronouns when referring to someone. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Elon Musk applauded this judgment, arguing that individuals should not be subject to criminal prosecution only for expressing reasonable opinions regarding someone’s biology. In an online response to the decision, Rowling—who writes under the male pen name Robert Galbraith—said that they may arrest both men and women simultaneously if they go after any woman for just calling a guy a man.