An information campaign working to persuade Londoners not to arm themselves with knives contained faked supportive tweets from celebrities, leading to the material being withdrawn and deleted.
Fake tweets supporting the campaign included ones from actor John Boyega — who recently appeared in Star Wars: The Last Jedi — and musicians Lethal Bizzle and Jessie J.
After it was revealed the celebrities had not been consulted about the campaign, the material was removed, reports The Times. The fake tweets were reportedly created by an advertising agency but were never removed before the project went live.
A spokesman for the mayor said: “This was an honest mistake. Images created by AMV during their pitch for the account were published on the GLA’s website in error rather than the final approved campaign images. They have been taken down and will not be used again.”
It is not the first time that Mayor Khan’s anti-knife crime campaign, which was launched in November, has come in for criticism. Anti-violence campaigner Temi Mwale took to The Guardian to criticise the mayor’s “slick words” for ringing hollow among still-rising knife attacks and deaths in the capital earlier this year.
Noting that youths in London carry knives because the neighbourhoods they live in are so dangerous they would rather go to prison than risk being killed, Mwale wrote:
What Khan and other policymakers would be better off doing is addressing the root causes of the violence.
In reality, the UK’s capital is divided into two worlds. Many young Londoners inhabit an environment akin to a war zone, where the threat of serious violence is constant, leading to high levels of fear and anxiety… The mayor’s slick hashtag and video will have zero impact on the teenagers who live like this.
Breitbart London reported in January on the astonishing rise of crime in London’s capital, with almost all metrics seeing a double-digit rise including youth homicide, robbery, and rape.
The figures came months after London overtook New York as one of the most dangerous cities in the Western world, in spite of the United Kingdom’s strict gun laws. Despite both cities having similar populations, police force budgets, and number of officers, there were nearly three times as many reported rapes and six times more burglaries in London.