Two jailed for online racism after US turned down asylum bid

Freedom of speech claim denied


Two British men who tried to claim political asylum in the US were jailed today for using the internet to incite racial hatred.

Simon Sheppard, 51 of Selby, North Yorkshire got four years and 10 months while Stephen Whittle, 42 of Preston got two years and four months. They were found guilty of 11 charges but the jury could not come to a verdict on seven others.

The two were originally arrested in 2006 but fled to the US. They arrived at LA airport and asked an official for political asylum believing they would get protection under US freedom of speech laws.

Instead they spent almost a year in Santa Ana City Jail in Orange County, AP reports. An immigration judge threw out their asylum application and recommended they be deported back to the UK.

Welcoming today's decision Adil Khan, Head of Diversity at Humberside Police said: “I welcome the decision by the jury to find Sheppard and Whittle guilty of a number of charges...Inciting racial hatred is a crime and one which seems to occur too regularly. This kind of material will not be tolerated as this lengthy investigation shows.

“These men were arrested in April 2006 by Humberside Police with the assistance of North Yorkshire Police and Lancashire Police and were charged with offences dating between 2004 and 2006."

The charge related to anti-semitic and racist material on a website the two controlled, which still appears to be available. The site published a Robert Crumb cartoon titled "When the goddamn jews take over America" alongside other less savoury material. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    We'll see you around the Block

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022