overt bigotry response Ottawa (obro)

Update on far right sightings at pride parade

This weekend, many of you sent us your sightings of bigots trying to disrupt the pride parade. We’ll be sharing what we know so far to this newsletter, and keep you updated on any developments or calls for a response.

In keeping with the growing trend of targeted harassment and bigotry against the LGBT community in Ottawa, allt-right media hopeful Rick Boswick teamed up with anti-lgbt agitator street preachers in an attempt to disrupt the pride parade, and spread a message of hate and bigotry against marginalized folks.

Who is Rick Boswick?

Boswick has a reputation for unsuccessfully using various trending movements to kickstart an activist media career. He was first seen in 2013 trying to get involved with ‘idle no more’ of all things. He’s since become deeply inspired by alt-right, conservative, and conspiracy media agitators such as Ben Shapiro, Lauren Southern, and Alex Jones.  His work mostly consists of parroting their provocative style of pseudo-journalism in an attempt to get a reaction out of folks. The footage of the confrontation is then used to produce clickbait videos to get more subscribers and contributors to his media platform.

Though initially not known to subscribe to or study far right ideology (or any ideology for that matter), his need to attach himself to increasingly bigger names and groups has led to him parroting the anti-muslim, anti-black, and anti-lgbt talking points of far right and neo-nazi personalities. He’s been seen campaigning with Faith Goldy, and Kevin J Johnston. As well as rubbing elbows with known neo-nazis in various groups such as the Soldiers of Odin, Northern Guard, and the Canadian Nationalist Party. For a brief while, Boswick attempted unsuccessfully to start an Ottawa chapter of the racist anti-immigrant yellow vest movement.

Anti-Racist Canada has plenty of info on Boswick Here

Why should we care?

Though there isn’t any evidence of him acting violently, he’s put monumental work into promoting acts of hateful violence towards marginalized communities and those who protect them. Whether through campaigning for convicted hate speech offender Kevin J Johnston, or in his poorly shot videos where he loosely advocates for terrorist acts on university campuses.In a January 2019 facebook video that references the finding of a bomb on a Kingston university campus, Boswick had this to say…

Video uploaded to Boswick’s facebook account

“I’m not surprised at the Kingston event… (referencing the bomb making)
I wouldn’t shed a tear if it had gone through Ottawa University
I condemn that kind of violence, but if it had happened to antifa people, I would have
shaken my head and said I’m really sorry for you, sorry for the loved ones that you lost
but look how you’ve been acting. It’s going to happen more”

“we know where the universities are, you should start looking behind your back when you’re going to your classes”

He would go on to say that following Islam is a “mental illness” and that “all the conspiracy theories are true” because he’s done “a lot of research”. 
As you can probably guess, he isn’t the brightest. Still, his promotion of far right hateful talking points, and thinly veiled advocacy for violence cannot be ignored. The devastating acts of hate that keep happening by far right gunmen across the world and at home are no idle threat. We must be vigilant.

His latest gig appears to be following around anti-lgbt street preachers to target various pride events in Ottawa. Like with most of the movements he attaches himself to, he’ll eventually frustrate the organizers and be asked to leave. But for now, anyone going to any lgbt inclusive events in town should be aware of this local threat, and act accordingly 

What should we do?

Confronting Boswick directly is exactly what he’s looking for. Don’t give him the juicy video content he wants. Better yet, don’t let him have any footage whatsoever. At the pride parade, organizers and attendees used their banners and signs to block Boswick’s cameras so he wouldn’t have anything to film. 

Another great tactic, is to blast copyright protected music on a loud speaker close to his camera. If he tries to upload any of this footage, the facebook and youtube copyright algorithm will flag and quickly remove them. While we aren’t fans of copyright law, it’s a low risk tactic that works very well. Thankfully, the loud music of the various pride floats seem to have done this work for us as he’s yet to post a video.

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