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Diocese of London says it is offering Rev Jarel Robinson-Brown 'pastoral support' following online abuse

by Will Maule
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The Diocese of London has urged all those who have sent abusive messages to Rev Jarel Robinson-Brown following his comments about a commemoration of Captain Sir Tom Moore must "desist and consider the hurt they are causing".

Rev Robinson-Brown, a chaplain at King's College London, caused a firestorm last week after suggesting that the clap held in honour of the centenarian was an example of the "cult of white British nationalism".

Shortly thereafter, Robinson-Brown quickly deleted his tweet and apologised for the hurt caused. He then deleted his Twitter account altogether after social media users bombarded him with a flurry of racist and homophobic abuse. 

"After Jarel Robinson-Brown posted his now-deleted tweet last Wednesday, my primary concern has been to ensure that he received immediate pastoral support in the face of the most appalling racist and homophobic abuse, aimed at him and at others," the Bishop of London Sarah Mullally said in her most recent statement. "I am particularly thankful for the ongoing care that was quickly put in place, through so many different routes."

Bishop Sarah noted that the original matter is being "reviewed properly and swiftly by the Archdeacon of London, to enable us all to reflect and learn".

"I also believe, and have made clear to Jarel, that there is no excuse for anyone to be sent the shocking messages he has been receiving," she added. "Jarel did of course quickly acknowledge that his tweet was ill-timed and pastorally-insensitive." 

In a statement shortly after the tweet was sent, the Diocese of London called Rev Robinson-Brown's comments "unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged". 

“The fact that he immediately removed his tweet and subsequently apologised does not undo the hurt he has caused, not least to Captain Tom’s family," the statement added.

The statement was criticised online by several church leaders, many of whom felt that it did not go far enough to defend Robinson-Brown from the onslaught of abuse.

In her latest comments, Bishop Sarah said that she was "deeply concerned" to hear that "Minority Ethnic clergy and ordinands have been affected by recent events, and by the Diocese’s response" and said she sought to "ensure that in London, and right across the Church of England, our clergy and those training for ministry feel safe".

"I look forward to the report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Force launched last year, and the work of the Archbishops’ Commission that will follow, which I know will help to achieve this shared end," she added.

"Any form of online abuse, including racism, homophobia and threatening behaviour, cannot be tolerated. I sincerely hope that those perpetuating it will desist and consider the hurt they are causing. We must all work to ensure the digital world becomes a more loving and generous place.”


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