Fake News: Thousands Did NOT Protest On The Streets After Arrest Of Tony Robinson

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Thousands Did NOT Protest On The Streets After Arrest Of Tony Robinson

Was actor Tony Robinson arrested in the U.K.? No, that's not true: the beloved thespian most famous for his role of Baldrick in the Blackadder series has not been nabbed by the cops. That was reported by a satire site trying to have some fun with people confusing him with similarily named Tommy Robinson, a far-right activist who was actually arrested last weekend, triggering protests and a petition despite a court-ordered media blackout in the U.K. Here is one of the few British media articles about the protest:

Hundreds demonstrate in Downing Street after far-right figure Tommy Robinson arrested

Hundreds of demonstrators descended on Whitehall to protest against far-right figurehead Tommy Robinson's arrest for allegedly breaching the peace outside a Leeds courthouse. The area had to be closed to traffic as the group gathered outside Downing Street on Saturday afternoon.

The spoof story originated from an article published by the Southend News Network on May 28, 2018 titled "Thousands protest on the streets after arrest of Tony Robinson" (archived here) which opened:

Thousands of people have hit the streets of London to protest after the much-beloved actor Tony Robinson was reportedly arrested.

Although there is currently a reporting restriction in place regarding the incident, Southend News Network can exclusively confirm that the ongoing proceedings have nothing to do with the eleven people who died of boredom while watching the last series of Time Team.

A source close to Robinson said that his legal team are putting together a 'cunning plan.'

He added, 'Tony is in high spirits, and he is even writing poetry to help pass the time.'

His latest piece is called 'War,' and it goes 'Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!'

The poem mentioned in the article is a reference to this classic scene from Blackadder:

The Southend News Network is a satirical site pretending to be a news organisation by the English coast in Southend. They have a disclaimer on their about page that reads (in part):

Southend News Network was originally started in October 2015 with no real aims or objectives in mind other than to add a satirical/spoof-like touch to issues that people are passionate about in Southend On Sea. Above all else, SNN is all about having the occasional 'dig' at the powers that be, as well a slightly bigger and more frequent 'dig' at certain elements of local media!

Several of their stories have been mistaken for real news in the past and the site was recognized by the local authorities as an "official news outlet".

We wrote about southendnewsnetwork.net before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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