Crimes committed on the internet count as crimes in real life, too. After firing off an insensitive tweet in which he claimed to have asked a Muslim woman to "explain" Tuesday's terror attacks on Brussels, Matthew P. Doyle has been arrested in London "on suspicion of inciting racial hatred," the Telegraph reported.
Doyle deleted his original tweet, but the internet never forgets.
"I confronted a Muslim women yesterday in Croydon," the tweet read. "I asked her to explain Brussels. She said 'Nothing to do with me.' A mealy mouthed reply."
The Twitterati, naturally, had a field day with this one.
The Brussels bombings, in which at least 34 people were killed and 230 more were injured, have since been claimed by the Islamic State. What Doyle seemed to have assumed with his tweet, then, is that all Muslims sympathize with the terrorist fringe organization. That seems pretty patently prejudiced, although Doyle went on to defend himself.
He told the Telegraph that his tweet was blown way out of proportion; that he didn't actually "confront" this random woman; that confront was maybe not the right word, come to think of it; that the internet didn't have the story straight.
"What everyone's got wrong about this is I didn't confront the woman," he said. "I just said: 'Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?'"
"She was white, and British, wearing a hijab — and she told me it was nothing to do with her," he continued. "I said, 'thank you for explaining that' — and her little boy said goodbye to me as we went out separate ways." The "mealy mouthed reply" bit must have been an internal aside, in that case.
Doyle also insisted that he isn't an Islamophobe. "I'm not some far-right merchant, I'm not a mouthpiece for any kind of racism or radicalism," he told the Telegraph. "If I was xenophobic I wouldn't live in London." And yet the tweets that followed after his initial remark heartily suggest that he does in fact harbor quite a bit of animosity toward foreigners, particularly those of Islamic faith.
This one was the kicker, though:
So, whatever credibility he had after the first tweet sort of went out the window after he attempted to backpedal. According to the Telegraph, the police showed up at the PR exec's — yep, that's right — house and arrested him Wednesday evening.