Host of Dutch website says 'neither Muslim nor migrant' in video Trump retweeted
(NEW YORK) — “You shouldn’t be retweeting fake news.”
That’s the message the host of a Dutch website has for President Donald Trump after a video first posted there was shared on the president’s Twitter account with false claims made by a far-right, anti-Muslim British group.
Rene van Leeuwen, who runs the irreverent Dutch video website Dumpert, told ABC News’ Ian Pannell the now-famous video was first uploaded to his site on May 13 but was taken down shortly after upon request from police.
The video showed a person on crutches being beaten by another person, van Leeuwen said.
The video was tweeted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain’s far-right Britain First party on Tuesday with the false claim: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
Dutch police and prosecutors have confirmed to ABC News the video does not show a Muslim nor a migrant.
Since its founding in 2011, Britain First has organized demonstrations against what it calls “Islamic extremism” and “mass migration” to the U.K. Members of the group have held “Christian patrols” in parts of London where Muslims live and visited refugees and migrants at camps in Calais, France to urge them not to come to the U.K. The group says it opposes the “colonization of our homeland” through immigration.
Fransen faces a charge of religious or racially aggravated harassment, according to police in Kent, England. She has been released on bail before a trial set to start on Jan. 29, police said. She pleaded not guilty.
Trump retweeted a total of three unverified, anti-Muslim videos from Fransen on Wednesday, sparking a global controversy. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said Trump was wrong to share the videos.
Asked about the videos Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump, saying, “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real, and that is what the president is talking about. That’s what the president is focused on, is dealing with those real threats, and those are real, no matter how you’re looking at it.”
The Dutch video was initially posted in a section of Dumpert called “daily outrage,” and made no mention of a Muslim migrant, van Leeuwen said.
“Obviously, if you’re against fake news like the president is saying he is, then you shouldn’t be retweeting fake news, which is obviously the case here,” van Leeuwen said. “Sometimes reality beats anything you can make up yourself and I think that’s the case here.”
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