Stupid, funny or deeply offensive? One of the images that has appeared on social media depicts PLP leaders in Nazi uniforms. *Image supplied
Stupid, funny or deeply offensive? One of the images that has appeared on social media depicts PLP
leaders in Nazi uniforms. *Image supplied

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 31: A PLP election candidate has apologized after an early hours Facebook rant that branded an online commentator a liar and accused him of suggesting the party is racist against white people.

Musician and artist Mike Hind, the victim of the online attack, by John Gibbons, said: “He should definitely reconsider his position as a candidate for Parliament.”

The online exchange occurred several months ago but was thrust back into the public spotlight last week by Bermuda Sun guest columnist Bryant Trew. He drew attention to the incident in the wake of Mr Gibbons being heralded as a “rising new star” of the PLP.

As an election looms, the incident raises broader questions about the toxicity of political exchange on social media; Mr Gibbons drew our attention, for instance, to jibes depicting the PLP as Nazis . 

Mr Gibbons will take on sitting MP Kim Swan of the UBP and the OBA’s Nandi Davis in Constituency 2, St George’s West. He had posted comments to Mr Hind on the Bermuda Election 2012 Facebook page. The thread was subsequently removed.

 Mr Hind said: “It was completely ridiculous, bizarre and strange.

“His accusations had no basis in reality. It didn’t upset me, but I felt I had to defend myself. I had never spoken to the man before in my life — I’d never even heard of him.

“These accusations are not something I want attached to me. I am not a racist — he was just lashing out.

“I don’t support either party and I’m not a member of any party. I have been relatively vocal in my criticism of both sides.”

Mr Gibbons told the Bermuda Sun: “Personally, I’d like to apologize to Mr Hind for any words that I had said in reference to this conversation which could be offensive to him and others in the white community.

“However, I’d like to add, along with my deepest apologies to him as an individual and a human being, that it at least must be stated that there is an atrocious level of white political hostility that is somewhat frightening, especially to many people such as myself who have never seen such political anger towards blacks in the white community.

“Though some anger is always justified when people are talking politics and their beliefs, it’s also very unfair as it’s almost always the case for some whites who participate online to constantly accuse PLP members both young, who have never experienced outright racism and segregation and the evils of the past, and older ones like myself as being ‘black Nazis’ – and that’s a direct quote – or being ‘black supremacists’ simply for quoting the leader of the OBA, who has talked about white supremacy and its lingering effects on the black community.

“That needs special attention if we are to head off an incomprehensible slide into chaos and disorder in the black community which doesn’t threaten just one community or another, but threatens to destroy the entire community, both black and white.

“Again, I sincerely apologize for any discomfort which resulted from my over-reaction to what I consider as over-the-top claims by some whites, particularly when we are being depicted in pictures with Nazi armbands and other paraphernalia relating to the German National Socialist Workers’ Party.”

In response, Mr Hind, who runs the Crisson Hind Fine Art Gallery, which specialises in African art, said: “None of that has anything to do with me. I have nothing to do with any of that and I have never been hostile.

“It’s not really an apology — it’s more damage control. In referencing me in connection with this, it’s only because I am white. We don’t need that in Bermuda, quite frankly. It was just out of nowhere and completely unjustified.”