“Partygate” has already proven one long, unending headache for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sparking a string of calls from within his own party to resign for having breached lockdown rules by attending his own birthday celebration in Downing Street.
But he’s now facing a fresh, very left-field threat over the matter – albeit one that’s unlikely to worry his lawyers too much. Johnson’s alleged former lover, Jennifer Arcuri, issued a call on social media on Tuesday for him to be arrested under so-called “common law” by fellow COVID conspiracists for his breaches of lockdown rules.
Arcuri made a post to her 69,000 Twitter followers featuring a supposed arrest warrant addressed to “all Constables and all Sovereign Men and Women” of the UK, instructing them to arrest Johnson “on sight and without delay.” Featuring a photo of the British PM, the “warrant,” which claimed to be authorised “by, of and for the people,” said he was wanted for “misconduct in public office” for his breach of lockdown rules.
Arcuri is an American entrepreneur who has very publicly gone down the COVID conspiracy rabbithole during the pandemic.
The poster, like all sovereign citizen documents, carries no legal weight whatsoever, although it could prove an added security headache for Johnson if followers of the arcane anti-government conspiracy theory take up the call to try to arrest the prime minister.
When speaking to VICE World News on Wednesday, Arcuri railed against Johnson, accusing him of being a puppet of the sinister elites supposedly orchestrating the pandemic.
“The world needs to know it’s going to end one way for this criminal,” she said, referring to Johnson, who she claims to have had an affair with from 2012 to 2016.
“He’s a treasonous traitor against his own people. There is no chance in hell any of these criminals walk free from this.”
Repeating mainstream COVID conspiracist beliefs, she claimed Johnson was under the control of sinister elites, and expressed the kind of fantasies of violent retribution that have made the COVID “truther” movement a growing concern for security forces.
“The politicians are just the paid-for muppets. The problem is, they’re the ones who were elected, they’re the ones the people are going to hang in the streets, and it will happen, mark my words.”
She continued later: “They’re all going to be arrested for treason. The end of Boris Johnson is coming very soon and it’s going to be nasty. It’s going to absolutely shock the world.”
Misinformation expert Joe Ondrak, head of investigation for Logically, said it “shouldn't come as a surprise” that Arcuri – whose embrace of QAnon-inspired conspiracy beliefs about Satanic elites and the COVID vaccine has been previously reported on by VICE World News – should be publicly peddling sovereign citizen threats.
Sovereign citizen ideology, which hinges on the false notion that followers can essentially declare themselves exempt from laws they don’t like, has gained unprecedented currency during the pandemic as it has become a driving force of anti-vax, COVID “truther” movements in the UK and around the world. The movement’s self-appointed “common law constables” have become a volatile presence at COVID-conspiracist protests, threatening to “arrest” politicians and other public figures for so-called crimes against humanity.
“It's certainly indicative of how integral these [sovereign citizen] beliefs have become in the anti-COVID-vax cultic milieu,” Ondrak told VICE World News. He said sovereign citizen beliefs had become “inextricably linked” to the COVID conspiracy scene, regularly championed by its followers as the way that the people can pursue justice against elites supposedly orchestrating the pandemic. Fantasies of a so-called “Nuremberg 2.0,” where the supposed architects of the conspiracy would be executed following mass trials, were commonplace in the movement.
Ciarán O’Connor, a researcher for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said Arcuri’s engagement with anti-vax and other COVID conspiracy theories had followed a familiar trajectory.
“It demonstrates how the conspiracy pipeline can effectively lead someone from having genuine concerns or questions over the handling of COVID-19, becoming exposed to sources who use conspiracy theories to offer assurances or solutions, to then supporting the belief of an alternative legal system, outside the bounds of the law,” he told VICE World News.
Arcuri told VICE World News she had sourced the “arrest warrant” from a Telegram group committed to promoting the so-called COVID crime number campaign, a push by COVID conspiracists to have the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout investigated by police as a crime.
The so-called “crime number” campaign became a cause célèbre within the COVID conspiracist movement after a group of activists filed a complaint at London’s Hammersmith police station in December alleging that the vaccine rollout was criminal. They were issued the crime reference number (CRN) “6029679/21” in response – a standard move acknowledging the receipt of the complaint – and used the CRN to push the notion that a massive criminal investigation into the vaccine was underway.
But police debunked those claims, announcing in February that there was no evidence of wrongdoing and they would not be launching an investigation.
Arcuri first gained a public profile in the UK after it emerged she had received tens of thousands of pounds in public funds for her tech businesses Innotech, and given places on foreign trade missions attended by Johnson – at the time a close friend – when he was mayor of London.
A police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, held a nine-month inquiry before deciding in 2020 not to launch a criminal investigation into Johnson’s conduct.
Arcuri later claimed that she had had a sexual relationship with Johnson between 2012 and 2016, during his second term of mayor of London and when he was married to his former wife Marina Wheeler. Johnson has not commented on the alleged affair but said last year that he had acted with “honesty and integrity” in his relationship with Arcuri.
Arcuri has regularly attacked Johnson on social media, including retweeting posts claiming that there was a Satanic presence in 10 Downing Street.
She told VICE World News that she was confident that the movement that was rising up against the supposed COVID plot would prevail.
“I know the people who are standing up to these corrupt, paid-off courts and the goons behind them, and there’s such a fervent anger here,” she said.
“This isn’t going away… There’s more of us than there are of them.”