Paul Crowther had just purchased a banana-and-salted-caramel milkshake from Five Guys in Newcastle when he heard that Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was holding a campaign event nearby.Less than an hour later, Crowther was under arrest, in handcuffs, and Farage was being escorted away by security, with milkshake dripping down his face and suit.Farage, best known for helping spearhead the 2016 Brexit campaign, is the latest right-winger campaigning in the European Parliamentary elections to be struck by a milkshake — now known as “milkshaking.”
“Complete failure,” Farage was heard telling his security, while people laughed at him. “You could have spotted that a mile away.”Crowther told reporters that he did not regret his actions — despite the fact that the milkshake cost £5.25 (nearly $7). “I was quite looking forward to it,” Crowther said while in handcuffs. “But I think it went on a better purpose.”“Milkshaking,” as it’s come to be known, has emerged as the British public’s new favorite protest tactic in recent weeks.
Far-right candidates Tommy Robinson and Carl Benjamin (who is under investigation after tweeting about ‘raping’ Labour MP Jess Phillips) have been repeatedly doused in milkshakes during campaign stops across the U.K.The trend started earlier this month, when 23-year old Danyaal Mahmud joined protesters with Unite Against Fascism to confront Robinson during a campaign event in Warrington. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley, is best known for promoting Islamophobia through a group named the English Defense League, which he founded.Mahmud told the Guardian that he was targeted by Robinson, who approached the group of protesters. A heated confrontation ensued; Mahmud joined protesters calling Robinson scum, and Robinson and his supporters shouted racist slurs, calling him a terrorist. Mahmud reported the incident to the police and left for a meeting.
“I was quite looking forward to [the milkshake],” Crowther said while in handcuffs. “But I think it went on a better purpose.”
Later on, while he was trying to make his way home, Mahmud said he encountered Robinson and his supporters again, who pursued him."He was being aggressive, coming up to my face,” Mahmud told Asian Image. “I just got annoyed with him. A milkshake ‘slipped’ out of my hand.”It was the second time Robinson had been milkshaked in just two days, but the first incident, involving a strawberry milkshake, wasn’t caught on video.
Video of the incident, which went viral, shows Robinson lunging at Mahmud and throwing punches, before being pulled back. Mahmud said a police officer protected him from further beatings and took him to the train station once it was safe.Mahmud, who said he later got death threats, was hailed as an antifascist hero — and likened to “egg boy,” the Australian teen who became an international star after he smashed an egg on a far-right politician's head.Ever since Mahmud milkshaked Robinson, it’s become pervasive at protests — so much so that police in Edinburgh even ordered McDonald's to stop selling milkshakes last week while Farage was holding an event in the area.Burger King’s social media team took a cheeky swipe at McDonald's in response, announcing that they’d be selling milkshakes in the Edinburgh area all weekend.
Carl Benjamin, a far-right YouTuber known as “Sargon of Akkad,” who is running for European Parliament for right-wing populist party UKIP, has been milkshaked four times in the last week alone.
Milkshaking is just one way the campaign trail has become increasingly volatile in recent weeks. A Robinson event in Oldham, Greater Manchester devolved into violence on Sunday when his supporters clashed with protesters, who lobbed bricks and eggs at one another. After the event, police said that “speech or actions that are full of hate” won’t be tolerated in Oldham.Last Friday, another Robinson event in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was derailed by an anti-racist protester who repeatedly chanted “Tommy is a Nazi” through a megaphone.
Meanwhile, journalists from the far-right outlet The Rebel tried to interview people on the streets of Manchester about Robinson.“He’s a cunt,” said one woman in a tiara, while winking at the camera. “He’s racist, he’s Islamophobic — and he’s a cunt.”
Cover: Nigel Farage after he was doused in milkshake during a campaign walkabout in Newcastle on Monday May 20, 2019. The Brexit Party leader became the latest victim of a protest which has seen other European election candidates such as Ukip's Carl Benjamin and ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson suffer similar attacks. Photo credit:Tom Wilkinson/PA Wire URN:43004657 (Press Association via AP Images)