An anti-racism group has written an open letter to the owner of a Swansea independent cinema that refuses to follow Government COVID measures.
The letter by a group called ‘Stand Up To Racism‘, and counter-signed by over 180 politicians, musicians, artists and activists says Anna Redfern and her venue has been manipulated by far-right groups that support her anti-COVID pass view.
The letter accuses the Voice of Wales group of anti-semetic, homophobic and racists acts, in addition to association with other far-right organisations and people such as former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.
The letter calls on Ms Redfern to publicly distance herself “from groups such as Voice of Wales who openly foster Islamophobia, anti Semitism and racial division.”
Voice of Wales have been a vocal supporter of Cinema and Co’s anti-COVID-pass stance, and members of the Stand Up To Racism group report regular sightings of members in the premises.
The group, who describe themselves as a media organisation, strongly deny they are racist. They in turn accuse Stand Up to Racism as being a far-left organisation intent on spreading lies about them.
In a social media post, Ms Redfern denies any connection to extremist groups.
In a video message she thanked the “breath-taking levels of support from all over the UK” that she’s received for her actions, including doctors, nurses and footballers.
She continued to say that her “life had become totally surreal” and that she was “being acted on by so many forces out of [her] control. Some very dark.”
“I absolutely reject any claims that I am in any way connected to far-right groups, far-left groups or any form of racism” she added.
A crowd-funder set up by former Brexit Party & Abolish the Welsh Assembly candidate Richard Taylor, has raised over £60,000 so far.
The cinema received notice to close for up to 28 days on Thursday (18 November) by Swansea Council.
The notice said that Cinema & Co had not completed a COVID risk assessment, staff had no training on how to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and there was no implementation of the COVID pass scheme.
It was also noted that there was no signage advising customers to wear face coverings and there was inadequate cleaning products to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The cinema ignored the closure notice and reopened the following day, with Ms Redfern stating on social media that she was taking a stand and “will not allow a council officer with a clipboard to end my right to provide for my family”.
The open letter from Stand Up To Racism in full
We as regular users and supporters of Cinema and Co would like to voice our dismay at seeing your venue being manipulated by far right groups such as Voice of Wales.
As performers, promoters, creators, fans and activists, we have long valued the supportive space offered by Cinema and Co and have many happy memories of events there pre COVID. We appreciate that the past 18 months must have been incredibly hard for Anna and her team, and understand the frustration you must feel as we witness the inept way the Pandemic and its aftermath have been handled by Boris Johnson and his crew in the Westminster Government.
Of course, like all of us, you are eager to get back to what you do best – promoting live performances.
Whatever our view of the vaccine passports as they are being implemented in Wales, we are very concerned that you have let your opposition to them allow yourself to be used by the far right.
Many of those who are promoting you on social media are racists and Fascists, not least Voice of Wales. This far right sect were involved with harassing refugees in West Wales, abusing Swansea City Football Players taking the knee and have worked with notorious bigots such as Katie Hopkins and infamous Fascist fraudster and football thug, Tommy Robinson. They even hosted representatives of American Fascist group The Proud Boys (one of whose members proudly wore a vile ‘Camp Auschwitz’ hoodie) just days after the Capitol Hill riot they were so deeply involved in. No wonder Voice of Wales have been permanently thrown off Youtube for their continued ‘unacceptable’ Islamophobic and anti Semitic activity, as reported by the BBC.
These people have no interest in the vibrant, diverse, creative culture which we have so enjoyed at Cinema and Co.
Regardless of what we think of Vaccine Passports and the best way forward for Swansea in a post pandemic world, we call on you to publicly distance yourself from groups such as Voice of Wales who openly foster Islamophobia, anti Semitism and racial division.
Swansea Stand Up to Racism
also signed by
Lord Peter Hain
Geraint Davies MP
Helen Love (musician)
Patrick Jones (poet)
Nimisha Trivedi – Swansea Stand Up to Racism
Joe Baylis – Swansea Music Hub
and 180 more – so far.
(Lead Image: Cinema & Co)
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