Warwick climate group cancel XR co-founder’s talk following pressure from Jewish students
Roger Hallam has previously said the Holocaust was ‘just another f*ckery in human history’
Climate Reality Warwick cancelled a talk due to be given by Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam, following claims from Warwick JSoc that “he has a history of Holocaust minimisation and trivialisation.”
In an interview in 2019, Hallam claimed the Holocaust was “almost a normal event”, describing it as “just another fuckery in human history.” He also added the memory of the Holocaust was holding Germany back.
Following a huge backlash, Hallam said: “I am very sorry for the words I used. And I wish to apologise for the hurt and offence they have caused.
“My intention was the exact opposite of ‘downplaying the Holocaust’. It’s because of the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust that in talking to the German press, I was referring to it as the way to communicate the unimaginable tragedy of what is happening now today with climate change and ecological collapse around the world.
“I see now my cultural insensitivity. I understand that such a debate is obscene and offensive, in particular for all those who remain haunted by memories of what occurred and for all those who lost people they loved. I am sorry for the crass words that I used.”
However, he also added: “I do not feel the need to apologise for drawing attention to the genocide that is happening now. We must learn from the past, from tragedies like the Holocaust and other genocides, to prevent the horror of the near future.”
Hallam was due to speak on campus on Tuesday at 7pm, about “Our Responsibilities at This Time”, followed by a Q&A session.
However, Warwick JSoc published a statement on their Instagram, expressing their disappointment with the Climate Reality Warwick and the Uni, for allowing such a talk to go ahead. They said: “It is disappointing that the university’s guidelines and Climate Reality Warwick’s own due diligence failed to recognise the concerns of inviting Roger Hallam, founder of XR, whom has a history of Holocaust minimisation and trivialisation.
“We call for the University/SU to ensure that Roger Hallam is held to account and questioned for these views expressed.” They also offered their support to any Jewish students concerned or upset by the event.
Climate Reality Warwick initially posted a response on their story, stating: “We are aware of some of Roger Hallam’s views and would like to state we do not as a society reflect those views, and you are welcome to come and respectfully challenge his climate and non-climate related opinions in the Q&A!”
However, one day later, the society pulled the event and posted a second statement to their social media, saying: “We have made the decision as a society to cancel the talk tomorrow. When we were approached about the guest speaker, we were not aware of who he was until after confirming the event, and of course this is a mistake on our past for not checking.
“As a society, we condemn some of Roger’s statements in the past, especially regarding the Holocaust, and we don’t feel that he represents us as a society.
“We apologise for any potential harm caused.”
The President of Warwick JSoc commented: “It was disappointing and saddening to discover that Roger Hallam was invited and accepted to speak at Warwick during Holocaust Remembrance week.
“However, Climate Reality’s actions to cancel the event, in response to the concerns that were raised, was encouraging and greatly appreciated by the Jewish community.”