Following an investigative article in The Times, a British YouTuber has been exposed for his inflammatory remarks about Jews, all made using euphemisms and codewords to trick the platform’s artificial intelligence filters.
James Owens, 37, who goes by the codename, The Ayatollah, complete with a fake profile picture and a pretend accent, is described as being “Britain’s most racist YouTuber”, according to one member of an anti-fascist collective.
Mr Owens, who has reportedly referred to the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, as “our uncle”, seems to have described Jews as being “people who look white but aren’t” and called Jews “a group of people who tell you what happened to them but don’t tell you why”.
The latter comment is a common trope among far-right groups which suggests that Jews deserve to be persecuted.
Mr Owens has apparently spoken disparagingly of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, saying that “Zelenskyy is doing it for his people. We know who his people are. They ain’t Slavs.”
According to the investigation, Mr Owens believes that Jews are to blame for the “grooming gangs” who sexually abused and exploited young girls in towns in the north of England, as he claims that Jews imposed mass immigration to Britain and are therefore responsible for a significant number of the gang’s perpetrators, many of whom were of Pakistani origin.
Further, it has also been claimed that Mr Owens argues that growth of the transgender community derives from the work of Magnus Hirshfeld, a German-Jewish doctor.
Mr Owens was once an aspiring sports journalist who used to produce podcasts about football in his own voice. Since his apparent turn to far-right politics, however, Mr Owens seems to have used YouTube to cultivate fans across the world with his channel “Tollahvision – The Ayatollah”, which has received 414,000 views in over a year.
The only episode of The Ayatollah that YouTube removed derided the Labour Party MP for Tottenham, and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, David Lammy. Mr Owens seems to have claimed that Mr Lammy was a funded Jewish funded agent because Jewish lawyers offered him financial support in order for him to become the first Black British person to attend Harvard Law School.
Another reason that Mr Owens allegedly targeted Mr Lammy is that Mr Lammy’s wife, the artist, Nicola Green, has Jewish ancestry.
Mr Owens’s true identity was revealed after he accidentally announced that he was in fact The Ayatollah to an infiltrator at a neo-Nazi event and, during a YouTube video, explained that he made an appearance at a far-right gathering wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
The YouTube channel is also allegedly used to recruit members for the far-right party, Patriotic Alternative.
Patriotic Alternative is a UK-based group headed by the former leader of the youth wing of the BNP, Mark Collett. Mr Collett is reported to have dabbled in Holocaust denial, is regularly heard as a guest on the radio show of the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, David Duke, and has described the Holocaust as “an instrument of white guilt”.
The group is known for its efforts to recruit youth to its white nationalist ideology. Previously, the far-right group published an online “alternative” home school curriculum condemned as “poison” and “hateful” and attempted to recruit children as young as twelve through livestreaming events on YouTube, according to The Times.
The founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS), Fiyaz Mughal OBE, said that the activities of Mr Owens show that “The far right is gaming the system to get access to Big Tech.”
Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS) is a charity comprising British Muslims whose mission is to tackle antisemitism, and Mr Mughal appeared on Season 1 Episode 23 of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he discussed the growing danger of online radicalisation. The podcast with Mr Mughal can be listened to here, or watched in its entirety here.
In an interview with The Times, Mr Owens said that “I use YouTube to communicate with, entertain, and hopefully lift the spirits of other non-compliant white people, by which I mean white people who reject the psychological abuse, dispossession and humiliation of the present, anti-white order. I am trying to provide myself and the audience with a bit of relief in a very hostile, alienating world. I outright reject the concept of ‘racism’. It’s simply an anti-white libel, and a weapon of mass psychological abuse devised and wielded to keep white people from thinking and acting in our own interests while our sovereignty and our homelands are taken from us.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism closely monitors the far-right, which remains a dangerous threat to the Jewish community and other minority groups.