Mayor profile hacked to create racist abuse

Coun Jane Dowson, Lord Mayor of Leeds.
Coun Jane Dowson, Lord Mayor of Leeds.
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A mayor has spoken out against a barrage of social media abuse she received after falling victim to online identity theft.

Coun Jane Dowson, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, has been forced to speak out after her personal Facebook profile was illegally used to post an anti-Polish tirade.

Her actual Facebook profile picture, which is the Chapel Allerton ward member in her official council regalia, has been stolen to give the impression that the remarks are from her account.

A screen shot of the lengthy post, purporting to be from Coun Dowson, was then posted to her own Twitter profile, using her handle for the social media platform – prompting the backlash.

Police have now been drafted in to investigate the origin of the post, which is thought to have been in America, after some messages and posts towards the councillor appeared threatening and menacing.

Last night Coun Dowson, who has been left in tears by the trolling, said it was a “disgusting attempt” to incite hatred between the “incredible communities” in Leeds and she would be going about her council business as planned this weekend.

She tweeted: “I have NOT posted anti Polish sentiment. 100% fake. Police investigating. Proud 2 b Mayor 4 all communities in Leeds incl my Polish Friends.”

Last night she told The Yorkshire Post: “This is a disgusting attempt to stir up hatred between our incredible communities in Leeds and I would not usually give such appalling trolls the time of day.

“Anyone who knows me knows how much I abhor discrimination or abuse of any form of any community. This is a pathetic 
attempt from the other side of the world to cut and paste my image on a tirade of vile abuse.

“However, this has escalated into direct threats to me which the police are investigating and for that reason I’m publicly dissociating myself from these despicable sentiments. I will be continuing this weekend with all my planned engagements meeting the wonderful communities of our great city.”

Sarah Champion MP

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