Threats of death and violence after Channel 4 programme Benefits Street

By Tom Pride (Pride’s Purge)

Benefit-StreetChannel 4 executives should be proud of themselves.

Their attempt to stereotype and demonise all of Britain’s 2.49 million unemployed by focussing on just 6 carefully chosen people and showing them in the worst possible light in their programme Benefits Street last night was so successful that Twitter exploded with threats of violence and even death against the participants:


The producers of the programme meanwhile defended it is a ‘sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal’ of those struggling to cope with austerity.

Not much sympathy, humanity or objectivity on display on Twitter however.

Isn’t there a law against this kind of incitement to violence in the UK?

If so, if any police officer would like to take this further, I’ve kept the names and IDs of the people responsible for the above (and more below) threatening tweets and I would be more than happy to help you with your enquiries.


Here’s my letter of complaint to Channel 4. I’ll let you know if I get a reply.

Dear Channel 4,

Here are examples of just a few of the threats of violence and even death against the participants of your irresponsible programme Benefits Street last night on Twitter:

“I want to walk down #BenefitStreet with a baseball bat and brain a few of these scumbags”

“Set fire to #BenefitStreet”

“Why haven’t they castrated these people. Creatures #BenefitStreet”

“#BenefitStreet they need to be put down like dogs. #scum”

This is possibly the worst example of irresponsible broadcasting I have seen for a very long time.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. But you won’t be.

Yours in disgust,

Tom Pride


UPDATE – here are some more threats on Twitter (thanks to @jadesaladem for compiling these):


Response from C4

Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries <>
Jan 8

Dear Mr Pride,

Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding BENEFITS STREET.

This is an observational documentary series following the lives of those living in a particular area of Birmingham, where the majority of households receive benefits.  The premise of the series is to offer an insight into their lives.   We believe the films show how people in diminished circumstances cope with the current climate of austerity and cuts in benefits and how the residents? community spirit comes to the fore in times of need.

Please be assured that all Twitter comments have been recorded and are being dealt with accordingly.

We appreciate you taking the time to write to us with your comments which have been logged for the information of those responsible for the programme.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.


Damien McCandless
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries


BSN Ed: Channel 4’s Benefits Street is discussed on BBC Newsnight, available to view here

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