“I hope the river floods”: online hate speech towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

Thompson, Naomi and Woodger, David. 2020. “I hope the river floods”: online hate speech towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. British Journal of Community Justice, 16(1), pp. 41-63. ISSN 1475-0279 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities experience hate and discrimination in a range of public and private arenas. Online spaces are a relatively new outlet for hate against GRT groups, that fuels offline responses. This article outlines UK cases of online hate speech reported to Report Racism GRT, a third-party reporting site for incidents perpetrated against GRT communities, from its inception in October 2016 to February 2018. Our analysis found that online hate is primarily manifested through abuse on social media and often incited by the wider media. A key trigger for online hate is the arrival of new camps and a shortage of legitimate sites fuels tensions. We consider the need to ease tensions over site provision; for a more serious response to online hate speech; and to ensure that policy-makers and practitioners are aware of how they may be affected by problematic and racist assumptions about GRT communities.

Item Type:



Gypsies Roma Travellers (GRT); hate speech; exclusion; discourse; racism; online

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Centre for Community Engagement Research


21 December 2019Accepted
4 June 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Jan 2020 10:41

Last Modified:

10 Dec 2020 14:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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