Chet Walken is no ordinary bile-spewing racist. Over the past few days the self-described “Christian Conservative” from Houston, TX has somehow engendered the raging hatred of the entire British Twittersphere. Even soccer star Wayne Rooney has delivered a verdict on Walken: “u are a sick person. U should be ashamed of yourself. U make me sick.”
Why? On March 17, Walken targeted his bumbling hate-speech on English soccer player Fabrice Muamba, and, in the process, stumbled into an ongoing story that has shocked and captivated Britain and the sporting world at large.
Muamba, who plays for Bolton in the English Premier League, suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field as millions watched on television on March 17. His heart stopped beating on its own for 78 minutes. Athletes, media, and most of Britain rallied around him.
Walken had a different take.
“Some ni**er named #Muamba is about to die,” Walken tweeted. (The asterisks were added by the Daily Dot.) “I reckon he shoulda stopped huffin that Jenkum a long time ago. One less jiggaboo if you ask me.”
That was the beginning of a stream of racist screeds against Muamba and black people in general. For instance: “The only reason the UK even cares about Muamba is because he can kick a soccer ball. He would just be another ni**er otherwise. Sad.”
It was as if a drunken, hate-slinging Ku Klux Klan member had stumbled into Muamba’s public waiting room. The British Twittersphere was outraged.
“Report @Walken4GOP,” actor Jake Roach tweeted to his 11,000 followers on March 17. “Get this man in prison. Or hospital. RT and read his timeline.”
That message was in turn retweeted 155 times, according to social media search engine Topsy, including a retweet by actor James Sutton, who has more than 30,000 followers. With that little push, it didn’t take long for the anti-Walken snowball to get rolling.
Before his tweet about Muamba, Walken averaged about a dozen or so mentions a day on Twitter and had about 1,000 followers. Since then, Twitter users have mentioned him 30,000 times, according to Topsy. He’s jumped to nearly 7,000 followers.
That may be why so many on Twitter are calling for the site to ban Walken. Many are passing around Twitter’s abusive user report form, but that’s not likely to do any good. As the form’s own guidelines warn: “Twitter does not pre-screen content and we do not remove potentially offensive content.” (Twitter did not respond to request for comment on this story.)
Oddly enough, Walken enough may have presented the best solution to the problem he started.
“If yall dont like what I got to say, please just click that little block button and shut your ni**er loving mouths. I’m tired of hearing it,” Walken tweeted on March 19.
Forget about the hate speech in that sentence for a moment and just follow his advice: Press the block button.
Ignore him, and he’ll go away.
Image via Chet Walken