The Daily Express has written a disgraceful article about an unemployed single mother currently stuck living in a Travelodge hotel.
Titled JOBLESS MOTHER WANTS THE RIGHT TO CLAIM BENEFITS AND FOR YOU TO PAY FOR HER BIGGER HOME, the article is about Shanique Vickerman, 26, (pictured), who has been temporarily housed in the hotel in Newcastle-under-Lyme with her four-year-old son for the last five months.
Ms Vickerman is currently looking for work. She was placed in hotel accommodation by Staffordshire Council following a brief stay in the Elizabeth Centre for domestic abuse victims after fleeing an abusive relationship last October. Although she was born in the UK and her son is British, she grew up in Jamaica and her current immigration status means that she has no access to public funds.
Staffordshire Council are having to pick up the bill, which amounts to £400-a-week including food costs, while the situation is sorted out. Cue outrage from The Express who are keen to inform readers that Ms Vickerman is living ‘at the taxpayers’ expense’.
The paper tries to paint Ms Vickerman as a ‘benefits scrounger’ although it’s hard to see exactly what she has done wrong. She suffered domestic abuse, ran away and sought help and is now trying to get her life back in order with a job and a roof over her head so that she can raise her son. It’s not her fault that she is currently trapped in hotel accommodation while the public pays for it.
Like presumably any young mother, she doesn’t want to bring a child up in a single hotel room with no kitchen or cooking facilities. She has complained that it’s not a suitable environment, it’s causing her to have panic attacks and it’s affecting her son’s wellbeing. She also says having a hotel room as an address is making it difficult for her to find work.
But because Ms Vickerman wants to be rehoused in more suitable accommodation and is trying to get her legal status sorted out, The Express refers to her as ‘demanding a bigger place to live and the right to claim benefits’.
Unsuprisingly, The Daily Mail and The Sun also picked up on the story and reported it in much the same way. In each article it’s a ‘jobless’ single mum ‘demanding’ benefits and housing, playing into that ‘culture of entitlement’ narrative that these tabloids know inflames so many of their readers. The fact that Ms Vickerman is an immigrant of sorts is an added bonus to them.
Interestingly, all three reports treat the fact that Ms Vickerman suffered domestic abuse and that she is trying to find a job as incidental pieces of information.
The story quickly spread across far-right nationalist sites and social media pages such as Stormfront and Knights Templar International, including a Hitler-worshipping blog that changed only the title of the article. The main body was a verbatim repeat of the Express piece of work.
When actual Nazis are plagiarising from the tabloids, that’s when you know you’ve got a problem with the press being maybe a little too right-wing…
Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.