The man who became internet famous for fighting facism with a milkshake says he is receiving death threats and is worried for his and his family’s safety.
On Thursday morning Danyaal Mahmud travelled from Blackburn to Warrington for a meeting with an occupational therapist. By the end of the afternoon he had become famous for throwing a milkshake over the right-wing activist Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.
Viral fame and videos of confrontations with the right-wing activist ensued, but at a cost, as Mahmud has explained to The Observer.
On a video call to The Observer, the 23-year-old explained:
I’m a low-key person, I didn’t anticipate this publicity and I don’t want it – I’m getting death threats on social media and I am worried about me and my family being targeted.
Mahmud explained he was walking through Warrington town square when he was invited to join protesters wanting to meet the English Defence League founder.
A well-deserved reception for Stephen Yaxley Lennon (alias Tommy Robinson) in Warrington today pic.twitter.com/zxIlC8iHUp
— Maz (@MazLFC5) May 2, 2019
The local councillor from Unite Against Facism (UAF) explained to Mahmud that Robinson was coming to town to campaign and they were there to tell him he wasn’t welcome.
I was the only Asian person there. All these people from UAF kept hugging me and telling me I was brave to be standing with them.
Mahmud recalled how Robinson and his entourage arrived in a Merecedes-type van and claims the right-wing activists targeted him.
Mahmud said Robinson asked him if he thought he was racist and he said ‘yeah’. Robinson was then said to have said ‘do you know 80% of grooming gangs are Muslim?’ which Mahmud countered, saying it was a false statistic. ‘What about white paedophiles? Why are they not called Christian grooming gangs?’ he added.
Tommy Robinson in front of a brilliantly placed sign in Warrington.
— James Edwards (@JamesEdwards_01) May 2, 2019
From there, Mahmud said Robinson ‘went off on one’:
I did join in with the protesters telling him he was scum, I admit it, but they [his supporters] had been really aggressive.
Mahmud alleged some of Robinson’s group were shouting a racial slur at him and calling him a paedophile and a terrorist. He said he reported the incident to a police officer and left for his meeting.
Mahmud said he was accompanied by a man from UAF because they knew it was dangerous for him to go alone. He expected by the time he returned in the afternoon on the way back to the station things would have calmed down. Instead, he said, he was met by Robinson and his supporters.
Tommy Robinson covered in milkshake… first in Bury… now in Warrington.
He’s loving it! 🥛🍦🍟🍔 pic.twitter.com/HjDS5twmrD
— Paddy N (@padswp) May 2, 2019
They came running after me. At that point I was scared for my life. I looked calm but I knew that I was going to get beaten whatever the outcome was. He said I’d assaulted a woman, which wasn’t true. He said that I was aggressive and I couldn’t do shit so I just threw the milkshake in his face and ducked.
In the footage which has since gone viral, Robinson can be seen punching Mahmud in the head and several members of his group enter the fray aggressively in reaction to the milkshake.
Mahmud said a police officer protected him from further beatings and was later dropped off at the train station. Cheshire police said they were investigating an incident following an allegation of assault.
— Mike Stuchbery💀🍷 (@MikeStuchbery_) May 2, 2019
The 23-year-old explained what followed:
I went straight home, then to the hospital for four hours.
I’ve got bruising and cuts on my back and a minor head injury. Even when I was in the hospital, people kept staring or taking pictures and I kept thinking, ‘what if one of them is a Tommy Robinson supporter? What if they come for me?
Robinson’s European election campaigning in the north has been surrounded by controversy. In Salford he was told by a woman he was ‘spouting any old shite’. The day before meeting Mahmud he was doused in milkshake in Bury. On Friday one of Robinson’s supporters allegedly threatened a teenager holding a milkshake, saying ‘I promise I’ll knock your teeth out’.
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Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.