Joe Delaney from the Grenfell Action Group has said that those responsible for burning an effigy of Grenfell Tower should be attacked and ridiculed “for the rest of their lives” but they should not face charges “unless a racial element is proven”.
Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in connection with a model of Grenfell Tower being burnt on a bonfire.
- Read more: 'Sickening' video of model Grenfell Tower being burned condemned by fire commissioner and survivors
Mr Delaney told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that people should delete the video.
“Delete the video and if you know any of the people, pillory them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
“Never let them forget it... but I don’t think there should be criminal charges in and of themselves, unless it is proven that there is a racial element.
“In terms of what they said, I don’t like it, I hate it and I absolutely hate all those people.
“I would not want to give those people the time of day but I am very wary of the implications for free speech.
“But, I utterly condemn what they have said and I should be allowed to say that.”
'The callous tastelessness'
On Monday, footage of a large cardboard model labelled "Grenfell Tower" being put over a naked flame and catching alight surfaced.
Mr Delaney said the video had caused “deep upset” to Grenfell locals.
“Lots of people around here have been hurt and deeply upset by this video and the callous tastelessness that is behind it,” he said.
“It wasn’t just an off-the-cuff remark, this took effort to put together and that is what everyone is so dumbfounded with.
“Hours of work went into this and yet not one minutes thought went into ‘should I do this or not?’
“I am not sure it should be a crime, except the racial thing – if that can be proven – because I didn’t really want to listen to the whole thing myself.”
He added: “They are entitled to their speech. It is upsetting that it has hurt so many people in the local community but I am wary about jumping to prosecutions in this respect.
“It is the old saying ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I would certainly fight to the death to give you your right to say it’.”