The campaigner behind the Sadiq Khan bikini blimp has said he doesn’t think it would have been permitted to fly if it depicted a “baby Obama”.
Yanny Bruere joined James Whale on his talkRADIO show and said the blimp idea came about as he wanted to “test the boundaries of free speech”.
- Read more: Sadiq Khan responds to blimp protest: 'If people want to look at me in a yellow bikini they’re welcome'
- Read more: Opinion: Sadiq Khan allowed the Trump Baby blimp - so why did be ban those 'beach body' ads?
“We know when we did this we were testing the boundaries of free speech, whether Sadiq Khan would permit this,” said sales manager Bruere, 28.
“We’re trying to raise awareness of crime in London, hence the ‘Make London Safe Again’.”
Bruere has been vocal about how he thinks crime has risen since Khan took office as Mayor of London in 2016.
- Read more: Chuka Umunna: Politicians are failing to deal with youth crime
- Read more: UK sees increase in murders and knife crime, official figures show
The Metropolitan Police's year-end crime statistics show a total of 777,458 recorded offences of all types in the financial year 2016-17, and 827,225 in the financial year 2017-18.
'You can only speak out against certain things'
Bruere told Whale he thought there were “certain things” that it was frowned upon to speak out about.
“I don’t think this [the blimp] would have been allowed if it was a baby Obama, for example,” he said.
“I think most people know deep down it would have been declined.”
“If it was a baby Obama, if someone wanted to do it when Obama was around, I’m sure nobody would have been that bothered,” replied Whale.
“I’m sure they would have been,” Bruere argued.
“In this country, you can only speak out against certain things, as soon as you start to speak out against different things…
“It can be anything, for example, I put a tweet out about how the police conduct themselves at Pride events and suddenly I’m called homophobic. No, I’m just concerned the police are getting involved in political activity when they shouldn’t be.”
He went on to explain that he didn’t think policemen should be “dancing... when there’s crime epidemics”.
Earlier in the conversation, Whale quizzed Bruere about tweets sent from a now-deleted Twitter account that belonged to him, that led to Bruere being accused of antisemitism.
One of tweets included the hashtag #jewsruntheworld.
“Look, I’m pro Israel, I’ve been pro Israel for quite a while now,” said Bruere.
“Maybe I’ve criticised Israeli policies, one thing in 28 years, in one tweet.
“People are trying to discredit the whole movement for some unknown reason. Why they’d want to go after someone who’s not got any political affiliations, who’s not standing for office, I’m not too sure.”
“You’re making yourself into a personality by doing this, looking at some of the things you’ve said on social media, you’re not short of your opinions,” Whale responded.
'Can't control who supports the movement'
“Obviously you expect scrutiny when you come into this kind of role, but I started it in humour, to test the free speech boundaries. That’s what we’re doing this weekend,” Bruere said.
He said that he was “not affiliated to any party”, and when quizzed about the people who’d retweeted or supported his campaign - including Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson, Katie Hopkins and former Young BNP leader Mark Collett - he said: “Someone told me about this, I’ve never heard of him, and there was another woman, Pamela [Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which has been accused of being anti-Muslim].”
Bruere added: “I can’t control who supports the movement.”
The crowdfunder for the blimp has raised £59,452. It will fly in Parliament Square on September 1 from 9.30am-11.30am.
Watch the full interview above.