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FACTSHEET: Kevin Johnston

Published on 22 Mar 2019

IMPACT:  Kevin Johnston is an anti-Muslim blogger and activist in Canada who ran for mayor of Mississauga with a pending hate crime charge against a Muslim community in Ontario, Canada. Johnston has owned, operated, and maintained websites, online media publications, and multiple social media accounts, which he has utilized to promote and reinforce his anti-Muslim activities and networks.

Kevin Johnston has a history of making misogynist statements and advocating violence against women. In a video published on his BitChute page in January 2017, Johnston referred to Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Iqra Khalid as a “creature” and “thing,” and stated that MP Khalid “deserves vast quantities of violence done onto her.” Johnston also described MP Khalid as a “hard core, terrorist supporting, ISIS loving, Muslim Brotherhood supporter/member, piece of dirt.”

In early 2017, Johnston released a video that has since been removed for violating YouTube’s free speech policy, in which he called MP Iqra Khalid a “terrorist scumbag and stated: “I believe that you are a terrorist. I believe that you are here to kill me, and kill my children, and kill the entire future of this entire nation.”

The day after she presented Motion 103, a non-binding motion passed in March 2017 that calls on the Canadian government to condemn Islamophobia, MP Khalid read in Parliament the death threats and hate mail she had been receiving. This included statements made by Johnston in a video originally posted on his “FreedomReport.ca” website, in which he stated: “I’ll be there to see you on the ground crying and complaining about the fact that someone shot you because they disagreed with Sharia law and the rape of children. And I’ll be there with a big fat smile on my face, saying, ‘Heh, heh, Iqra Khalid gets shot by a Canadian patriot.’”

In a video uploaded in March 2017 on anti-Muslim group Rise Canada’s YouTube page, Johnston can be seen rallying outside MP Khalid’s office in Mississauga, Ontario, along with the Canadian branch of the German “anti-Islamization” and far-right nationalist group PEGIDA. Johnston said he was “honoured that [MP Khalid] read what I had to say in the House of Commons.” Johnston accused MP Khalid of “infiltrating Mississauga,” described the Qur’an as “hate literature,” and encouraged people to “take up arms” through education (he specifically encouraged people to read the Qur’an, Hadith (statements and actions of Prophet Muhammad), and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

In a Mississauga city council meeting in February 2017, in which the city council endorsed MP Khalid’s M-103, Johnston and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie reportedly “got into a terse exchange.” Mayor Crombie asked Johnston if he had called MP Khalid a “political terrorist,” to which he responded, “That’s exactly what I said because M-103 is extremely anti-Canadian.”

In September 2015, Johnston launched an initiative to stop a mosque from being constructed in Meadowvale, Ontario through the now defunct website, www.stopthemosque.com. During a community hearing in September 2015 over the proposed Meadowview Mosque, during which Johnston testified, Mayor Bonnie Crombie asked if Johnston believed that the proposed mosque would lead to increases in vandalism, crime, losses of freedom of speech, sexual assaults and rapes, and kidnapping of young girls, as outlined on Johnston’s “stop the mosque” website. Johnston replied, “It’s what I believe but I’m not here to talk about that.”

In October 2016, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie filed a hate-motivated crime complaint with Peel Police after Johnston published an article in the now defunct Mississauga Gazette, an online publication that Johnston founded in 2015. The Islamophobic and homophobic article, which was titled “Bonnie’s Muslims Are Molesting Teenage Girls in Mississauga Highschools,” claimed that Crombie “is converting Mississauga into a dangerous Islamic war zone” so that “they could kill her son just for being gay,” and that Mayor Crombie “won’t rest until all girls in Mississauga are victims of rich rapists.”

In March 2017, Johnston offered a $1,000 reward for any secret video recordings of Muslim students praying during Jummah, or Friday congregational prayers, and hate speech during sermons, in schools in the Peel District of Mississauga, Ontario. Reporting by the CBC describes the cash award as a “video bounty.”

In July 2017, the Peel Regional Police arrested and charged Johnston with “wilfully promot[ing] hatred against any identifiable group” for “multiple incidents” over five months across “various social media sites” that “targeted . . . the Muslim community.” According to reporting in The Globe and Mail, Johnston’s online video content and “far-right” website “mostly focus on denigrating Muslims and arguing that Islam is a threat to the country.”

U.S.-based anti-Muslim blogs covered Johnston’s arrest and hate crime charge, including “Front Page Magazine” and Robert Spencer’s “Jihad Watchboth of which are publications housed within the anti-Muslim David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Johnston has been interviewed by the far-right outlet Rebel Media on multiple occasions. He was interviewed twice by David “The Menzoid” Menzies in March 2017 for Johnston’s activities protesting the Peel School Board for accommodating Friday prayer for Muslim students. During one of the interviews, Johnston stated that the Peel School Board has “committed the act of treason by assisting the enemy of Canada in spreading into our schools and indoctrinating our children,” referring to the religion of Islam. In July 2017, following his arrest, Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant interviewed Johnston in studio, in which Johnston claimed that Canada is “going to fall apart if I go to prison.” Johnston also co-hosted a radio show called “Rebel Yell” with Menzies.

Johnston ran in 2014 for Mayor of the city of Mississauga, which he has described as “ground zero for the entire Islamic invasion of the country.” He lost the election to Bonnie Crombie. Despite his pending hate crime charge, Johnston ran again for Mayor of Mississauga, coming in second with almost 13.5% of the total votes, behind incumbent Mayor Crombie. During his campaign, Johnston claimed that if Mayor Crombie was re-elected, “by 2020 sharia courts will be in Mississauga.”

In July 2017, Johnston and Canadian anti-Muslim activist Ron Banerjee recorded videos in front of the Mississauga location of Paramount Fine Foods where a Liberal Party fundraiser was being held. As described in court documents, Johnston stated in the videos that he had “deep concerns about the restaurant and finds it suspicious that it is in the middle of an industrial area” and that it is “little more than a front.” Johnston also stated that patrons had to have raped “someone else’s wife”; referred to the Canadian Prime Minister as “Jihadi Justin Trudeau”; and called Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was imprisoned and tortured as a child at the Guantánamo Bay U.S. military prison, “terrorist ilk.” He further stated that “Canada is the victim of Islam.” The owner of the chain, Mohamad Fakih, filed a claim in July 2017 with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and sued for defamation. Fakih and Paramount Fine Foods won a defamation case against Banerjee in December 2018, and against Johnston in May 2019 with damages awarded in the amount of $2.5 million.

In March 2018, Johnston advertised a national speaking tour with images of swastikas that described Black Lives Matter and Antifa as “domestic terrorists.” Johnston named several universities, public libraries, secondary schools, and even an Islamic Centre in Brampton, Ontario (in violation of his bail conditions) as his hosts. Some locations listed by Johnston denied involvement in the events, while others outright refused to welcome him.

Johnston has referred to the religion of Islam as an “ideology,” and has called the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCMM), a civil liberties and advocacy organization, a “terrorist, Hitleristic, fascist regime.” He has also claimed that Islamophobia is a “word invented by the Muslim Brotherhood to make stupid white people feel guilty so they could overtake the western world.”

Johnston denies the existence of a Rohingya minority and the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar. He claims that Bengali Muslims have invaded the Rakhine State and raped and killed their way into the peaceful Buddhist nation.” In an interview with American anti-Rohingya activist, Rick Heizman, Johnston claims that Muslims are killing Buddhists, and “NOT the other way around like all Canadian media are telling you.” In February 2018, Johnston began selling shares for his documentary, “Rohingya Lie.

In September 2018 during his mayoral campaign, Johnston live-streamed a video with right-wing, white nationalist journalist and then-mayoral candidate for Toronto, Faith Goldy. Numerous videos of their partnership propagating anti-Muslim and anti-migrant rhetoric can be found on Johnston’s BitChute site, including videos with titles such as “Removing Illegal Aliens And Protecting Canadian Culture” and “Banning Face Masks And Banning Radical Mosques.” 

Last updated: May 14, 2019

This factsheet is published in collaboration between the Bridge Initiative and researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University. More information about this project can be found here.