Radio host Nesta Matthews, who stars in a morning show for The Wave radio station in Saint John, New Brunswick, has apologized after calling to “burn the churches down” on Twitter.
Her original comments were in reference to the wave of church fires that have been happening all over the country. The fires are suspected to be linked to the announcement of unmarked graves being found near residential schools in Canada.
Nesta’s original tweet stated,
“Burn the churches down. Arrest any former staff that were actually there and any current staff that won’t provide documentation. Sell everything they own in Canada and give it to survivors. Dismantle it completely.”
Nesta posted an apology on her account Monday, stating she was “outraged” at the recent news on mass graves and let her anger get the better of her. She admitted her statements were “reckless and wrong.” The tweet in reference has been since deleted.
Nesta’s original tweet was criticized by many, including Toronto Sun columnist Candace Malcolm, who questioned whether the statement was “hate speech.”
However, Nesta is not the only semi-public figure that has advocated for burning down churches in recent weeks. Harsha Walia, an Indian activist and writer based in Vancouver, openly called for arson when she tweeted “burn it all down.” Walia’s words were condemned by many, but praised by some, with one Ontario lawyer even advocating for further arson. Naomi Sayers, a lawyer based out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, stated “I would help her burn it all down.” She went on to state, “I would help anyone charged with arson if they actually did burn things.” Sayers’ website indicates she practices criminal law, among other areas.
Sayers has come under fire before for her tweets, notably a recent tweet where she recommended sex work as a career choice for young people. She stated, the “best thing young people can do early in their careers is do sex work on the side.” This tweet landed her in hot water on Twitter, with some describing her post as “pathetic.”
On Friday, the Western Standard reported that there have been 23 attacks against churches – including at least five completely destroyed by fires, at least three damaged by fires, and more than 15 vandalized to varying degrees.
These numbers continue to grow. The True North has been keeping records of every time a church gets burned down or vandalized.
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