*warning: contains offensive language that some readers may find triggering*
Fashion designer and Labour councillor Philip Normal faced backlash this week after old tweets resurfaced, dating back to 2011 and 2015.
The historic tweets from the Labour councillor, which included a derogatory word for trans people, racist comments and one where he likened Muslim women to penguin, resurfaced online on January 11.
Normal, who is also known for his slogan t-shirts business, took to Twitter to apologise for the old posts on January 12.
Taking to Twitter again today (January 13), Normal reiterated his apology and announced his resignation as Lambeth Councillor, saying:
“I have today resigned as a Lambeth councillor and a Lambeth Labour candidate for Oval ward. I want to apologise again to everyone who I have caused deep hurt and pain to due to my past social media posts.
“I’m proud to have been a ward councillor for Oval and Mayor of Lambeth and I am sorry that my past actions from before I was elected have undermined the positive work that Lambeth Labour councillors do to advance equality in our diverse communities.”
I’m proud to have been a ward councillor for Oval and Mayor of Lambeth and I am sorry that my past actions from before I was elected have undermined the positive work that Lambeth Labour councillors do to advance equality in our diverse communities.— Philip Normal (@philipnormal) January 13, 2022
Normal, who represented the Oval ward on the south London council, made headlines in 2020 as the UK’s “first HIV-positive mayor”. He came to public prominence again last year when his It’s a Sin-themed ‘La’ t-shirts raised a staggering half a million pounds for HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust.
In the unsurfaced Tweets, Normal repetitively used a derogatory word for transgender people and, among other comments, likened Muslim women to penguins.
In December 2009, Normal tweeted: “And I saw the best bad t****y pushing a wheelchair in a gold pleated skirt blowing a whistle really loud! Ultimate Camden town Experience”.
Then, on 29 September, 2011, he tweeted: “Why do some Muslim women walk like penguins?”
Continuing: “I’m not being mean? Because I know there’s an issue in the healthcare system there…”
In January 2012, he posted that he was dancing like he was at a “very t****y wedding reception.”
In 2013 Normal tweeted that he used to live in Whitechapel – an “aggressively Muslim” area.
Two years earlier, he posted about how a Black man was on the 55 bus with him was not “sucking” his “d**k”.
In May 2014, he wrote: “You can’t say T****Y on Facebook anymore but you can on twitter. #T****Y”.
T****Y is our word,” Normal added. “We’ve used it in London for years.”
Several months later, describing another ride on the 55 bus, he said a “hairy Arab with big hands” was with a “young British blond girl” – calling them a “kinda hot couple.”
On 12 January 2022, one day after the old posts resurfaced, Normal took to Twitter again… this time to apologise.
Norman tweeted that he was “profoundly sorry for the content of some of my historic tweets.”
“Reading them now I am horrified and deeply disappointed in myself. They are clearly offensive and discriminatory. They do not reflect my views and values today. I have referred myself to the Labour Party for investigation.”
It’s a Sin star Olly Alexander called the resurfaced tweets ‘extremely disappointing’ in a retweet of Normal’s apology.
I am profoundly sorry for the content of some of my historic tweets. I sincerely apologise to everyone who has seen them and who I have insulted by their contents. 1/5— Philip Normal (@philipnormal) January 12, 2022
These messages were written before I was active in the Labour Party. Since being elected as a local Councillor, I have been a dedicated campaigner for equality and against homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, Islamophobia or any other form of discrimination. 3/5— Philip Normal (@philipnormal) January 12, 2022
Labour councillor pic.twitter.com/IEaexrEQdI— black lives matter (@jrc1921) January 11, 2022
@uklabour Time to root out islamophobic and anti Muslim bigotry in your party – these comments from a LABOUR councillor @philipnormal in Lambeth are disgusting. The Labour Party is an unsafe place for Muslims #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/SifCaPLha1— Nishat Siddiqi 💙 (@nishat76) January 11, 2022
I don't get too mad about dodgy twitter histories when the person was obviously just young and ignorant, but Philip Normal posted this at *age 28*, amongst other dumb stuff https://t.co/YBEUqpZmwP— Jake Roberts 🔶️ (@JWR_UK) January 12, 2022
As a Muslim "Tranny" you're not an ally @philipnormal https://t.co/lUNA8GzTog— Shaira Bambi (She/They) ⚧️☪️ (@ShairaBambi) January 12, 2022
This Philip Normal stuff is wild because it's not like one or two tweets. It's a whole catalogue of racist shit about Muslim people, Black people, all sorts.— A$AP Trotsky (@marcus_bernard) January 12, 2022
extremely disappointing https://t.co/WgdpmTBsAe— olly alexander (@alexander_olly) January 13, 2022