Police launch hate crime probe after A4-sized posters saying ‘It’s okay to be white’ were plastered around Basingstoke

  • Residents initially ripped down the posters, but more have since been erected
  • Posters were placed along major roads and school routes in the Hampshire town 
  • Slogan was adopted in US by neo-Nazi groups and politically-organised racists 
  • The posters appeared in England for the first time in Bristol City Centre last year

Police have launched a hate crime probe after A4-sized posters saying ‘it’s okay to be white’ were plastered around Basingstoke.

The posters were placed on display outside a college, on lampposts, along major roads and on school routes in the Hampshire town on Thursday. 

Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed it is treating the incidents as a hate incident after shocked local residents alerted the force last week.

The posters were also reported to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the Highways Agency, which confirmed it would remove them as soon as possible.

Residents initially began ripping the posters down themselves, but more emerged in the following days.


Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed it is treating the incidents as a hate crime, with residents saying they are shocked as more have appeared around the town

Posters carrying the phrase were displayed outside a college, on lampposts on major roads, and on school routes

Many residents have taken to writing over the controversial slogan as more posters have appeared

ne of the posters put up around the town of Basingstoke, Hants, which has since been adapted

However, residents have now taken to writing over the slogan with a marker pen to make it read ‘it’s okay to be trans + dyslexic’ and ‘it’s okay to be gay’.    

Basingstoke resident Priya Brown told the BBC that she believed the posters were erected by ‘neo-Nazi and white supremacy group’.

The origin of the ‘it’s okay to be white’ slogan

 The ‘It’s okay to be white’ campaign was reportedly created on popular internet forum 4chan as an alt-right slogan in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The saying was adopted by neo-Nazi groups and politically-organized racists, including former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. 

The aim of the slogan was to create a ‘left-wing media backlash’ in response to a ‘harmless message’.

Posters originally began being place around American universities including the University of Washington and University of California, as well as the University of Regina in Canada. 

However, similar posters appeared in Bristol city centre in January last year – the first time they had appeared in England.

She said: ‘These posters were on school routes and a lot of people including kids have seen them.

‘My friend, who was walking the dog at around 7.30am, alerted me about it. Later I saw it on the way to school with my children. 

‘This wasn’t nice and it was on every single lamppost on Cliddesden Road.

‘Later I had a governor’s meeting as well at [Basingstoke College of Technology] and that’s how I found out that they were outside the college as well.

‘There were a couple of residents who were quite upset about it. They removed some of these posters. My friend’s husband also took down as many posters as possible.’

The ‘It’s okay to be white’ campaign was reportedly created on popular internet forum 4chan as an alt-right slogan in the United States back in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The saying was adopted by neo-Nazi groups and politically-organized racists, including former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. 

The aim of the slogan was to create a ‘left-wing media backlash’ in response to a ‘harmless message’.

Posters originally began being place around American universities including the University of Washington and University of California, as well as the University of Regina in Canada. 

However, similar posters appeared in Bristol city centre in January last year – the first time they had appeared in England.

 They did, though, appear in Scotland just a few months earlier. 

Police Scotland received reports of the slogan appearing in Dundee in September 2019, followed by Peth in December.

The slogan has also appeared on t-shirts sold by British far-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.

Cambride University-educated ‘super villain of the internet’ Mr Yiannopoulos, who used to refer to Donald Trump as ‘daddy’, became America’s alt-right poster boy after gaining a large following on social media. 

The slogan has also been linked to the ‘All Lives Matter’ campaign.  

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘We were made aware of a number of posters that were placed on lampposts on Cliddesden Road, New Road and near Basingstoke College of Technology.

‘Some of the posters have since been removed and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s street cleaning team has been tasked to remove them fully.

‘This has been recorded as a hate incident and were are now liaising with our local community groups.’ 

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been contacted for comment.  

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