Roger Hallam – the founder of Just Stop Oil, a far-left Briton climate activist organization – once downplayed the Holocaust as a “normal event” and said climate change was a more serious threat.
Hallam, who also founded the climate group Extinction Rebellion, said in 2019 that there were many other instances of cruelty in human history besides the Holocaust, in an interview at the time with the German news outlet. Die Zeit, according to The Guardian. After facing widespread criticism for the comments, Hallam noted that the climate crisis was another Holocaust on “a much grander scale.”
“The fact is, millions of people have been killed regularly in vicious circumstances throughout history,” Hallam told Die Ziet in the 2019 interview.
“They went to the Congo at the end of the 19th century and decimated it,” he continued. “[The Holocaust was] an almost normal occurrence. Just another f—ery in human history.”
The climate activist was then strongly condemned for his remarks deemed insensitive and unnecessary by critics. The German branch of his group Extinction Rebellion even ripped Hallam, tweeting that he would distance himself from his “disparaging and relativizing statements” about the Holocaust.
Hallam then backtracked, saying he didn’t want to downplay the Holocaust, but added that climate change posed a greater threat to humanity than the massacre of millions of Jews in the mid-20th century.
“I want to fully acknowledge the unimaginable suffering caused by the Nazi Holocaust that led all of Europe to say ‘never again,'” Hallam said. “But it’s happening again, on a much grander scale and in plain sight. The Global North is pumping deadly levels of CO2 into the atmosphere and simultaneously erecting ever greater barriers to immigration, transforming entire regions of the world into death zones.”
“This is the sad reality. We allow our governments to knowingly and willingly engage in the genocide of our youth and those in the South by refusing to take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions. .”
Hallam’s groups, meanwhile, have pushed for extreme measures to combat global warming and reduce emissions. Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion are committed to and organized demonstrations of civil disobedience to oppose new oil concessions and energy development.
Just Stop Oil has made headlines in recent months for blocking traffic in busy cities and vandalizing famous works of art in museums. Last month, two activists affiliated with the group dumped tomato soup on a Vincent van Gogh painting worth millions of dollars in a London museum.
“You will only be successful if you break the rules and break the laws,” Hallam wrote in an April 2021 essay. “You will begin to succeed when you shed the old people’s view of life.”
“You have to realize you’re going to get hurt anyway,” he continued. “Putting yourself into harm’s way is actually the only way to lessen the far greater damage that awaits you. When you act, your desperation will rise in resistance to the death that is set before you.”
Hallam implored his followers to “keep going day by day” and never stop.
Just Stop Oil, however, received significant funding from Aileen Getty, an heiress to the Getty Oil fortune. Getty was the founding donor of the Climate Emergency Fund, a California-based organization that funds the so-called A22 Network, an umbrella group that includes Just Stop Oil and similar civil disobedience groups in 10 countries, including the United States, Germany, France and Canada.
Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion did not immediately respond to requests for comment.