What is Lotus Eaters, and why is Liz Truss being interviewed for them?

What is Lotus Eaters, and why is Liz Truss being interviewed for them?
Liz Truss claims she does not want to be prime minister again
Sky News

Not content with being known as the shortest-serving UK prime minister, Liz Truss is now embracing conspiracy theories and cosying up to the populist right – to the extent she’s made an appearance on the “far-right” podcast platform Lotus Eaters.

Truss, who has also encountered difficulties promoting her new book Ten Years to Save the West, was announced as a guest on the Tomlinson Talks programme on Monday, ahead of her interview on Wednesday.

Tomlinson Talks is helmed by writer and political commentator Connor Tomlinson, while Lotus Eaters – taking its name from Homer’s Odyssey – was launched by right-wing personality Carl Benjamin (or ‘Sargon of Akkad’) back in November 2020.

A description on its website reads: “We aim to discover what is poisoning our societies and what the solution to these problems might be. Whatever is causing the rot eating into the heart of the modern world must be identifiable and able to be countered.”

The site also claims to offer “a more calm, thoughtful and nourishing alternative” to “the raging cyclone of clickbait, misinformation and misinterpretation” on other corners of the internet – with podcast diving into topics such as “straight is the new gay”, “everything is antisemitism” and “Sadiq Khan joins the far right”.

Benjamin has previously made headlines as a failed Ukip candidate for the European Parliament who was covered in milkshake while on the campaign trail in 2019.

He’s used numerous slurs, defended his use of the N-word by claiming he “[finds] racist jokes funny”, and sparked condemnation and a police investigation for stating he “wouldn’t even rape” Labour MP Jess Phillips.

The comment, made in 2016, came as the Birmingham Yardley politician spoke out on the rape and death threats sent to female MPs online.

After learning of Truss’s appearance on a platform managed by the individual who made these remarks about her, Phillips wrote to Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to deselect Truss as the party’s candidate for the constituency of South West Norfolk.

She said: “It is clear that anyone willing to appear on this hateful platform is not suitable to be a candidate for any political party. Even Reform UK deselected one of its candidates after his harmful views and work as a content creator for Lotus Eaters was exposed.”

Benjamin claimed on Twitter/X that he is being “attacked and misrepresented” by Phillips, and that “to brand Lotuseaters [sic] a ‘hateful’ platform is to have had no engagement with it".

Meanwhile the campaign group Hope Not Hate has said Benjamin has pushed claims that “the World Economic Forum is trying to control society”, as well as the ‘Great Replacement Theory’ which the Anti-Defamation League has described as a “white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-whites”.

Offering up her own conspiracy theories in her interview with Tomlinson about her book, Truss argued “the very foundation of Western civilisation is being undermined” and “destroyed from within”.

“Whether that’s the gender ideology which is trying to lie, fundamentally, about biological sex; whether it’s the de-growthers who don’t believe in progress … or indeed, things that we believe in like equal rights, freedom, democracy, when we’ve got people on our university campuses, on the streets of London, campaigning in favour of terrorists who want to destroy those very ideas,” she said.

She also went on to call for the scrapping of a number of laws such as the Bank of England Act, Climate Change Act, Human Rights Act, Equality Act and Gender Recognition Act.

The interview follows Truss’ appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC earlier this year, in which she blamed the “deep state” for the end of her premiership.

A spokesman for Truss said in a statement to LBC that the politician has "never met or had any dealings with Benjamin".

Elsewhere, when asked about the podcast, Sunak said: “I literally have never heard of this platform or indeed what has happened today, because I have actually spent most of my day doing what you have seen me doing, which is talking to people across Cornwall and Devon about what they are focused on.”

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