Social media users misidentify woman who threw milkshake at Reform U.K. leader Nigel Farage

By: Ishita Goel
June 6 2024

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Social media users misidentify woman who threw milkshake at Reform U.K. leader Nigel Farage

A screenshot of a social media post falsely claiming to show Emily Hewertson threw a milkshake on Nigel Farage. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Emily Hewertson did not throw a milkshake at Farage. A woman named Victoria Thomas Bowen has been charged.

Claim ID 3755853b

On June 4, 2024, Reform Party leader Nigel Farage was allegedly assaulted while campaigning in Clacton, England. 

The incident came a day after he announced he would take up the role of Reform leader and stand to try to win the constituency seat. A woman threw a milkshake from a McDonald's cup on Farage's face, which spilled over his suit and jacket. Farage was coming out of a pub after giving media interviews when this incident occurred.

What is the claim?
Following this, a viral narrative claimed the incident was staged and that a woman named Emily Hewertson was behind the act. Social media users shared a picture of the milkshake being thrown by someone and Hewertson, alleging she is the person in the picture. In another image, we can also see Hewertson with Farage. 

Social media users shared these images and wrote, "Did Nigel Farage stage getting a milkshake in the face to drum up publicity for his political campaign?" Another said, "Was #milkshake staged? Noticed how nobody rushed her like they did the previous guys that splashed him with milkshakes? They knew she was there. This is Emily Hewertson, girlfriend of reformparty_uk press officer?" Archives of these posts can be seen here, here, and here.

Screenshot of the viral social media posts. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, these claims are false. A different woman, Victoria Thomas Bowen, has been charged by police with assault. 

What are the facts?
According to reports, Essex Police arrested a woman, Victoria Thomas Bowen, 25, on suspicion of the assault. She was later charged. We found that several media organizations like The Telegraph and The Times reported on the incident, saying that the woman in question spoke to the BBC, identifying her as "Victoria."

BBC News confirmed to Logically Facts that "BBC News spoke to the woman, who gave her name as Victoria." The BBC also added that speaking about the incident, the woman claimed, "She didn't come down to Farage's launch to throw the liquid, but just felt like it." She reportedly added, "He doesn't stand for me; he doesn't represent anything I believe in or any of the people around here. He doesn't represent us; he's not from here." We found no evidence that the incident was staged by the Reform UK party.

On June 6, the BBC reported that the woman accused of an assault, 25-year-old Victoria Thomas Bowen, is scheduled to appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, July 2. This comes after she was charged with assault by beating and criminal damage over the incident.

What about Emily Hewertson?
Hewertson, on June 5, posted on X (archived here) thanking people for supporting her and wrote, "I hope this is a lesson in how quickly an unsubstantiated lie about an individual can spread on social media. People should not be allowed to get away with politically-motivated, malicious smear campaigns like this. I thought journalists, in particular, would know better." In a follow-up post on the same thread, she also issued clarifications about other claims being made about her personal life.

She also posted (archived here) a screenshot of what she said was a clarification request by Mail Online and wrote, "No, I did not throw a milkshake over Nigel Farage." 

Further, on June 4, the day of the incident, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Wolverhampton North East, Jane Stevenson, posted a video on X (archived here) with Hewertson and wrote, "Sorry Twitter... @emilyhewertson did not throw a milkshake over @Nigel_Farage today. She's in Wolverhampton." In the video, we can hear her say that Hewertson was in Wolverhampton working at her office when the incident occurred. Further, the camera pans and shows Hewertson as well.

Not a first for Farage
Back in 2019, a man threw a milkshake at Farage in Newcastle. Farage had given a speech before the European elections in June 2019 when this happened. Paul Crowther, a 32-year-old man, pleaded guilty to common assault and criminal damage at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

In 2014, a protester threw an egg at Farage, then leader of the U.K. Independence Party, while he was on a campaign visit to Nottingham.

The verdict
Victoria Thomas Bowen has been charged with assault in connection with the incident. Hewertson is unconnected with what happened. 

(Correction: An earlier version of this fact-check mistakenly identified Emily Hewertson as a House of Commons press officer. However, a media relations manager at the House of Commons has clarified that she is not associated with them and is employed by former Conservative MP for Wolverhampton North East, Jane Stevenson. The story was updated on June 7 to reflect the same. Error is regretted.)

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