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British Member of Parliament Austin Mitchell calls Pfizer 'rapists'

Mitchell has said that he will not apologize for his tweet and that the word rape can be used in many contexts.
By Ananth Baliga   |   May 14, 2014 at 12:59 PM

LONDON, May 14 (UPI) -- British MP Austin Mitchell is facing public backlash after comparing the Pfizer takeover bid for British drug maker AstraZeneca to rape in a tweet.

Mitchell, who is a veteran member of the Labor Party, likened U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer to "rapists" and has refused to apologize for the tweet, instead sending out other tweets to clarify his position.


"Naughty me. Substute [sic] rapaciousness before any more Physer [sic] defenders weigh in," is what Mitchell tweeted after the initial outcry to his earlier tweet.

Mitchell told the Guradian that he "should have used the word rapaciousness" instead of "rapists."

"If it needs explanation, I should have used the word rapaciousness," he said.

He added a third tweet saying that the there were multiple meanings of the word rape.


Conservative MP Claire Perry said she phoned Mitchell and said that while it was ok to get emotional about the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer, using rape as a corporate analogy was unacceptable.

Labor MP Stella Creasy wrote to party leader Ed Miliband asking what action he would take against Mitchell.

"I am sure you will agree with me that such a comparison is deeply offensive as it trivialises sex attacks and the horrific and traumatising effects such attacks can have on victims.

"I am clear that these comments are totally unacceptable and that Austin Mitchell must withdraw what he has written immediately and issue a full, unreserved apology," she wrote.

The British Parliament has been holding hearings regarding a proposal from U.S.-based Pfizer to buy British company AstraZeneca, and has seen a lot of reaction from members as well as the general public. The government is having to weight the benefits of allowing foreign investment while protecting British interests.

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