Megaphone man says he’s quitting as he sells loud hailer on eBay
Danny Shine was punched in the face during an incident in Oxford Circus
14 September, 2018
A STREET performer known as the Megaphone Man has vowed to stop “disrupting public spaces” for the foreseeable future and has sold his loud hailer on eBay after being convicted of a criminal offence.
Danny Shine, who has spent nearly a decade delivering his unique brand of social commentary on the streets of Westminster, said the decision to quit was motivated in part by the “increasingly violent and aggressive” response he received from the public, typified by a recent assault in Oxford Circus.
He said: “The conditioned masses have become increasingly violent and aggressive towards me. Recently, I was in Oxford Circus and I was making fun of a guy driving a flashy sports car. He stopped in the middle of Oxford Circus, got out the car, and, in front of hundreds of people, punched me very hard.” Mr Shine said he realised he had become addicted to “megaphoning,” adding: “I was addicted to the drama and I was heading for serious trouble.”
Over the years, the 51-year-old has taken aim at the giants of capitalism, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, the legal system and mainstream media. He regularly visited Oxford Street, remonstrating with commuters and shoppers.
He uploaded recordings of his speeches and amassed a loyal following online, with viewers supporting his critiques of popular culture and defence of free speech. But he had also invoked the ire of businesses and residents, who complained to police that he had become an anti-social nuisance.
This summer he was convicted of a public order offence and made to pay £800 after a trial at Central London Magistrates Court for “using abusive words and disorderly behaviour”. According to Mr Shine, a vegan, “what I actually did was say the words ‘jerk off’ once and moved my hand up and down in a gesticulation that was deemed to be disorderly behaviour and was found ‘guilty’. “Ironically I was describing the process of milk production and how McDonald’s and factory farmers forcefully jerk off the bulls and then inseminate the cows with the semen.”
Mr Shine launched a crowdfunding drive to cover the costs, which was met in less than 24 hours. The eBay listing for his 25w megaphone, which sold for £215, said: “I have now been made a criminal and I am hanging up my boots and retiring from doing this anymore.”
In a video to his 32,000 YouTube subscribers, Mr Shine said: “Free speech in the UK has been dead since the 1986 Public Order Act, which is a disgraceful, crafty piece of catch-all legislation that gives the members of the law society cult ultimate control over us slaves.”
The latest case was not his first brush with the law. Mr Shine was taken to court by Westminster Council in 2013 and in 2014 saw a case dropped due to a lack of evidence over alleged breaches of railway by-laws at Euston rail station.
All previous attempts to silence Mr Shine had failed. News of his retirement was not well received by all of his followers. One commented: “Really, that’s it? Come on man don’t let the system win.”
Another wrote: “If your not prepared to go the whole way, then you should have never started.” Others praised him for “changing the way I think” and vowed to pick up where he left off. “I’m moving to London next year and will be megaphoning, or at least speaking openly about what I believe is right,” Tyler Edwards-Tagg wrote online. Mr Shine has since lodged an appeal of the conviction.