Housing group investigates ex-director’s ‘inappropriate’ covid posts

Marcus Hopkins ' picture on the Freebridge Community Housing website 

Marcus Hopkins ' picture on the Freebridge Community Housing website - Credit: Freebridge Community Housing

A housing association director says he has quit the role on health grounds and not because of complaints about posts he made on Facebook regarding covid. 

Freebridge Housing, which owns and manages 7,000 homes mainly in West Norfolk, said it had received a complaint about a “number of inappropriate posts” on social media by board member Marcus Hopkins.

“We immediately began an investigation,” they said.

However, Mr Hopkins said he had not been told by Freebridge which Facebook posts were deemed inappropriate.

Marcus Hopkins

Marcus Hopkins' profile on the Freebridge Community Housing website - Credit: Freebridge Community Housing

He said he had received a letter from Freebridge alleging some of his posts were racist and discriminatory, but said he had not been given any more information.

Mr Hopkins, a former West Norfolk councillor, said he had now resigned on health grounds after becoming infected with Covid in January and not because of the complaint.

In earlier Facebook posts, before he got Covid, he questioned the seriousness of the virus, sharing one post which described it as “the greatest hoax”.

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Last year he also posted offensive material about the McCanns, whose daughter Maddy went missing in Portugal in 2007. 

He also shared a post comparing lockdown to domestic abuse. One post he shared called “There is no pandemic” was flagged by Facebook for being “false information”. 

When asked by this newspaper about those posts he said he was entitled to freedom of speech.

A spokesman for Freebridge said: “As an organisation Freebridge treat allegations such as this very seriously.

“The investigation is still ongoing, however we can confirm that Mr Hopkins has resigned from Freebridge’s Board with immediate effect and is no longer a board member.”  

Freebridge Community Housing's logo on the side of its head office in Austin Street, King's Lynn. Pi

Freebridge Community Housing - Credit: Archant

They added: “Freebridge is a community based, values led organisation and we have the highest expectations that our board members will conduct themselves with professionalism, fairness and courtesy.”

Freebridge’s website also wrongly stated that Mr Hopkins was a councillor and a member of West Norfolk’s licensing committee. Mr Hopkins lost his council seat almost two years ago. A spokesman said this was down to an “oversight”. 

He was appointed to the board in 2017 through an agreement Freebridge had with West Norfolk Council.

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