Harlow charity dumped by Edinburgh Short Film Festival after appointing Tommy Robinson as ambassador for arts charity

News / Thu 16th Nov 2017 at 12:03pm


ORGANISERS of an Edinburgh film festival have dumped a major sponsor from Harlow after his trust appointed a far-right political activist to an honorary role.

On Tuesday, YH revealed that the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund (MMBF) had appointed Tommy Robinson as a goodwill ambassador, overseeing a £100,000 arts funding.


Soon after, anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate turned their spotlight on the Harlow entrepreneur.

The article raised a number of questions as it charted a course through the companies run by the Spinning Wheel Mead entrepreneur Matthew Martino (real name Mathetes Chiwai) and a number of Twitter accounts

The whole article can be found here.


YH has contacted Mr Martino. He did tell us he would return our call but he is very busy just now.

Now it appears that a reputable film festival has also severed connections with Mr Martino.


The Edinburgh Short Film Festival has cut all ties.

Festival director Paul Bruce split from MMBF after the Edinburgh Evening News got in touch – and promised to replace trophies bearing the charity’s logo for this year’s award winners.

A statement on their website said: “We’ve just learned that one of our awards sponsors has taken the decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as a ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ for their charitable work.

The ESFF is, and always has been, an apolitical organisation dedicated solely to the furtherance of short film.

We would never associate with any politician or political activist, let alone one like Tommy Robinson, and so we have removed all association with the MMBF from this date onwards.

We will also make good to the award winners any prizes which they have been awarded. The ESFF no longer holds any link with the MMBF and we withdraw any agreement to use our image, logo or any image associated with the ESFF, to the MMBF. We’d also like to make it clear that the MMBF had no role in nominating the film award-winners, who were nominated and selected by an expert panel of judges appointed by the ESFF.

The decision the MMBF have made to appoint this person is frankly unbelievable and has also come as a major shock to us. We, along with many other film festivals and arts events across the UK, have had a good relationship with the MMBF over the years and we have had no indication that this relationship was for anything other than the promotion of young writers, short film and short film-makers.

“Consequently, we will no longer maintain any association with the MMBF”.

YH has once again attempted to contact Mr Martini but has had no reply.

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