During a May 23 2019 vote in the UK, early-morning rumors circulated that the latest in a line of milkshake-throwing incidents involved elderly British Army veteran Don McNaughton in the south England town of Aldershot:
Yet more disgusting behaviour. When democracy fails, civility ends. Let's get Brexit done and finish this. pic.twitter.com/nZjF6aVUbd
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 23, 2019
The elderly man was covered in a thick lumpy liquid during the attack, which took place outside of a polling station in Aldershot, Hants. In a video uploaded to Facebook from William Brown, the unnamed pensioner explained how a young man lobbed the milkshake over him. When asked who threw the drink over him, the man said: “Some yob, mid-twenties.”
He added: “He came across from the street, walked over to me, gave me the finger, went up to the co-op, got a milkshake and came back and threw it on me.”
Angered passer-by Lucy Blackman posted an image of the man on social media and wrote: “This poor man was covered with milkshake this morning by a disrespectful yob.”
The Daily Mail quoted the purported victim, who suggested that the alleged assailant was unlikely to come forward. That item also noted that CCTV footage was likely available from two adjacent locations:
He said: ‘Some yob, mid-20s, he came across from (a) street, walked over to me, gave me the finger, went up to the Co-Op, got a milkshake, came down here and threw it on me. Politics today.’
Mr McNaughton is thought to be a teller who had been sitting on a chair outside the polling station and recording the number of people who have voted.
‘It was just hilarious, absolutely hilarious. He came across the pavement, had a look at me and then [he] had a sour look on his face.
‘Then he gave me the finger. He went up the road and he was shouting obscenities at me over his shoulder but I couldn’t hear him clearly because I was too busy laughing. It’s so imbecilic, so juvenile. I couldn’t take it seriously.
‘Quite frankly, I think that fella now, with all this publicity, is keeping his head down in the trenches right now. If he’s heard about all this publicity, the one thing he’s not doing, is bragging about it.
The incident appeared to be one in a series in which far-right politicians were pelted with milkshakes in public. However, unlike other “milkshaking” victims, no corroborating evidence indicated McNaughton had been attacked as rumors claimed.
The next morning, the Daily Mail published an item about speculation that the Aldershot milkshaking was a “false flag”:
Writing on Twitter, [user @Harveyschmacker] compared the incident in Aldershot with the milkshake attacks on Mr Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, and Mr Farage in recent weeks.
Posting pictures of both, he compared how the liquid was splattered across them ‘from top to bottom’ and argued Mr McNaughton had much less of the substance on him.
Harvey wrote: ‘Look at the splatter from a thrown milkshake over Farage, the force from the milkshake flying through the air with high velocity has caused the milkshake to go over Farage from top to bottom.
‘The same large covering shows on Tommy too, also note in both milkshake incidents how the milkshake has a liquid consistency and trails down their men of the people suits.
‘Now back to Brexit Party Milkshake Man. Having a closer look, you can see how much thicker the milkshake thrown over him is, there’s barely any of the signature trails of falling milkshake like the previous example.
‘This firstly, puts doubt to this being thrown over him. If it was thrown at any distance he would show more of a covering, not just located to his stomach area. If this was indeed thrown, the unknown thrower was very damn close.
Other Twitter users pointed out inconsistencies in the stories:
Excellent. Then we'll know who's telling the truth, the man with the milkshake, or the person quoted above. He first claimed it was someone passing on a bike that did it, & then changed his story. He's happily posing for pics & refusing all offers of help. So we'll see…
— Miki Clem Fandango (@MikiB007) May 23, 2019
I’m no expert, but milkshake splashes don’t seem so concentrated in one area. I realise I’m in danger of becoming a milkshake truther, but this story is *so* convenient & well timed for the Brexiters pic.twitter.com/DhTioneTA7
— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) May 23, 2019
that's a very 'localised' spread of liquid. Normally, thrown milkshake covers a large area with lots of 'splatter'. I understand he has refused offers of clothing and lifts home to get changed. Could it be you have bought a bullshit story?
— Bartholomew Gant (@Ipodjockey) May 23, 2019
Now. Before we start. Nobody should throw milkshake at anyone.
Let’s examine the facts. He claims a man on a bike threw milkshake at him. Look how far away the road is. And note how there is zero milkshake anywhere on the floor.
Not a speck.
Please call Silent Witness. https://t.co/TAtXzezetd
— Emma Kennedy (@EmmaKennedy) May 23, 2019
Complicating matters further was the appearance of a GoFundMe campaign for McNaughton, which originally raised more than £14,000:
It’s so sad and annoying to see one of our valued war vets be dishonoured like Don McNaughton was today with another adolescent milkshake incident… the GREAT BRITISH people came together though and raised £14,000 for a new suit for him ❤️🇬🇧 https://t.co/bRNyvUMror
— Rikki Doolan (@realrikkidoolan) May 23, 2019
£14,000 raised should cover the laundry and a round the world cruise!
“Pay for Don McNaughton’s dry cleaning & send him on holiday”https://t.co/6FvK9OLVGz
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) May 23, 2019
As of May 24 2019, that GoFundMe campaign had dropped by nearly £10,000. No explanation was given for the reduction in funds raised. Tweets claimed that a refund of £10,000 had been issued to one donor:
— 🇪🇺 Dave Nolan #FBPE 🇪🇺 (@spaceforonemore) May 23, 2019
Having whacked up the brightness on the original screenshot, it looks like the refund was made to Michael Kelly..? pic.twitter.com/BaJtmW4cdL
— 🇪🇺 Dave Nolan #FBPE 🇪🇺 (@spaceforonemore) May 23, 2019
We contacted Hampshire Constabulary to request further information about the purported investigation into the milkshaking. They told us that they received a report from a third party:
We received a report at 10.06am yesterday (23 May ) from a third party about an assault on a man in his 80s at North Lane, Aldershot.
We are investigating the incident and have spoken with the victim.
As pointed out in multiple articles and on Twitter, CCTV footage of the area could easily substantiate the claim McNaughton had been pelted with a milkshake at 7:30 in the morning by a passing bicyclist. No such footage had yet been made available, despite multiple media and public requests.
We will update this article when more information is available.