Google Set To Pay Barilaro

Blind, Deaf; Dumb?

Google Set To Pay For Turning a Blind Eye: $715K Awarded To Barilaro

Google, the owner of YouTube, has been ordered to pay former Premier Barilaro more than 700K. Federal Court Justice Stephen Rares ruled that Barilaro had been left “traumatised” by a campaign of “relentless cyberbullying”. Comedian Jordan Shanks, whose handle is Friendlyjordies, published videos found to be “racist” and “abusive” on the YouTube channel in 2020.

Rares called the videos “allegations of professional impropriety”. Google’s decision to leave them online, amounted to what the judge called “improper pressure” on Barilaro during the case. “The intimidatory purpose of the hit its mark,” Rares found, pointing to evidence given by Barilaro. During the trial he had even instructed his lawyers to settle the case as “the hell continued”.

Rares said Shanks had run a “relentless cyberbullying” campaign against Barilaro, which “caused him to leave public office prematurely”.

Rares said the videos at the centre of the defamation trial conveyed “very serious and false” claims about Barilaro. The videos received hundreds of thousands of views from which Google earned thousands of dollars.

Barilaro received “thousands of hateful, some quite disturbing social media posts and messages as a result of the videos”, Rares found. This was including violent threats made against his daughter. “Google was part and parcel of this disgusting behaviour because it facilitated, published and kept up on YouTube this and similar videos.”

“All I wanted at the outset was for Google to remove these videos and they refused. It is no small undertaking for an individual to take on a company like Google but it was important that I did so,” stated Barilaro.

During the hearing Barilaro recalled telling his staff he was contemplating self-harm after receiving significant online abuse.

“The pile on, pile on, pile on, pile on. It’s hard to admit to your friends how you’re feeling. I did say those things and I’ve thought about those things often.” Barilaro told the court. “When you’re away from your family in your apartment in Sydney, up late at night deleting abusive comments.. I tell you what, you start looking at the balcony for a way out.”

Barilaro told the court that statements in the Friendlyjordies videos including repeated use of the words “wog”, “greasy” and “slimeball”. This made him feel as if he was at school where he said he suffered racist abuse because of his Italian heritage.

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