Sydney, Australia, June 6 (EFE).- An Australian court on Monday ordered Google to pay former New South Wales deputy premier John Barilaro AU$715,000 ($514,000) in defamation damages over the publication of two YouTube videos.
Barilaro, of Italian descent, sued Google over its refusal to remove comedian Jordan Shanks’ 2020 “bruz” and “Secret Dictatorship” videos from his Friendlyjordies channel on YouTube, which Google owns, claiming they portrayed him as a “corrupt conman” and were “vulgar and offensive” and contained “racial slurs.”
Federal Court Justice Stephen Rares ruled that despite Google claiming to have implemented policies to combat cyberbullying, racism and hate speech, the tech giant allowed Shanks through his channel to continue his “offensive” campaign against Barilaro “to earn revenue as part of its business model,” according to the ruling published on Monday.
According to the court’s decision, Barilaro was left “traumatized” and was driven “prematurely” from public office in October last year when he was leader of the National Party in NSW and the state’s deputy premier.
“Google encouraged and facilitated Mr Shanks in his vitriolic, obsessional, hate filled cyberbullying and harassment of Mr Barilaro,” the ruling said.
During Barilaro’s legal battles against the tech giant and the comedian, Shanks issued an apology in open court last November.
However, Rares reported in his ruling Monday that he proposes to refer the conduct of Shanks and Google to the court’s principal registrar “to consider whether to institute proceedings against each for what appear to be serious contempts of court by bringing improper pressure on Mr Barilaro and his lawyers not to pursue this proceeding.”
After the judgment on Monday, Barilaro said he felt “vindicated.”
“It was never about money. It was about an apology, removal,” he said. “Of course, now an apology is worthless after the campaign has continued… It’s taken a court to force Google’s hand.” EFE