Politician files hate speech complaint over homophobic Facebook post

An Australian politician has issued a formal complaint over a Facebook post that insinuated he loved to be “surrounded by sweaty hairy men”.

The comments were made about Bob Brown, the former leader of the Australian Greens and a long-time environmental activist.

The Tasmanian Facebook page ‘Pro Tamar Valley Pulp Mill’, which supports the local logging industry, posted a picture of Mr Brown at a protest amended with a homophobic comment.

They added: “We have no idea why Bob would want to be surrounded by sweaty, hairy men.”

Mr Brown told ABC he has filed a complaint with Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner over homophobic language in the post.

He said: “It’s quite overt homophobia, and as such it’s trying to have a political advancement on the matter, in this case forestry and logging, advanced through homophobic allegations.

“It has crossed the line, it’s at the nasty and homophobic end of the line.

“I’ve been there before on a similar matter, the Commissioner found in that case the people were infringing the Tasmanian law, we came to an agreement, they publicly apologised and we moved on. But here it is again.

“I’m not in a mood to simply say, ‘oh well, let’s let bygones be bygones’ — again not for myself, for young Tasmanians who see this sort of stuff and it really injures them.”

Bret Lucas, the Facebook page admin who made the post, claimed that he “thought it was humorous”.

Though he told ABC that he apologised for offending Mr Brown, the page has since continued to post attacks on the politician over the incident.

They wrote: “First we heard of this was from an ABC employee this morning. After ten minutes and a 5 minute recorded interview it seems our comments are not worth a mention. Many people have suggested the ABC are slightly left aligned?”

In a release to PinkNews, Tasmanian LGBT rights activist Rodney Croome, said: “Life is already tough enough for young LGBTI Tasmanians without seeing a prominent Tasmanian mocked and vilified because he is gay.

“The homophobic abuse directed at Bob Brown shows why the State Government is making a terrible mistake by weakening Tasmania’s world-class hate speech laws.

“The State Government’s proposal to water down Tasmania’s hate speech laws will foster hate speech in the community because it sends the message that there are circumstances under which hate speech is acceptable.

“This hateful material is also a timely reminder of why it was such a bad idea to have a marriage equality plebiscite. The plebiscite would have given anti-gay hate speech the biggest platform ever.

“The person behind this material has done their cause a disservice because they are effectively saying their case is so weak they have to resort to homophobia to make their point.”