NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham has argued his graphic, homophobic tweet about Alex Greenwich “enhanced”, rather than harmed, the gay Sydney MP’s reputation.
Alex Greenwich sued Mark Latham for defamation over the gratuitous March 22 tweet targeting the gay politician and describing explicit sex acts.
Latham is arguing the tweet was in response to Greenwich calling Latham a “disgusting human being” in the Sydney Morning Herald after queer protesters were attacked outside a Sydney church hall where Latham was speaking.
In his defence against the defamation action, filed in the Federal Court, Latham denied his tweet caused serious harm to Greenwich’s reputation.
At the time, public figures from Latham’s One Nation boss Pauline Hanson to NSW Labor Premier Chris Minns all condemned Latham over the tweet and supported Greenwich.
Latham is arguing those “statements of support for Greenwich and criticisms of Latham” had “enhanced and not damaged” his reputation, AAP reported.
The One Nation MP later deleted the tweet but also spoke to the Daily Telegraph, which published more quotes from Latham about Greenwich.
Greenwich alleged both the tweet and the statements to Telegraph were defamatory because they implied he engaged in “disgusting sexual acts” as well as painted him as someone who “goes to schools to groom children to become homosexual” and as a result he wasn’t a fit and proper person to be a member of state parliament.
The gay MP claimed after Latham’s comments he’d copped hatred, contempt and ridicule as a result, and his personal and professional reputation has been “gravely injured”.
Mark Latham denies his comments were defamatory
Mark Latham denied that his comments conveyed the defamatory imputations.
The One Nation state leader also argued his comments were related to a matter of public interest and he had a right to respond about a “highly topical political issue” of the day. He also argued the comments were his “honest opinion” at the time.
The first hearing in the defamation action is in the Federal Court on September 25.
Alex Greenwich also earlier made a formal complaint to NSW Police. He alleged Mark Latham used a carriage service to “menace, harass or cause offence”.
Greenwich also lodged a complaint of homosexual vilification with Anti-Discrimination NSW.
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