Google ordered to pay John Barilaro $715,000 for Friendlyjordies YouTube videos
The Federal Court issued the ruling this morning after Barilaro sued Google for a ‘relentless, racist, defamatory, abusive and defamatory campaign’ waged against him on YouTube for more than a year until his resignation as vice -Prime Minister in October 2021.
The two offending videos Bruz and secret dictatorship were created by Jordan Shanks, known online as Friendlyjordies.
Judge Steven Rares found that Google “made a considered decision” to keep the videos online, even after Barilaro complained about them as encouraging bullying and harassment for profit.
Google owns YouTube, which is its second most visited site.
“Google encouraged and facilitated Mr. Shanks in its vitriolic, obsessive, hate-filled cyberbullying and harassment of Mr. Barilaro before and after Mr. Shanks settled the defamation lawsuits against him,” the judgment reads.
“He did it for his commercial gain.
Rares further discovered that the videos caused a traumatized Barilaro to end his career.
“The publication by Google of the facts denounced prematurely expelled Mr. Barilaro from the service he had chosen in public life and considerably traumatized him”, indicates the judgment.
“Google cannot escape liability for the substantial damage caused by Mr. Shanks’ campaign.
“He needed YouTube to spread his poison.
“Google was prepared to join Mr. Shanks in generating revenue as part of its business model.
“He did so without regard to acting as a responsible or reasonable editor, who in fact intended to apply his policies to Mr. Shanks’ campaign, would have acted.”
The judgment further found that Google had no defense to Barilaro’s defamation allegations and dragged the case with defenses “that had no chance of succeeding, causing Mr. Barilaro additional distress, damages to his reputation and a delay in his justification”.
Barilaro was awarded $675,000 and an additional $40,000 in prejudgment interest.