Documentary filmmaker, Lauren Southern is taking legal action against NSW Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi for deliberately connecting her to the inspiration behind the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting.
Faruqi used her parliamentary privilege last week to challenge Sky News executives over their employment of Southern, who Faruqi accused of promoting ideas that inspired the Christchurch terrorist.
I asked Murdoch’s executives why Sky News is employing someone who promoted the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that ended up inspiring the Christchurch terrorist who killed 51 innocent Muslims. https://t.co/2U2c3Likc6— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) February 19, 2021
The Sky News executives were mocked online for appearing to struggle to answer Faruqi’s questions. That’s through no fault of their own. They likely had no idea what Faruqi was talking about, because she was wrong at almost every level of her line of questioning.
First, Southern is not actually employed by Sky News. So, was Faruqi making it up, or was she handed bad information? Either way, it’s terrifying that a Senator with so much power can be so uneducated on the topics she’s addressing.
Second, Faruqi claimed that Southern “promoted the [Great Replacement] conspiracy theory that ended up inspiring the Christchurch terrorist who killed 51 innocent Muslims.”
This is wrong on multiple levels. The shooter was not inspired by the “Great Replacement” theory. In fact, he was quite explicit that his views on immigration were “dramatically changed” in 2017 while travelling across Western Europe.
“He simply used the theory as a catchy title,” Southern later said. “It was not his ‘inspiration’ nor did it cause the deaths of 51 innocent people. No more than Pewdiepie, Candace Owens or environmentalism caused the deaths of 51 innocent people. A horrible mad man caused their deaths. A horrible mad man who cited all sorts of bizarre political beliefs and theories.”
Third, Southern did not create or promote the “Great Replacement” theory, and she certainly wasn’t the first to address it either. Southern cited the author Renaud Camus in a video she created about mass immigration into Europe. A video, Southern has said, was inspired by an article on The Guardian called ‘The Last Days of a White World’ which stated that white people were going to disappear and be replaced by minorities in the next 50 years.
Fourth, the Christchurch investigation and report did not find Southern to be any sort of inspiration for the attack. In fact, she’s never once mentioned in the report.
Despite this, many attempts have been made to connect Southern to the shooter. In a now-deleted tweet, New York Times journalist Kevin Roose incorrectly claimed the gunman had even donated to Southern’s media company. After realizing this was not the case, Roose removed the tweet, but not before it was cited by various outlets as fact.
“Essentially, what Faruqi has done is attempt to connect me to the deaths of 51 people because the shooter and I said the same words once,” Southern said. “Her wording, to any normal person, makes it appear as though my discussion of this theory was causal to the act of terrorism, and she includes absolutely no clarification that this is not what she is saying.”
After announcing her intentions to take legal action against Faruqi for her comments, Southern was mocked by some who claimed she “didn’t understand parliamentary privilege.”
This is when Lauren Southern learns what “Parliamentary privilege’ is and we all laugh. https://t.co/f0owxJg87J— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) February 19, 2021
This is protected by Parliamentary privilege. If you’re going to live here at least learn the laws of Australia.— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) February 19, 2021
lmao parliamentary privilege honey— 2021 Year of the Leniu (@angusbacon21) February 19, 2021
What Southern’s critics fail to realize, however, is that the protections afforded under such privilege do not extend to Twitter.
Southern’s legal team have since sent Faruqi a Concerns Notice demanding a retraction and apology for her post which falls under defamation as it gives rise to the imputation that Southern had a causal impact on the murder of innocents. This is false, as would be the statement that Faruqi would have a causal impact on terrorism for saying, “Praise Allah.”
If Faruqi does not retract and apologize for her comments, and if it cannot be settled outside of court, Southern’s legal team have said it will be settled in court.
“I would expect more from a sitting Senator,” Southern said. “It is sad times when those who are supposed to be leading our country fall for such base-minded, weak, and defamatory political attacks.
“I would suggest Faruqi do more research before making these comments in hearings and consider her own position and the accusations made against her own community before she makes such irresponsible statements again.”