Instagram influencer fined $300,000 for assaulting rival

A Sydney food blogger launched a campaign of “tremendous ferocity and insults” against rival Instagram identities that resulted in him losing more than $300,000 in damages after a defamation lawsuit.

In its first trial under the defamation law reforms, the NSW District Court found that Fouad Najem had seriously harmed a man he had never met by falsely calling him a pedophile, a racist, etc. Certified.

Isaac Martin, 31, is known to his 300,000 Instagram followers as Sir Eats a Lot, but the post prompted him to turn down jobs and join a certain Sydney family for fear of assault. I said I started avoiding the area.

“The extreme nature of the allegations is an important factor,” Judge Judith Gibson said Monday.

“Few criminals in Australia are more hated than pedophiles. They are not even safe in prison. Calling someone a pedophile is at or near the top of the list of serious allegations The claim to be racist is offensive, but not in the same class.”

Najem denied that his four videos from April were incapable of conveying the alleged meaning or that they caused serious harm, but offered no substantive defense. the court said.

While representing him in pretrial matters, he did not provide evidence or attend the trial to defend the allegations.

In one video featuring promotional images from an NRL Indigenous All-Stars game, the plaintiffs were referred to as “pedo dogs,” who have a habit of “attacking Muslims,” ​​and of a race “averse to multiculturalism.” It was called a racist dog, the court said.

Judge Gibson said the “most disturbing aspect” of the “tremendous brutality and insult campaign” was Nagem’s address to his supporters and insulting Martin and his wife in a dehumanizing way. rice field.

Nagem reached out to Martin directly, telling him he was “going to finish[him]off” and telling his followers, “Everybody wants to troll this C***.”

“This is a hate education law,” said the judge.

Judge Gibson held that Nagem’s motive was to discredit his competitors, to find strong evidence of a widespread grapevine effect, and that the recent repetition of Nagem’s allegations on Oct. 9 was, in and of itself, said it could cause serious damage.

After filing a complaint with police and the Australian Cyber ​​Security Center in April, Martin decided to sue him for defamation for the most serious statements.

“When the police system failed, I felt that civil litigation was the last option to restore my reputation.

“To this day, neither myself nor my wife have apologized for the vile abuse and harassment he continued to share.

“I don’t know if he himself has yet accepted that what he did was wrong.”

Martin said he struggled to cope with it even as an adult and was concerned that his children would have to deal with this kind of behavior on a daily basis.

“The ‘it wasn’t that bad’ argument isn’t enough, because it wasn’t that bad until it was,” he said.

The court named Nagem’s account to turn aside any further claims that it was “so sensational, abusive and blasphemous that it should not be reproduced without the most compelling reason.” did not.

Martin was awarded $306,656 in damages, including aggrieved damages and interest. Nagem was also permanently restricted from repeating his allegations.

The case is the first to go to trial since Australia’s defamation law was amended to exclude cases in which the cost of litigation exceeded the damages. Plaintiffs now have to prove that their reputation has been seriously damaged.


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Instagram influencer fined $300,000 for assaulting rival

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