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Google will have to compensate an Australian elected official defamed on YouTube


In 2020, John Barilaro was Deputy Premier of New South Wales when he was targeted by an Australian comedian, who goes by the pseudonym of friendlyjordies. In his videos, the latter accused Mr. Barilaro of corruption while imitating his Italian accent.

In court, the former senior politician collapsed while watching one of these videos, shot by the comedian in a luxurious house owned by Mr. Barilaro and rented on AirBnB.

I’m traumatized by it allsaid Mr. Barilaro while delivering his testimony before the court.

Towards the end of 2021, he had reached an agreement with friendlyjordies, whose real name is Jordan Shanks. The comedian had thus apologized and agreed to edit the videos, which have been viewed more than a million times on YouTube.

Google held responsible

For his part, Judge Steven Rares found that Google, owner of YouTube, was liable for the damage caused to Mr. Barilaro from December 2020, when the politician’s legal team wrote to the American giant for ask him to remove the offensive videos. The magistrate ordered Google to pay damages.

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According to him, these videos caused Mr. Barilaro to leave public office prematurely, when he resigned from parliament in October 2020, and considerably traumatized him.

The judge also found that Jordan Shanks needed YouTube to spread his poison and that Google was ready to join the comedian to earn revenue as part of its business model.

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