Outgoing Liberal MP Andrew Laming threatened to sue a website run by The Chaser as well as randoms who tweeted about him, all because they used the word “upskirt,” Guardian Australia reports.
Laming told PEDESTRIAN.TV “we don’t comment on matters before the court,” but on Wednesday Marque Lawyers claimed that the MP had sent defamation concerns notices to a bunch of different people.
“Apparently he considers that his reputation has been damaged by things people other than him have said and done,” the law firm tweeted.
Andrew Laming has been sending defamation concerns notices to tweeters for making him sad. Apparently he considers that his reputation has been damaged by things people other than him have said and done.
— marquelawyers (@marquelawyers) June 8, 2021
It all boils back to March this year when Brisbane woman Crystal White publicly accused Laming of snapping a photo of her bending over without consent back in 2019.
Laming admitted to having taken the photo, but insisted it was not upskirting and rather “taken from a distance, showing the worker in a dignified position on both knees.”
A legal threat seen by Guardian Australia noted that the woman was wearing pants at the time, rather than a skirt, and that Queensland Police had cleared him over the incident.
One such person who received a letter from Laming was blogger and former Labor staffer Peter Wicks, who told the website that he “[doesn’t] see any need to apologise.”
On the other hand, news website The Shot, which is published by The Chaser (get it… shot, chaser) did issue an apology on Tuesday.
“In May 2021, The Shot published an article containing statements suggesting that Andrew Laming MP had taken upskirt photos. The Shot apologises for publishing these statements, which have now been withdrawn,” the statement from The Shot reads.
“We appreciate the feedback and we’ll strive to be more thorough in our future coverage on the topic of sexual assault.
“We recognise such topics require a higher level of diligence in reporting and we’d like to apologise to anyone whose experience might have been minimised by this mistake.”
In May 2021, The Shot published an article containing statements suggesting that Andrew Laming MP had taken upskirt photos. The Shot apologises for publishing these statements, which have now been withdrawn.
— The Shot (@shot_au) June 8, 2021
Previously, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and ABC journo Louise Milligan deleted tweets in which they made references to upskirting while referring to the allegations against Laming.
All of ~this~ comes off the back of a particularly strife-filled year for Laming.
He was subsequently sent to sensitivity training before conveniently sharing an ADHD diagnosis. Laming refused to leave parliament amid the multiple allegations and controversies, but did agree not to recontest the next election in 2022.
While The Shot – the website run by The Chaser – has retracted its use of the term “upskirt,” we’ll have to wait and see what the other people who received defamation concerns notices do.Image: Getty Images / Sam Mooy