Former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd has donated money to YouTuber Friendlyjordies’ legal defence after his producer was arrested for allegedly intimidating and stalking NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
ICYMI: Kristo Langker, the 21-year-old producer for Jordan Shanks (aka Friendlyjordies) was arrested by Newtown Police on June 4. He was charged with two counts of “stalk or intimidate intending to cause fear of physical or mental harm.”
Kevin Rudd has now taken to social media to condemn the actions of Barilaro in defence of “free speech”. He also donated money to Jordies’ legal fund, and encouraged others to donate as well.
The former Prime Minister gave a more detailed explanation about why he chose to donate on his website. It discusses the problem with Barilaro employing the NSW counter-terrorism unit to make the arrest. A unit set up in the wake of the Lindt cafe attack, mind you.
“Law enforcement agencies operate at arm’s length from government, but they know it’s the politicians who allocate budgets, appoint commissioners and writes legislation. For that reason, they should not just operate but be seen to operate in that way,” Rudd said.
“It’s not difficult to find an Australian whose complaint to police has taken forever to investigate for lack of resources, especially among Australian women.
“Against that backdrop, the visuals of police swooping on a comedy writer within hours of receiving a complaint involving the Deputy Premier is jarring. It could severely erode public trust.”
Barilaro is currently in the process of suing Friendlyjordies for defamation, accusing him of a “smear campaign” and “racist” attacks. That lawsuit stems from a number of videos where Jordies calls Barilaro a “corrupt conman” and also mocks his appearance.
In his open letter, Rudd said that these sort of taunts “come with the territory” and as Prime Minister he once found a reporter lurking in the church seat behind him.
Langker will reportedly appear in Newtown Local Court on June 24.