Comedy legend Magda Szubanski was targeted online by right-wing extremists after her appearance in an ad promoting Victoria’s lockdown measures, according to Australia’s eSafety Commissioner.
The ABC reports that Szubanski, who reprised her Kath And Kim hero Sharon Strzelecki for the campaign, was identified as the target of a coordinated shit-slinging session by the nation’s digital watchdog.
Appearing at a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the “volumetric attacks” – that is, bouts of large-scale trolling and online abuse targeted towards Szubanski – were designated as “coordinated right-wing extremist attacks.”
Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon was also subjected to vicious and coordinated online abuse, Inman Grant said at the hearing. That was an apparent reference to disparaging comments made by one right-wing agitator, which led to a South Australian Police officer slinging racist abuse her way.
Inman Grant’s comments suggest that Australian authorities are increasingly aware of online conspiracy holes and their ties to extremist ideologies, instead of assuming that people just wake up, log on to Facebook, and decide they’re going to lash a comedian for supporting a demonstrably life-saving measure.
Intriguingly, the ABC points out the abuse flung at Szubanski intensified when conspiracy theorist Pete Evans alerted his burgeoning online following to her TV ads.
Szubanski shot back at the time, saying that Evans’ fat-shaming fans were not “morally and spiritually superior”.
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