YouTube star Jordan Shanks has returned serve to John Barilaro hours after the Deputy Premier said ‘vile racism’ had contributed to his decision to quit politics.
Mr Barilaro said defamation proceedings he launched against the YouTuber, also known as FriendlyJordies, and Google played an enormous role in his decision to step down just days after Premier Gladys Berejiklian handed in her resignation.
He accused Shanks of spouting ‘vile racism’ marketed as journalism, noting the ‘disgusting, vile, racist commentary on social media has taken a toll’.
Shanks quickly prepared a statement which claimed Mr Barilaro used the press conference to ‘defame me as a racist’.
‘That in itself is a vile and offensive accusation about me that anyone following these issues can see straight through,’ Shanks said.
‘He dodged, weaved and bristled when asked about the substantive and serious allegations that our videos have exposed.’
The duo will go head-to-head in the Federal Court in a judge-only trial where Shanks has already indicated he will rely on a truth defence.
‘After a decade of proudly advancing his interests and blaming other people for his mistakes, what a fitting way to go out,’ Shanks said in the fiery statement.
‘He may be able to dodge questions in a press conference but I doubt he’ll be able to in a courtroom.’
Mr Barilaro will be represented by leading defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC and the matter is expected to return to court this month.
He said on Monday he hopes the matter will be resolved outside of the public eye and was outraged when asked who funded the legal challenge.
‘I’m funding it,’ he said. ‘I am paying the bill.’
‘As a young boy with immigrant parents, I understood what racism was from a young age.’
In one YouTube video, the entertainer referred to Mr Barilaro as a ‘big, fat, wog c**t’, ‘greasy Ned Kelly’ and ‘a conman to the core, powered by spaghetti’.
Mr Barilaro acknowledged the ‘defamation case is playing a big role in this’ and said he felt for all the young boys and girls who endure social media bullying.
‘As a 49-year-old man, it has taken a toll on me… It was started by disgusting, vile and racist commentary disguised as journalism… And that’s why I’m calling out Google, they’ve allowed this to happen.’
The father-of-three is proud of his Italian heritage and the sacrifices his parents made for him growing up, citing his late father as his ‘biggest inspiration’ for getting into politics.
Mr Barilaro’s father, Domenico, died in 2020 after a long-fought battle with diabetes.
The father-of-three is proud of his heritage and the sacrifices his parents made for him growing up, citing his late father as his ‘biggest inspiration’ for getting into politics
‘Though he was a strong man the end was grim, with his part of his leg amputated, we watched him die in excruciating pain,’ Mr Barilaro said when justifying his support for an assisted dying bill.
‘I’ve said in my inaugural speech to Parliament that dad was my hero and I said it during my eulogy.’
On Monday, he said his decision to retire from politics felt like a ‘final goodbye’ to the man who first inspired him to enter public service.
Shanks’ supporters were quick to throw their backing behind the YouTuber, who also recently called outgoing Premier Gladys Berejiklian a ‘koala killer’.
Ms Berejiklian’s bombshell resignation was announced at 1pm on Friday, immediately following the new the Independent Commission in Corruption had launched a probe the dealings she had with her disgraced ex-boyfriend Daryl Maguire MP.
Huddled with her closest allies and friends, the NSW premier almost decided to defiantly weather the storm before she ran out of options.
Then she stood up in front of TV cameras and, barely holding it together, announced she was stepping down and quitting parliament.
‘Resigning at this time is against every instinct in my being and something which I do not want to do,’ she said.
The ICAC will look into whether she breached public trust by not reporting suspicion of corrupt conduct of former boyfriend Daryl Maguire.
There will be consideration into what role, if any, she played in two government grants handed out in Mr Maguire’s electorate.
In August it emerged that Ms Berejiklian showed ‘interest’ in a proposed $5.5 million grant for a shooting association clubhouse and conference facility in her former lover’s electorate, documents show.
But the ex-premier continues to insist she’s done nothing wrong.
The public inquiry on the matter will be held for about 10 days from October 18, overseen by Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl SC.
Mr Barilaro worked closely alongside Ms Berejiklian
John Barilaro’s colourful life in politics
May 2020: Private text messages sent from John Barilaro emerged calling Liberal colleague Andrew Constance a ‘c**t’.
The scandal prompted Mr Constance to withdraw from contesting the federal seat of Eden-Monaro and remain in state politics.
”When I said politics is stuffed in this country, and some of the people in it need to have a long hard look, I meant it. I hadn’t signed up to contest federally to be called that type of smear,’ he said at the time.
September 2020: Mr Barilaro and Ms Berejiklian butt heads over a change to the Koala protection bill following the worst bushfires in NSW history.
The Koala Habitat Protection State Environment Planning Policy identified 123 trees that were needed as food or shelter for the animals.
Mr Barilaro said the policy would be taking away land from farmers.
‘If we were to support that we would become the laughing stock of regional and rural NSW,’ he said.
The two party leaders later agreed to amendments of the bill, which Mr Barilaro declared a win for the Nationals and regional NSW.
May 2021: Mr Barilaro – fed up with being called corrupt and a ‘greasy Ned Kelly’ – is suing Google and the man behind YouTube channel friendlyjordies.
Entertainer Jordan Shanks-Markovina, whose channel boasts more than 130 million views, is also accused of falsely making out the NSW Nationals leader has blackmailed councillors and pocketed millions stolen from a local government.
The MP is of Italian heritage and his hurt and harm has been aggravated by Shanks-Markovina’s ‘vile and racist attack’ in the videos.
In one video, the entertainer refers to Mr Barilaro as a ‘big, fat, wog c**t’, ‘greasy Ned Kelly’ and ‘a conman to the core, powered by spaghetti’.