John Barilaro awarded $715,000 damages from Google over friendlyjordies videos

Former NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, has been awarded $715,000 in damages from Google relating to two YouTube videos.

The videos were made by comedian Jordan Shanks (Pictured) and published under the friendlyjordies banner in September and October 2020, and Barilaro took action against Google for its failure to remove the videos despite consistent requests to take them down.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the former Deputy Premier settled his actions against Shanks for an apology and court costs.

Yesterday a Federal Court Judge accepted that Mr Barilaro had been “traumatised” by the videos, and that Google had failed to take responsibility for its conduct as a publisher and had failed to apply its own policies designed to prevent hate speech, cyberbullying and harassment.

Justice Steven Rares said the videos constituted a “relentless and vicious campaign against Mr Barilaro” adding that “Although Mr Shanks styles himself as a comedian, his repeated use of such terms was not comedic. It was nothing less than racist hate speech.”

Justice Rares said, “The ability of social media entities to publish and enable the communication of such material without constraint is a matter that the parliament ought to be considering.”

 While Google had initially fought the case, it had reportedly withdrawn all its defence arguments prior to yesterday’s judgement.

Outside the court Mr Barilaro said he felt happy to be vindicated, saying, “You’ve got to be either courageous or stupid to take on Google, maybe it’s a bit of both.”

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