Latham tweet ‘offensive, crass, vulgar’ but not defamatory, court told

This case turns on the question of whether a plain language description of a homosexual act is defamatory. The person criticized in the comment was openly homosexual so describing what he does in bed was not news.  He had in effect already admitted to what he does. Clearly the use of plain language on the subject was not politically correct but whether it had any element of illegality seems improbable.

I myself have often wondered what there is to be proud about in "gay pride".  Why are they proud about doing what they do in the bedroom?  And if it is cause for pride, why can it not  be openly described?  It seems that the homosexual person described in this matter is rejecting the notion of gay pride.  He thinks describing a "gay" act is defamatory

A tweet by former NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham targeting independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich over his sexuality was “offensive and crass and vulgar” but it did not defame him, Latham’s barrister has told the Federal Court.

Greenwich filed defamation proceedings against Latham last year after the independent NSW upper house MP posted and later deleted a highly graphic and offensive comment on Twitter, now X, on March 30. Greenwich described the tweet as “defamatory and homophobic”.

Greenwich is also suing Latham over related comments he made to Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph on April 1.

The tweet led One Nation founder Pauline Hanson to remove Latham, a former federal Labor leader, as the party’s parliamentary leader.

On the second day of the defamation trial, which started in Sydney on Wednesday, Latham’s barrister, Kieran Smark, SC, said the tweet was “offensive and crass and vulgar, but we’ll have to grapple with it all”.

Tweet ‘didn’t wound reputation’

“What we say globally is that Mr Latham’s tweet may have wounded Mr Greenwich, but it didn’t wound his reputation,” Smark said.

This was not to deny evidence of the hurt and offence caused to Greenwich by the tweet, Smark said, but to “reflect upon the function of the law of defamation”.

“The concern, not merely a concern, of the law of defamation, is the protection of reputation,” he said.

“It’s such an unusual case because … in a sense it’s not a defamation case at all, on our contention. It’s a case about offensive conduct.”


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