John Pesutto Apologises To Kellie-Jay Keen For Nazi Comments After Melbourne Anti-Trans Rally

John Pesutto Apologises To Kellie-Jay Keen For Nazi Comments After Melbourne Anti-Trans Rally
Image: Moira Deeming & Kellie-Jay Keen, via Youtube

Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto has issued a public apology to anti-transgender activist Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker, and Melbourne’s Angela Jones.

Keen and Jones sued Pesutto for defamation for comments he made regarding last year’s ‘Let Women Speak’ anti-trans rally in Melbourne, which was attended by neo-Nazis.

The public apology means that Pesutto has now settled two of his three defamation cases out of court.

Pesutto’s comments were made on ABC’s 7.30 program, after which the ABC published a clarification stating:

“Some viewers may have understood the interview to suggest that Kellie-Jay Keen, who was not named in the interview, who organised the Melbourne ‘Let Women Speak’ event, has associations with neo-Nazis.

“The ABC understands Ms Keen denies any association with neo-Nazis and the ABC does not endorse any imputation that may have been conveyed to that effect.”

Pesutto issues public apology

In the early hours of this morning, Pesutto released his public apology to Keen and Jones as organisers of the rally.

The apology states that he never intended to tie Keen and Jones to the Nazi ideology, and that he endorses conversation about “single-sex spaces”.

“Kellie-Jay Keen and Angela Jones are passionate women’s rights activists with long histories of advocacy in Australia and internationally. I agree with them that genuine community concerns regarding women’s safety and access to single-sex spaces, services and sport warrant meaningful public discussion.

“I strongly believe in the inherent dignity and worth of all people, as expressed in the Liberal Party’s We Believe statement and Platform. A Liberal Party I lead will never tolerate hateful and divisive rhetoric, nor abide by Neo-Nazism, white supremacy or other extremist ideologies.

“I also believe that all public figures have a responsibility to denounce such extremism in all its forms. I do not believe that it is appropriate to knowingly associate or share platforms with individuals who hold or express these extremist views.

“It has never been my intention to convey that I believed Ms Keen and Ms Jones to be Neo-Nazis, or that they were members of Neo-Nazi groups. As far as my comments may have been misunderstood as conveying that I believed this to be the case, I apologise for any hurt, distress or harm that has occurred.”

Kellie-Jay Keen “graciously” accepts apology

Kellie Jay-Keen responded to the apology via her Youtube channel, saying that the it means cisgender women no longer have to be scared of speaking about the “authoritarian cult known as transgenderism”.

“It’s such a fantastic step for Australian women to know that today, more than yesterday, they are a little safer in speaking about the unthinkable things that are happening to them in the name of progress throughout Australia,” she said.

“I think what this apology will do is it will give women just a morsel of comfort that actually they do have a right to speak about this quasi-religious authoritarian cult known as transgenderism, otherwise known as gender identity.”

Defamation case from Moira Deeming still ongoing

The last of the three defamation cases John Pesutto is facing is against Moira Deeming, a former member of the parliamentary Liberal Party.

Deeming, who has a history of targeting the trans community, attended the Let Women Speak event.

She was expelled from the Victorian Liberal Party after participating in the anti-transgender rally.

She claimed she was “called into a meeting and informed by the Liberal Party leadership that if I refused to denounce the ‘Let Women Speak’ rally and it’s organisers as being extremists and Nazi’s/Nazi associates, they’d move a motion to expel me from the parliamentary team. Or, I was told, I could ‘just resign and make it easier on everyone’. I declined.”

Deeming claimed Pesutto accused her “of being a knowing associate of Neo-Nazi sympathisers and extremists, and therefore deserving of expulsion from the Parliamentary Liberal Party.”

The defamation case between the two is currently ongoing.

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