Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro has settled the defamation case against YouTube comedian Jordan Shanks AKA friendlyjordies.
The videos Barilaro labelled “offensive” will be edited with some content removed. There will however be no damages paid. Better known by his Youtube name friendlyjordies, Mr Shanks was being sued by Barilaro over a series of videos that were published last year.
The matter was settled out of court with Shanks’ barrister, Matt Collins QC, releasing a statement today.
“Freedom of expression for political communication is important, but Mr Shanks accepts that some of the videos posted were offensive to Mr Barilaro,” Collins said.
“Mr Shanks understands that Mr Barilaro has been hurt and apologises to him for that hurt.”
Mark Davis, Mr. Shanks’ solicitor also spoke out, revealing that the videos will undergo a number of edits, but will remain available online.
“Our client will not be paying a single cent in damages to Mr Barilaro. Not one video will be taken down,” Mr Davis said.
Although not ordered to pay the legal bills of Mr Barilaro, the comedian will be liable for approximately $100,000 in other legal costs. These costs are associated with the application to have the case heard by a jury and application to waive Mr Barilaro’s parliamentary privilege. Both of these were declined.
Given the political position of Barilaro, Davis claims his client has been denied the defence of truth. Shanks also agreed to stop sales of merch featuring Barilaro following his retirement from politics.
John Barilaro ends defamation claim against Jordan Shanks. Xenophon Davis partner Mark Davis said: “Our client will not be paying a cent in damages to Mr Barilaro. Not one video will be taken down.” Statement attached. pic.twitter.com/TSXgTWkKh0
— Xenophon Davis (@xenophondavis) November 4, 2021
However, Barilaro has taken to Twitter and implied that his legal battle was not over.
“I am pleased that my defamation claims against Jordan Shanks have settled. I am grateful for and accept Mr Shanks’ apology to me, and trust that we can now each move on with our lives,” he said.
“Regrettably, my defamation claims against Google have not settled, and will be determined by the Federal Court in March next year.”
The videos sparking the ordeal have collectively racked up close to one million views. The statement of claim, made by Barilaro, states the first video titled bruz implies that he had committed perjury and was a corrupt conman.
Barilaro said that the video contains “vile and racist” language in reference to his Italian heritage.
The second video titled Secret Dictatorship was released shortly after the first in October last year, this one claiming Barilaro acted corruptly by participating in blackmail.
Kristo Langker was a producer on the friendlyjordies videos and is now facing criminal prosecution for the alleged stalking and intimidation of Barilaro. The trial is set to commence next May.
NSW police asked the court to order Shanks to remove videos posted last month commenting on the prosecution of Langker, but Shanks’ lawyer stated that the polices attempts were “tantamount to an abuse of process”.
Police withdrew their application and agreed to pay $22,000 of Shanks and Langker’s legal fees.