Here in the U.S., especially over the last two or three years, we’ve become unfortunately familiar with elected officials (especially our so-called president) making nasty, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamaphobic, transphobic, etc. comments. And for the most part they get away with it.
Sure, they get dragged on social media, talk shows, Saturday Night Live. But when it comes to actual, physical repercussions — there’s nothing.
But that wasn’t the case last Friday, March 15, for right-wing Australian Sen. Fraser Anning, the senator for Queensland who — while being interviewed about the horrific shootings earlier that day in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which at least 49 people were murdered — suggested that it was the victims’ fault for being Muslim and being in New Zealand.
As CNN reports, Anning had earlier claimed, “This kind of violent vigilantism [the Christchurch shooting] … highlights the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.” He also said, “The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program, which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Then, as the TV cameras were rolling, as Anning was saying, “”What I said was that a terribly unfortunate thing, a tragedy, but it’s going to be eventually accepted or expected that these sort of things happen. When people are getting attacked in their own … ,” a young man standing behind him, later said to be 17 years old, raises his cell phone in his left hand as if taking a photo or video and then, using his right hand, smacked a raw egg against the back of Anning’s head. The egg makes a loud crack as it breaks, sending shell and yolk flying.
Anning turns and punches the boy in the face, then takes another swing at him as men rush in to separate them. As one man holds Anning back, two surfer-looking guys tackle the egger, holding him on the ground in a headlock as someone shakes a finger in his face, scolding him for having “thrown an egg at every one of us” — the “us” perhaps referring to the assholes who agree with Anning.
The video, shot by WION TV, then cuts to police leading the teenager away. The female officer asks, “You threw an egg at him?” To which the teen calmly replies, “Uh, yeah.”
The 17-year-old was later released pending investigation, CNN reports.
Anning’s remarks garnered wide condemnation, including from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who wrote, “The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting. Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”
Anning was already well-known for his racist, anti-immigrant views. In a speech to the Australian Parliament last August, he referred to the country’s infamous “White Australia” policy that in the mid-20th century effectively banned any non-European immigrants, CNN notes. In that speech he used the phrase “the final solution” — the same words Hitler and his Nazi regime used to describe their genocide of the Jewish people in Europe in the 1930s and ’40s.
Watch the video of Anning’s egging, shot by WION TV, below.
— Tammye Nash