Vic activist penalised over Dastyari clip

Far-right activist Neil Erikson faces the threat of a hefty fine over an online video in which former senator Sam Dastyari was called a “terrorist” and a “monkey” at a Melbourne pub.

Erikson was fined $10,000 on Friday for contempt but the penalty was suspended on the condition he doesn’t upload any more content featuring his former employer, freight company Toll Group.

He was found guilty of contempt in February after uploading a video that showed him in a Toll uniform ambushing Mr Dastyari, defying previous court orders that he not publish images or video of himself wearing the company’s clothing.

Federal Circuit Court Judge Suzanne Jones made the order in December which applies to non-employees of Toll.

The company is suing Erikson, alleging he was deliberately trying to damage the company’s brand.

By publishing the video featuring Mr Dastyari, Erikson was found to have broken the court order.

The contempt finding also related to Twitter photos that showed him with associate Ricky Turner in a Toll uniform, despite Turner having never been an employee.

Posted on Erikson’s YouTube page, the video shows him ambushing Mr Dastyari at a Footscray pub book launch in November, when the Iranian-born then-politician was called a “terrorist”.

The footage shows an exchange between Erikson and a woman next to the former senator.

“Is this sort of activity sanctioned by Toll?” she asks.

Erikson replies: “I thought Labor were for working-class Aussies, mate. You don’t like free speech?”.

“Whatever you do in your uniform, you’re actually representing your employer,” the woman replies.

Erikson stopped working for Toll in 2014 but worked for them again in Tasmania in 2017 before being sacked.

The case is due to return to court on Tuesday for a directions hearing.

In 2017, Erikson, United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell and Christopher Neil Shortis were convicted and fined for inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims.

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