“Go back to your air-conditioned mansion, you pr**k… Channel Seven will protect you”: these are the words that were reportedly hurled at Bruce Lehrmann, forcing him to flee the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday during the third Test against Pakistan.
Warning: this article discusses rape, sexual assault, abuse and suicide.
Lehrmann and a friend were heading back to the cricket ground from the entertainment quarter at around 1:30 pm when the altercation reportedly occurred. Four men in their thirties started hurling insults in Lehrmann’s direction, followed him for about 300 metres, and taunted him over the Brittany Higgins rape allegations, calling him a “f***ing rapist”, and mocking his appearance. The men also tried to spit on Lehrmann.
“Don’t you know what consent is, Bruce? You f***ing fat pr*ck,” the group taunted.
Lehrmann has denied all allegations that he sexually assaulted or raped Higgins.
While most of the altercation occurred outside the SCG, the abuse continued as Lehrmann entered the ground and made his way up the escalator toward the top bays. The group then suggested that Lehrmann jump off the top bay. “You pr**k, jump off it – we will be ready to p*ss on you,’ they yelled.
The final straw for Lehrmann was when a member of the group told him to “go back to his air-conditioned mansion,” proclaiming that Channel Seven would protect him.
Channel Seven covered Lehrmann’s $2000-per-week rental property on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for a year in exchange for two exclusive interviews on its Spotlight program. A spokesperson for Channel 7 was contacted for comment on the incident but has not yet responded.
In CCTV footage seen by ground staff, Lehrmann appeared rattled as he approached the top of the escalator. He was so shaken by the incident at the SCG that he and his friend left the venue.
Lehrmann described the incident as ‘abhorrent’ and slammed the men for abusing him in front of children and their parents. “The abhorrent physical and verbal abuse, threats and taunts from the idiots towards me are a reflection of the intellect and character of those blokes,” he said.
“What is most concerning is they thought it appropriate to hurl the profanity-laden abuse around dozens of children and families who, like me, simply wanted to enjoy a fun day at the cricket-supporting Pink Test“.
In a statement, a spokesman for Venues NSW (which operates the SCG) encouraged patrons to immediately report anti-social behaviour, with patrons who exhibit this behaviour receiving a two-year ban from the SCG.
The altercation comes less than two weeks after a woman allegedly pelted eggs at Lehrmann’s house and tipped prawn shells all over a neighbour’s black Kia sedan – assuming it was his car.
Lehrmann was accused of raping Higgins in Parliament House after a night out in 2019, which he vehemently denies. He pleaded not guilty before a criminal trial in 2022, but the case collapsed due to misconduct by a member of the jury and the charge was dropped altogether two months later due to fears for Higgins’ mental health.
In November last year, he sued Network Ten for defamation over an interview on The Project in 2021, during which Higgins first aired her rape allegations in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson. He was not named in that interview but argued friends and former colleagues in Parliament House were able to identify him as the alleged rapist.