Young Aussie teen Will Connolly – known across the world as Egg Boy – has broken his silence on Network 10’s The Project, saying while egging senator Anning was “not the right thing to do”, his actions had “united people”.
Connolly rose to fame across the globe after cracking an egg on the head of ultra-conservative Australian senator Fraser Anning for his words over the New Zealand terrorist attacks.
Speaking with The Project‘s Hamish Macdonald last night, the 17-year-old was apologetic over his actions.
While Connolly said there was “no reason to physically attack anyone”, he admitted even his mother was glad he “stood up for what [he] believed in”, although she disagreed with the way he did it.
Connolly said: “I understand what I did was not the right thing to do, however, this egg has united people, and money has been raised, tens of thousands of dollars has been raised for those victims.”
The teenager, who says he is “pro-humanity” rather than political, said he had listened to Anning speak for an hour before deciding to crack an egg on his head.
Connolly said: “I didn’t expect him to react, I thought I was just going to walk out there. I didn’t think this was going to blow up.
“In fact, it’s blown up completely out of proportion to the point where it’s kind of embarrassing because too much of the attention is brought away from the real victims suffering, we should be focusing on them.
“I was just going to show my mates, it was just meant to be a few laughs to mates.”
While most people have applauded Connolly for standing up for what he believed in, others have been more critical, taking to social media after The Project interview aired, critcizing the show for turning Connolly into a “hero”.
One person commented underneath a post by The Project on Instagram: “[Lisa Wilkinson] so you think it’s okay to smash eggs on someone in public view? If he did it to you because [he] disagreed with your views would you still make him a hero for his behaviour?'”
‘What does this teach our young about respectful behaviour? I don’t care what was said by Anning we should not be promoting this kind of behaviour.’
Wilkinson took to the comments section to defend the programme, saying they had not made Egg Boy a “hero”.
She wrote: “We are news program. He has been a huge news story. He has been hounded for interviews by just about every TV, online and radio show in the world.
“As well as every major publication you could imagine. He approached us because he felt we would be fair and balanced in presenting his story. And I believe we were. That’s it. Cheers, Lisa.”
Senator Anning was widely condemned following a press release he sent out following the Christchurch terror attack that killed 50 people, where he blamed immigration for the horrific attack.
Anning wrote: “This kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.”
After Connolly egged Anning, the politician turned around and hit him with an open hand.
The teen was then wrestled to the ground by Anning’s far-right wing supporters, despite pleas from the crowd to let him go as he was not resisting.
Connolly told Macdonald: “I just wanted to stay calm. I knew not to resist, I knew police were not far (away).”
In terms of the nickname Egg Boy, Connolly admitted it was “getting pretty annoying”, revealing he’d always been called Egg Boy, even prior to the Anning incident, because he’d take boiled eggs to school for lunch.
Following the interview, Connolly posted on his Instagram for the first time since the incident, which now has over 650,000 followers, thanking people for their “overwhelming support”.
“I’m so proud to stand for what is right and I encourage everyone to stand up for what you all believe in,” he wrote.
“I do not condone violence and I do not condone egging someone, and everyone has a right to an opinion, but as I listened to Senator Anning for over an hour, I realised a point had to be made and if no one was going to do anything, then I was.”
He added: “The main focus here has to be the people who are suffering and the issue at hand, and I’m really happy it has united people the way it has.”
A GoFundMe campaign was started in support of Connolly and has raised more than $79,000 to pay for “legal fees” and “more eggs”.
However, the teen has confirmed the money will go to the victims of the Christchurch attack.