The editor of The Pyrenees Advocate – a regional newspaper in Victoria’s Ballarat region – has come under fire after he allowed an ad to run calling for people to join a white pride group.
The classified ‘wanted ad’ called for people in the Beaufort area, west of Ballarat, who are interested in white pride and right-wing politics to call a mobile number that the ABC is reporting belonging to local boxing trainer and council worker Steve Stranks.
Editor of the newspaper, John Higgins, said he was initially nervous running the ad but added he also didn’t believe in censorship either.
“I don’t like the atmospherics of it one little bit,” Higgins said before adding that he did not believe the area had an issue with white supremacists or nationalists.
“If there had been a call to arms or something like that it wouldn’t have been published but he is just talking about white pride and I thought in [George] Brandis’s words ‘everyone has a right to be a bigot’ even if we don’t like it,” Higgins said.
However, Pyrenees Advocate readers were less forgiving, taking to social media to slam Higgins for publishing the controversial spot. “Why give him space to advertise, it’s not worth it, just another crackpot!!” wrote one. While another added: “My husband and I were astonished to read this ad in our local paper. We found it impossible to understand the decision to run the ad. In our eyes an ad like this tarnishes not only the paper and its editor but also the region itself.”