Blair Cottrell

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Blair Cottrell
Born1989 (29–30)
ResidenceFrankston[citation needed]
NationalityAustralian
Known forFounding United Patriots Front, antisemitism, far-right activism, neo-Nazism[1][2][3][4][5]
Home townMelbourne
Political partyUnited Patriots Front/Lads Society
(2015—present)
MovementNeo-Nazism, alt-Right
Criminal chargeAggravated burglary, property damage, arson, testosterone trafficking, possessing a controlled weapon, breaching court orders, making threats, inciting contempt against Muslims, breaching intervention orders.[6][7][8][9]
Criminal penaltyImprisoned and fined on a number of occasions. [6][7][10][11]

Blair Cottrell (born 1989) is an Australian far-right extremist.[12] He is the former chairman and founding member of the United Patriots Front (UPF) and the Lads Society.[13] Cottrell has been described by numerous media outlets and Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, as a neo-Nazi[14][9] and has been convicted on multiple charges of inciting hatred against communities, stalking and burglary.

Activities[edit]

In October 2015, Blair Cottrell replaced Shermon Burgess as chairman of the United Patriots Front.[15]

Cottrell has stirred controversy for many of his public statements, including a desire to see a portrait of Adolf Hitler hung in Australian classrooms and for copies of Mein Kampf to be "issued annually" to students as well as anti-Semitic and racist comments in support of Nazism. Cottrell has denied supporting Nazism.[15][9]

In September 2017, Cottrell, Neil Erikson and Chris Shortis were found guilty by a magistrate of inciting contempt against Muslims after they had enacted and made a video of a fake beheading, in order to protest against the building of a mosque in Bendigo. Each was fined $2,000.[10][11] Cottrell lodged an appeal, applying for his case to be heard in the High Court of Australia and arguing that he had been charged under an "invalid law". This was thrown out in February 2019, and he tried to have the matter heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The district court judge ruled that there were matters to be decided in her court, such as his intentions in making the video, before the case could proceed to a higher court, and set a date for the appeal to be heard in the county court.[16]

In August 2018, News Corp news outlet Sky News Australia was heavily criticised for providing a platform to Cottrell in a one-on-one discussion about immigration. Sky News reporter Laura Jayes took offence at his appearance on the program due to the fact that he has expressed admiration for Hitler and claimed to have manipulated women “using violence and terror”. Political editor of Sky News David Speers was also critical of Cottrell's appearance on the show. Sky News commentator and former Labor Party minister Craig Emerson resigned in protest after the interview was broadcast, saying that the decision to give Cottrell a platform on Sky was “another step in a journey to normalising racism & bigotry in our country”. Cottrell subsequently tweeted about Jayes: "I might as well have raped @ljayes on the air, not only would she have been happier with that but the reaction would’ve been the same." Activist groups called on advertisers to pull advertising campaigns off Sky News.[17][18][19] [20][21]

Other criminal activities[edit]

Apart from the violation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 after the fake beheading stunt, Cottrell has several other criminal convictions, including arson, stalking, making threats under the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and breaching intervention orders).[10][11]

In 2012, Cottrell served four months in Port Phillip Prison after being convicted of stalking his ex-girlfriend and her new partner, and of arson after attempting to burn down the man's house. In December 2013 he was fined $1,000 and sentenced to seven days in jail by a County Court judge for aggravated burglary, property damage, arson, testosterone trafficking, possessing a controlled weapon and breaching court orders.[6][7]

Connections to the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque mass shooter[edit]

In the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15 2019 it was discovered that the perpetrator Brenton Harrison Tarrant of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia had ties to not only Blair Cottrell's United Patriots Front (UPF) but also Kane Miller's True Blue Crew (TBC) where he had interacted with both groups on their Facebook pages, affectionately called Blair Cottrell "Emperor Blair Cottrell" and celebrating Donald Trump's victory as President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election as well as donating to the UPF and threatened a man from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia over criticism of the organization in 2016. Cottrell had distanced himself from Tarrant and quickly denounced his violent terrorist attacks stating he didn't him but noted that it was possible a UPF member did meet him at one point. Tarrant was also offered to join the Lads Society a fight club also led by Cottrell but declined as he planned his terrorist attacks.[22][23][24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maza, Cristina. "Neo-Nazi Neil Erikson Confused the Quran With the Bible in Court". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  2. ^ Graham, Ben. "Secret location of Aussie underground fight club leaks". News.com. New.com. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  3. ^ Toohey, Paul. "Mind wars: The extremists taking Australia to dark places". The Daily Telegraph. News Corp. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  4. ^ Hall, Bianca. "Police investigate kill threats against Councillor Stephen Jolly". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  5. ^ Nathan, Julie. "The Rise of Australia's Activist Far Right: How Far Will It Go?". ABC. ABC. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Blair Cottrell jail interviews". Youtube.
  7. ^ a b c "Herald Sun — United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell details violent criminal past in video".
  8. ^ *Blair Cottrell Leader of the United Patriots Front. Vimeo. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Bachelard, Michael; McMahon, Luke. "Blair Cottrell, rising anti-Islam movement leader, wanted Hitler in the classroom". The Sydney Morning Herald. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Cooper, Adam (5 April 2017). "Far-right trio convicted, fined $2000 each, over mock-beheading mosque protest". The Age. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "United Patriots Front trio found guilty of inciting serious contempt of Muslims". The Guardian. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  12. ^ Australian Associated Press. "Far-right extremist and convicted racist Blair Cottrell fails in supreme court appeal bid". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  13. ^ Molloy, Shannon. "We need to talk about the Australian flag and how it's being hijacked by extremists". News.com. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  14. ^ An abridged list of articles that describe Cottrell as a neo-Nazi
  15. ^ a b "Anti-Islam group leader Shermon Burgess the Great Aussie Patriot quits United Patriots Front after members tease him in Great Aussie Potator Facebook video. - Yahoo7". Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Far-right extremist and convicted racist Blair Cottrell fails in supreme court appeal bid". The Guardian. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  17. ^ Meade, Amanda. "Sky News interview with far-right agitator Blair Cottrell sparks fury". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  18. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-06/sky-news-apologises-for-airing-interview-with-blair-cottrell/10076074
  19. ^ Meade, Amanda. "Craig Emerson quits Sky News over Blair Cottrell interview". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  20. ^ Zhou, Naaman. "Advertisers urged to pull campaigns from Sky News after far-right extremist interview". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  21. ^ Graham, ben. "Far-right nationalist Blair Cottrell copping it over rape tweet to Sky News reporter". News.com. News.com. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  22. ^ Mann, Alex; Nguyen, Kevin; Gregory, Katherine (23 March 2019). "Christchurch shooting accused Brenton Tarran supports Australian far-right figure Blair Cottrell". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  23. ^ Nguyen, Kevin (9 April 2019). "Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant sent death threat two years before attack". Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  24. ^ Begley, Patrick (2 May 2019). "Threats from white extremist group that 'tried to recruit Tarrant'". Retrieved 13 June 2019.

Further reading[edit]