Fishin’ and footy
are Rex Hunt’s usual outdoor activities, but his black eye in Byron Bay
has left locals scrambling to defend themselves against allegations of
thuggery. In the aftermath of an altercation between Rex, his son and
some young locals Hunt told 3AW
that anti-tourist attacks were common in the town, one of Australia’s
best-known holiday destinations. “It’s a regular occurrence and if
you’re a tourist in Byron Bay go there at your own peril,” he said. “I
would think Bali is safer than Byron Bay at the moment.”

Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham has called Hunt’s comments “inflammatory and irresponsible,” and she’s trying to quash reports of residents claiming they’re “sick of tourists” as news of another tourist being bashed has surfaced in the Herald Sun. Tourism Sunshine Coast has jumped on the bandwagon by accusing the town of not “keeping pace with its popularity as a tourist destination.”

now the local teenagers involved in the scuffle have come out to refute
Hunt’s claims, accusing Rex’s son of throwing the first punch. No-one
involved in this barney can agree on a version of events. So who’s
telling the truth?

Rex’s version: A group of up to 15
youths reportedly set upon Hunt and his son Matthew in Byron Bay on
Friday night, leaving the “television fishing guru” with cuts to his
head, reports The Age. In a statement to Lismore’sNorthern Starnewspaper,
Hunt confirmed he was the victim of the attack. He was reportedly hit
in the head with a bottle and his son was also kicked and punched. No
complaint has been lodged with police.

Teen ‘Thug’s’ version:

Byron Bay called on Rex Hunt to “put up or shut up” as a teen involved
in the alleged attack said he and his friends were not the aggressors,
reports the Herald Sun.
The youth, 16, alleged Hunt’s son, Matthew, had abused them and threw
the first punch in the brawl. The teenager’s defence came as Byron’s
mayor and residents questioned why the Hunts had not pressed charges
and said his comments had defamed their town. One of the teenagers
involved claimed he and his friends were just walking down the street
when Matthew Hunt told them to “f*ck off.” “There was only four of us,
not 15, and two of my mates were injured….Rex threw me into a pole.”

Parent of a teen thug’s version:

The father of a youth involved in the brawl has rejected Hunt’s claims
of an unprovoked attack and has called for a public apology, reports The Age.
The parent said the exchange started when Hunt dropped a pair of
sunglasses as he and his family walked down busy Jonson Street. A
verbal exchange followed after one of several youths stooped to pick
them up for Hunt. “He just snarled at the boys and told them to bugger
off,” Steven said. The groups were separated before Hunt’s son Matthew
allegedly lashed out, striking one youth and sparking the brawl.

A Crikey tipster’s version:
“I live in Byron Bay and I have heard the real Rex Hunt violence story:
Byron is a small town and from what I’ve found the locals are nearly
always, totally honest. I got this from a young Goth kid who’s best
mates with the young youths (Musician/Goths) involved. Apparently, Rex
Hunt’s son saw the group of kids and walked past calling them f*ggots.
The local kids arked up. Rex Hunt’s son then went up and attacked one
of them. From there, Rex and his wife got involved. Rex’s wife pulled
off her stiletto and started flailing it wildly. She hit Rex in the
head giving him stitches. She also hit one of the local boys square in
the forehead. You’ve gotta remember, Rex is an ex cop, ex footballer
and fisherman. He has a reputation for being an intolerant yobbo. I can
only imagine his son comes from the same gene pool.”