A quick catch-up for those who don’t spend their weekends glued to Twitter. BuzzFeed’s new political editor Mark Di Stefano on Friday alleged that a Twitter account entitled “Real Mark Latham” had been sending abuse to prominent Australian women, including Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and transgender serving defence force member and cricket writer Catherine McGregor (referring to her as “he/she”). Latham has also mentioned both women in his Australian Financial Review columns, leading BuzzFeed to speculate he was the one behind the account.

This morning, BuzzFeed used Twitter’s “find your friends” function to confirm the email address linked to the account is one Latham has sometimes put at the bottom of his AFRcolumns. BuzzFeed says it’s been trying all weekend to get comment out of Latham and Fairfax — Crikey also tried to get onto both parties this morning. As Crikey went to deadline, the account tweeted that “poor Latho” had been sacked and was now retiring to the Mount Hunter lodge for a rump stake. The account implored followers to “Maintain The Page”. Confirmation out of Fairfax was not, as Crikey reached deadline, forthcoming.

While Latham is lying low, Crikey has confirmed he’s still due to appear next Saturday at the Melbourne Writers Festival, in conversation with Jonathan Green on the topic “Politicians as Journalists”. Green has said he’ll ask Latham about the account. Festival CEO Lisa Dempster confirmed to Crikey that recent controversy aside, the event is going ahead. “Mark Latham’s appearance at the festival will be an opportunity to engage with him on a variety of subjects around the theme of politicians as journalists.” No doubt it’ll be a packed house.

In November, Spectator Australia pulled its regular Latham column, according to the Oz. He described it at the time as a “disgraceful act of censorship”. It was reported that the column had been pulled after he had a go at Oz media editor Sharri Markson. Apparently, Spectatoreditor Rowan Dean wanted Latham to focus on more deserving targets, like Clive Palmer. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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