By VERONICA ANASSIS
Marrickville locals are infuriated by what purports to be a community Facebook page, ‘We Love Marrickville.’
Instead of upbeat talk about their community, visitors have found anti-LGBTQ+ comments and memes posted on the social-media page. They allege that the administrator verbally attacks, harasses and blocks users that seek removal of the offensive comments.
The page features a diversity-positive mission statement slapped on its front: “This page has been set up to have something for all in our great suburb Marrickville, the young, the more mature, different cultures, religions, arts, music, family, charity, local business and all in between.
“Our Marrickville is a mixed bag of lollies living side by side in harmony. We Love Marrickville!”
However, as Marrickville’s gay community, whom the administrator describes as “filth,” will testify, the Facebook page is neither harmonious, nor is it representative of the Marrickville-loving community.
The administrator did not respond to City Hub’s request for comment.
The Facebook page is one of two with the same name; it is distinguished by its large font logo. It attracts over 7,000 followers and regularly hosts quarrels between the administrator and those posting adverse comments on the site.
The page was most recently under fire for referring to Marrickville’s Feel the Love 2020 gay pride event – hosted by Inner West Council – as a ‘sodomy event’.
“Marrickville says NO to the sodomy event at the library this Thursday night,” said the 4 Feb post. “Who the hell is pushing this filth on our community..?”
Calling the onslaught of local critics ‘sodomites’, the controversial administrator went on to accuse gays of spreading sexually transmitted diseases in the area.
‘The sodomites have been trying to attack this page,’ the site responded to its 7,200 followers. “Sadly they [gays] have made us one of the most disease infested areas in Sydney. So so sad. Please go back to Newtown #builddawall, [sic],” the post declared, alongside an article on the rise of STI’s in Marrickville and Randwick.
Several posts and countless comments – which include attacks on gender-fluidity, trans inclusivity and all-sex bathrooms – have been reported for hate-speech, with no response by Facebook administrators.
Despite the onslaught of outrage, the social media platform’s only complaints channel – which forces users to report posts individually via an automated flagging system – has still failed to ban the site or identify a ‘violation of community standards.’
At least three Marrickville residents have been personally targeted, harassed and stalked by the page administrator in the last three years – claiming to be on the receiving end of relentless private messages and physical threats.
In 2017, one woman claimed he was posting photos of her and her address publicly, along with threats to her daughter – in response to comments that challenged his views on another community Facebook page, Marrickville Rants and Complaints.
Another Marrickville local, *Marie, who regularly comments on community Facebook pages Marrickville 2020 and Marrickville Rants and Complaints, says this is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the We Love Marrickville administrator’s problematic past.
The administrator apparently has a long history of hate speech towards the LGBT community and avid harassment.
“There’s been more than one AVO taken out against him,” Marie revealed to City Hub. “On the Marrickville Rants page, he was attacking women, he was threatening people’s jobs, he was stalking… taking AVOs out on people, people were taking AVOs out on him… He’d be making up multiple fake profiles to defend his horrible comments – we knew there was at least three or four of them.
“I wrote in there myself a few times, challenging what he was saying. And he sent me private messages. He threatened people with legal action all the time. Making threats like ‘I know where you work!’ He has messaged lots and lots of people. He would just target you and cause havoc.
“[This woman] would come home and he would be parked down the street from her house. I know she had to get the police involved, and that went to court. He got thrown out of Marrickville Rants and Complaints, he got thrown off Marrickville 2020 – that was completely unjust to him, so [that’s why] he started the We Love Marrickville page.
“People who don’t know the background to him all go on that page… God knows why Facebook doesn’t remove him. Everyone has reported his page over and over.”
Calling it ‘homophobic’, Marie says the page poses as a mainstream community portal but was created to soapbox the administrator’s personal beliefs.
*Carly, whose friends’ lives have allegedly been disrupted by the We Love Marrickville administrator’s attacks, warns that the site is deceptive, and dangerous. “People join the ‘We Love Marrickville’ not having a clue what they’re letting themselves in for,” she said.
Many Marrickville region residents have demanded that the administrator should be prevented from moderating what has been advertised as a mainstream community page.
*Names have been altered to maintain discretion