Greta Thunberg slaps down Murdoch columnist after offensive attack on her Aspergers

Andrew Bolt, 59, attacked the 16-year-old in an article, calling her ‘deeply disturbed’ with ‘so many mental disorders’

Alessio Perrone
Saturday 03 August 2019 08:58 BST
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Greta Thunberg makes powerful climate change speech at the French parliament

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has criticised an Australian journalist after he attacked and mocked her in a column.

“Where are the adults?” tweeted 16-year-old Greta Thunberg after soon-to-be-60 Andrew Bolt, a columnist for Rupert Murdoch’s The Herald Sun, called her “deeply disturbed” and said she had “so many mental disorders”.

The phrase appears to refer to the fact that Thunberg is on the autism spectrum.

“I am indeed ‘deeply disturbed’,” Thunberg tweeted, “about the fact that these hate and conspiracy campaigns are allowed to go on and on and on just because we children communicate and act on the science.”

Thunberg became famous after starting the school strike for climate in 2018, which sees students and young people around the world march for the environment. Her role in mobilising young people has earned her a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The exchange happened on Thursday after Bolt published a column lashing out at the environmental activist, calling her “freakishly influential”.

“I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru.”

I am indeed “deeply disturbed” about the fact that these hate and conspiracy campaigns are allowed to go on and on and on just because we children communicate and act on the science. Where are the adults? pic.twitter.com/xDSlN0VgtZ

Autism experts reacted to the column with fury.

“It just shows absolute ignorance and it’s particularly cruel,” Autism Awareness Australia wrote on Twitter.

“It also leads to misunderstanding in the wider community and his audience about what autism is.”

Steve Silberman, a science and mental health author, said the column was as offensive as if someone had written about a black activist, “called them a n**ger and portrayed them as eating watermelon”.

“The bottom line: Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and The Herald Sun, is making money off of Andrew Bolt calling autistic people crazy,” he said.

The Guardian reported that the Australian Press Council had received a complaint about Andrew Bolt’s Herald-Sun column.

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