Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Avi Yemini is an Australian journalist for Rebel News who has been involved in controversies regarding defamation, donation requests and violent offences against his ex-wife.
Defamation Claim against PRGuy
After the twitter account, PRGuy, recently revealed to be Jeremy Maluta, tweeted that Mr. Yemini was a "threat" to Australian national security and a "criminal" whose position on lockdowns in Victoria had lead to more cases of COVID-19, Mr. Yemini filed a defamation claim against the account.
In an interview on Sky News, Mr. Yemini, responding to a question by Rita Panahi on anonymity on social media:
Panahi: "But what do you say to those who argue, well, anonymous accounts and anonymity is really quite crucial in social media and you shouldn't try to unmask an account, even if it's a troll account?"
Yemini: "Usually I'd agree but when you cross a line, it doesn't matter who you are, if you do something unlawful or if someone has a civil claim against you you shouldn't be able to hide behind an anonymous thing, that doesn't give you a free pass. "
Jordan Shanks offered Mr. Yemini a bet of $10,000 that PRGuy is not employed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew using the hashtag #TakeTheBetAvi.
Following PRGuy's identity being revealed via Jordan Shanks' interview with Mr. Maluta , Mr. Yemini responded to the revelation on Twitter:
"I have no legal action against a Jeremy Maluta, so I’m not sure why he’s crowdfunding. @VictoriaPolice, this sounds like a potential case of “obtaining property by deception”. Oh, and do I trust the “fall guy”? I’d need more evidence than PRGuy’s dishonest word for it."
Mr. Yemini was previously embroiled in another defamation case wherein he was sued by his own brother after publicly accusing his family of "harbouring a paedophile" within their home.
Donation Requests Planned in Advance
During his coverage of the 2021 Invasion Day rally, Mr. Yemini requested his viewers to donate to his legal defence. The coverage of the event by Mr. Yemini and Rebel News utilised phrases including "Free Avi" and "arrested." As reported by Independent Australia, despite this language, Mr. Yemini was driven away from the site of the protest with only a warning from police and was not arrested. A Twitter user had also revealed that Rebel News' fundraiser page for "freeing Avi" had been time stamped before the rally took place, implying that Mr. Yemini and the media outlet were intending to request donations for legal concerns before the rally and engagement with police had even taken place.
In 2019, Mr. Yemini was plead guilty to assaulting his ex-wife, Sarah Lyford. The charges included one incident of Mr. Yemini throwing a chopping board at Ms. Lyford's head, leaving her with a concussion, as well as explicit text messages sent calling Ms. Lyford a “P. O. S” and a “c***”. Mr. Yemini was fined $3600 as a result of the charges.
Sources & Further Reading