Michael Byrnes quot­ed in the Aus­tralian Finan­cial Review — 5 Sep­tem­ber 2019

Michael Byrnes quot­ed in arti­cle Hitler par­o­dy sack­ing sparks new free speech debate” fea­tured in the Aus­tralian Finan­cial Review today. Arti­cle by David Marin-Guzman.

Michael Byrnes quot­ed as say­ing I don’t want in any way to down­play or triv­i­alise how offen­sive it is to com­pare some­one to Hitler or oth­ers involved to Nazi Ger­many,” Mr Byrnes said.

But [the Down­fall meme] is often not nec­es­sar­i­ly equat­ing the par­tic­u­lar peo­ple [it satiris­es] with Hitler or Nazi Ger­many. It’s real­ly lever­ag­ing off the very hys­ter­i­cal, over-the-top reac­tion that is por­trayed in that par­tic­u­lar scene.”

He said it appeared nei­ther the sacked employ­ee nor the com­mis­sion con­sid­ered how this broad­er cul­tur­al con­text might dis­tin­guish the video from oth­er instances where Nazi or Hitler ref­er­ences were involved.

With the rise of social media and memes in employ­ment cas­es, Mr Byrnes said it was more impor­tant than ever that lawyers and the com­mis­sion under­stood cul­tur­al context.

Things that might seem offen­sive to some­one unaware on first blush might be mod­i­fied when they have a deep­er under­stand­ing of the cul­tur­al con­text of how they’re used or deployed.”

Read full arti­cle here.

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