News People Emma Husar settles defamation case over ‘slut’ claims

Emma Husar settles defamation case over ‘slut’ claims

emma husar buzzfeed defamation
Emma Husar leaves court with her lawyers. Photo: AAP
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Former federal Labor MP Emma Husar and news site BuzzFeed have reached an out-of-court settlement in a defamation case over a story that she said portrayed her as a “slut”.

Ms Husar sued BuzzFeed over a 2018 story that detailed allegations by staff against her of harassment and misconduct, including lewd sexual behaviour.

She alleged the story portrayed her a a “slut” or someone who was “sexually perverted”, and had ruined her career.

At a case management hearing, the Federal Court was told on Monday that the matter had been settled – but details have not yet been revealed.

The defamation hearing heard lengthy debate about the meaning of the word “slut”, and who is, and is not one.

Barrister Tim Senior, appearing for BuzzFeed, attempted to dismiss Ms Husar’s claim that the article implied she boasted about who she had sex with.

Mr Senior argued that BuzzFeed had not used the word “slut” in the article.

However, Justice Steven Rares was not convinced of the argument on the potential meanings in the article.

“[The article contains allegations she] potentially exposed herself in front of another politician, wouldn’t that suggest she was behaving in a sluttish way?” Justice Rares asked.

“I think that’s what it’s conveying, that not only is she a slut, but she boasts about it.

“It seems to me to be eminently capable of conveying that.”

“We say it doesn’t go that far,” Mr Senior replied.

Ms Husar, the former federal member for Lindsay in western Sydney, was dumped as the ALP’s candidate for the seat in December last year.

The Labor Party conducted an internal investigation, handled by high-profile barrister John Whelan, which upheld claims of unreasonable management, but dismissed those about sexual misconduct and harassment.