Australia

YouTube star Friendlyjordies Jordan Shanks-Markovina says his Bondi home was ‘firebombed’

Controversial YouTube star Friendlyjordies has claimed his home was firebombed in the second attack on the beachside property within a week – but says there are too many suspects to single out the culprit.

Emergency services arrived at the property in Wilga Street in Bondi, in Sydney‘s eastern suburbs, at 12.30am on Wednesday to find the home engulfed in flames. 

The online star, whose real name is Jordan Shanks-Markovina, lives at the back of the property but was not at home at the time of the fire.

But on Wednesday, he returned home to survey the damage and said he had a ‘long list’ of suspects who had been angered by his political commentary and videos.

‘Well obviously we don’t know who did it,’ he said at the scene as investigators nearby combed the rubble and ash for clues.

‘There’s a long list of suspects but no idea who it is. 

Controversial YouTube star Friendlyjordies has claimed his home was firebombed in the second attack on the beachside property within a week – but says there are too many suspects to single out the culprit

‘Obviously we have done some extremely dangerous reporting over the last year – I suppose of a bunch of extremely powerful people and corporations.’

‘There are many people that want to do that. 

But he added: ‘I obviously can’t say who I suspect it is.’

Fire chiefs revealed a smaller fire had earlier broken out at the Bondi home on November 16 but was put out before it could cause any significant damage. 

Mr Shanks has achieved notoriety for his political videos, which cost Google $715,000 in damages for defamation over his comments about former NSW deputy Premier John Barilaro.

Two Friendlyjordies videos – ‘Bruz’ and ‘Secret Dictatorship’, published in 2020 – included claims that Mr Barilaro was a corrupt conman who should be jailed, who committed perjury nine times and engaged in blackmail. 

It saw Mr Shanks being targeted by police at the time under ‘fixated people’ legislation – and on Wednesday, he railed against the press and police. 

Jordan Shanks-Markovina returned home to survey the damage and said he had a 'long list' of suspects who had been angered by his political commentary and videos

Jordan Shanks-Markovina returned home to survey the damage and said he had a ‘long list’ of suspects who had been angered by his political commentary and videos

I hope that the NSW Strikeforce that is supposedly set up for fixated people and terrorists would be looking into this,’ he said.

‘Instead of a comedian and his team for six months straight at the whim of the previous premier that all of you defended for the last 10 years.’

He told reporters outside the charred remains of his home: ‘I saw all of your articles today where you all wrote the same little narrative that you all write every time.

‘I would hope that you put just as much attention on the fact that that happened as you have on how you’ve tried to assassinate my character over the last year.

Earlier his law firm Xenophon Davies said they suspected the fire overnight was a potential act of terrorism and attempted murder.

The Bondi home of popular political YouTuber Friendlyjordies has been targeted in a suspected arson attack (pictured)

Firefighters were called to Wilga Street in Bondi at about 12.30am on Wednesday, where they found the home of Youtuber FriendlyJordies engulfed in flames (pictured)

Jordan Shanks-Markovina, known as FriendlyJordies on his popular political commentary YouTube channel, lives at the back of the impacted property

‘We confirm that Jordan Shanks’ home was firebombed last night,’ the firm tweeted. ‘He is safe. 

‘We hope that every possible police resource is dedicated today to securing evidence and intel. 

‘It might even warrant a Strike Force focused upon terrorism and attempted homicide rather than dangerous jokes.’

Firefighters fought desperately to contain the blaze on Wednesday morning but the home suffered significant damage.

NSW Police are treating the blaze as suspicious. 

NSW Police are treating the fire as 'suspicious' and are investigating whether it is linked to a suspected arson attack at the same property

NSW Police are treating the fire as ‘suspicious’ and are investigating whether it is linked to a suspected arson attack at the same property 

The home was sealed of by investigators as daylight broke

The home was sealed of by investigators as daylight broke

Police pored over the damaged home this morning in the search for clues

Police pored over the damaged home this morning in the search for clues

Several fire crews worked through the night to tackle the blaze

Several fire crews worked through the night to tackle the blaze 

Two elderly residents escaped the front of the burning property, while another three neighbours fled their home next door.

Emergency services confirmed no one was injured during the fire. 

Video from the scene showed the home completely gutted by fire with rooms reduced to ash. 

The closed-off street was filled with emergency service vehicles including police, ambulance, fire and rescue vehicles.   

Concerned residents lined the street and watched as as firefighters tackled the immense blaze. 

Firefighters were seen hosing each other down – a cooling technique used to reduce the core temperatures – once the fire was extinguished. 

Firefighters used a ladder to examine the fire from above (left) while two hoses were used to extinguish the blaze (right)) 

Specialist forensic police and dogs ‘trained in the use of detecting accelerants’ were at the home combing through the rubble and investigating the fire’s cause. Firefighters continued to tackle the smouldering remains of the fire well into daylight

Fire and Rescue NSW’s Adam Dewberry said the blaze was being treated as ‘suspicious’ and investigating whether it’s linked to the fire on November 16.

‘Police have established a crime scene and the fire area will be subject of an examination by specialist officers,’ NSW Police said. 

Specialist forensic police and dogs ‘trained in the use of detecting accelerants’ were at the home combing through the rubble and investigating the fire’s cause. 

‘The cause and origin of the fire [are] actually being investigated today by specialists who will also make sure the fire hasn’t caused structural damage elsewhere in the home,’ Mr Dewberry said. 

Specialist forensic police and dogs ‘trained in the use of detecting accelerants’ were at the home combing through the rubble and investigating the fire’s cause

Possible evidence and clues of an arson attack were identified and tagged in and around the home

Possible evidence and clues of an arson attack were identified and tagged in and around the home

Neighbour Astrid Rickard said she woke to the sound of the fire but initially thought it was fireworks for the World Cup.

Australia played France in its first game on Wednesday morning with the match kicking off at 6am AEDT. 

‘We woke up and I actually thought it was fireworks for the World Cup, but I looked out the living room [window] and basically next door was on fire,’ Ms Rickard said.

‘We quickly got out of the house and grabbed the dog. Lots of people were already out on the street… it was pretty full-on.’

Ms Rickard said the fire ‘took off pretty quick’ because her neighbour’s house was a beautiful old 1930s home built with a lot of wood. 

The sprawling beachside home and a neighbouring property were significantly damaged by the fire. 

The sprawling beachside home, described as a 'beautiful 1930s old home with lots of wood' was significantly damaged by the fire (pictured). A neighbouring property was also damaged

The sprawling beachside home, described as a ‘beautiful 1930s old home with lots of wood’ was significantly damaged by the fire (pictured). A neighbouring property was also damaged 

Neighbour Astrid Rickard initially thought the fire was fireworks for the World Cup but grabbed her dog and evacuated her home when she realised the house next door was engulfed in flames (pictured, left: Ms Rickard with her dog)

Neighbour Astrid Rickard initially thought the fire was fireworks for the World Cup but grabbed her dog and evacuated her home when she realised the house next door was engulfed in flames (pictured, left: Ms Rickard with her dog)

Ms Rickard said she was immediately worried the fire was linked to FriendlyJordies.

‘FriendlyJordies lives at the back, so we kind of have a feeling it has something to do with that,’ Ms Rickard said.  

‘This is the second attack in one week, so it is a bit concerning being right next door.

‘Someone has obviously got it out for someone cause this not a normal house fire, this does not just happen, someone’s thrown something in that veranda and got that house on fire.’

Police have urged anyone with information related to the two fires to contact Eastern Suburbs Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

FRIENDLYJORDIES’ LANDMARK DEFAMATION COURT CASE 

Controversial YouTube star Friendlyjordies made legal history when his attacks on former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro landed Google in court.

Two specific 2020 videos ‘Bruz’ and ‘Secret Dictatorship’ were branded ‘racist’ and ‘abusive’ in their attacks on the politician which included lampooning his Italian heritage.

Federal court justice Stephen Rares said the videos had ‘traumatised’ Mr Barilaro and were part of a campaign of ‘relentless cyberbullying’.

He ordered Google – owners of YouTube – to pay Mr Barilaro $715,000 in damages after finding they had done ‘nothing to prevent Mr Shanks’ hate speech, cyberbullying and harassment’.

Mr Barilaro sued Google for leaving the videos online after Mr Shanks had earlier apologised and edited the videos to settle the matter out of court.

Justice Rares said the videos – viewed hundreds of thousands of times online – contained ‘very serious and false’ claims about Mr Barilaro.

The politician said the videos sparked a barrage of abuse and hate online, and the justice called for new legislation to tackle the issue.

 Justice Rares added:’ Google was part and parcel of this disgusting behaviour because it facilitated, published and kept up on YouTube this and similar videos.

‘The ability of social media entities to publish and enable the communication of such material without constraint is a matter that the parliament ought to be considering.’

Mr Barilaro said he was ‘vindicated’ by the judgement and the award of damages.

‘All I wanted at the outset was for Google to remove these videos and they refused,’ he said. 

‘It is no small undertaking for an individual to take on a company like Google but it was important that I did so.’

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