Storer changes the story, and Michael plays a game

8 Feb

Gregory Storer

This is the public complaint Storer lodged against OLO, at the Ambit Gambit blog:

I’m one of the ‘gay activists’ who ‘attacked’ online opinion, however, I took exception to some of the comments that where posted after Bill Muehlenberg’s piece, not the actual essay.
I defend Bill’s right to his opinions, he should have he’s stuff published, but it’s the disrespectful and outright hatred of the comments that follow that are objectionable. As a person who is gay, I find those comments disturbing and they shouldn’t have a place in our society.
And I did the right thing, I raised the comments with Graham Young, he made it clear he thought the comments where ok, so the next step is to approach the sponsors and advertisers to make them aware of the sort of site they support and to express my disgust.
Online Opinion does a great job in allowing people to express their opinions by publishing their articles. The comment sections leave a lot to be desired.
Comment by Gregory — December 20, 2010 @ 3:30 am

I note Storer says he is  “one” of the gay activists that ‘attacked’ OLO. Therefore I and several other people took him at his word that he was “one of,” but one of how many we did not know.

I have since asked this question of his partner Michael Barnett, who approached me on this blog. This is the response:

Michael Barnett: I have the answers to your questions and you’d be surprised and disappointed with them.

Me: Well, tell us then.

Michael: I don’t need to tell you what I know. You can trust me.

WTF????

Now Storer claims to have acted alone.

Actually, the next step isn’t an economic boycott. The next step is the Anti Discrimination legislation. That’s what it’s there for.

Gregory Storer, Secular Party of Australia‘s candidate for Melbourne Ports in the 2010 federal election, has emerged as the man behind a gay lobby’s successful efforts to persuade the ANZ Bank and IBM to withdraw advertising from On Line Opinion.

Gregory’s mission statement reads in part as follows:

I firmly believe that there should be a clear separation of church and state.  I have a strong code of ethics and think that human rights should be paramount to the way we live our lives.

I would like to see an Australia that accepts its citizens for who they are, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or ethnic background.  We are all people, we are all entitled to equal rights and as citizens of Australia we all deserve to be treated with respect, to enable us to fully participate in our society.

Noble sentiments, Gregory. How do they sit with exerting your economic power to bring about the closure of an on line community because you feel it has offended you?

In an email to me earlier today, Gregory stated that he had not bullied, or engaged in standover tactics in order to close down OLO, and that he does not even want to close OLO down.

So what, then, I inquired, did he imagine his lobbying of  all the site’s sponsors to withdraw all their advertising dollars would achieve, if not financial knee capping of  the popular site?

Still waiting for the candidate to answer that question.

As to how large the gay lobby led by Gregory is, I haven’t been able to ascertain that so far. There must be some members of considerable economic power, if they are in a position to persuade corporations such as ANZ and IBM to change their advertising placements.

A quick peek at Bill Muehlenberg’s website, and the website belonging to the Australian Christian Lobby, reveals there’s outrage in both camps against the ANZ Bank for its pro gay marriage stance, and its attempts to apparently influence Bill’s freedom of speech.

Looks like the candidate for Melbourne Ports has caused a very diverse group of citizens to ponder if their rights have been disregarded in his pursuit of On Line Opinion.

“The Pink Mafia” is Muehlenberg’s term, one which until yesterday seemed pretty excessive. But today, having learned the lengths to which Storer and his gang are prepared to go to exert their will on the digital reading public, maybe Bill isn’t too far wrong.

Now that’s scary.

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24 Responses to “Storer changes the story, and Michael plays a game”

  1. Matthew February 8, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Well this is a right mess. I don’t think either Muehlenberg or the ACL have a right to protest. Back in 2004 the Salt Shakers managed to get a number sponsors (Just Jeans, DaimlerChrysler, Allianz Australia, Roche and Centrum) to pull advertising from the 7 network’s screening of “The L Word”. Same dodgy tactics.

    However neither ACL or Bill have really been effected. ACL and Bill can and still do write their usual dribble. The problem here is I think that because of Gregory Storer’s actions, not only has endangered the status of OLO, but Bill has managed to get a slightly wider audience due to the coverage. So the “gay activist” and OLO lose out, and the fundies win.

    I think people have to realise that the internet is a great equaliser. Sure you can write defamatory untrue crap about any a group of people or whatever, but others will correct this. For example if you put “Melinda Tankard Reist” in Google, not only does the auto fill tack on “Christian” at the end, her Unbelief.org dossier is the third result. There is no need for censorship. Bigots get their agenda exposed by others pretty quick.

    Like

  2. jules February 8, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    I’ve been kind of ignoring/unaware of this situation, but the more I see of it the less I like it. I don’t even read olo that often. But this seems more and more sus the more I find out about it. Nice comment on LP btw, nice rebuttal of BM’s offensive rubbish too, pity this supposed boycott is an attack on that as well.

    Doesn’t make the secular party look that good. Less “naive” than the greens tho.

    At first I didn’t really think too much about this, seemed unreasonable on the part of the boycott but then again I can understand it, but you are bringing me round to your POV.

    I think that in the context of the net, you are right about this being a free speech issue. The net is dependent on corporate “patronage” to all sorts of extents that don’t seem obvious.

    This wikileaks discussion is interesting in that light:

    http://fora.tv/2011/01/19/WikiLeaks_Why_It_Matters_Why_It_Doesnt

    As far as financially hurting people goes … it depends. I’d be happy to see Andrew Bolt get the sack, and if he then published his crap on a wordpress free blog well thats his business. Making a living out of it is another thing.

    Tho the situation with OLO is hardly comparable.

    Possibly just because of the financial inequality, and the nature of online discussion as “pseudo public” space. Possibly there is more to it. (OLO is certainly a more balanced publisher than News Ltd for a start, as is its overall moderation policy etc etc.)

    Anyway thanks for a thought provoking comment, and article to follow up.

    Like

  3. Michael Barnett February 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Gregory Storer, Secular Party of Australia‘s candidate for Melbourne Ports in the 2010 federal election, has emerged as the man behind a gay lobby’s successful efforts to persuade the ANZ Bank and IBM to withdraw advertising from On Line Opinion.

    i fail to see what Gregory’s connection to the Secular Party has to do with this.

    As to how large the gay lobby led by Gregory is, I haven’t been able to ascertain that so far. There must be some members of considerable economic power, if they are in a position to persuade corporations such as ANZ and IBM to change their advertising placements.

    Ah, a conspiracy theory. I have the answers to your questions, and you’d be surprised and disappointed with them.

    But today, having learned the lengths to which Storer and his gang are prepared to go to exert their will on the digital reading public, maybe Bill isn’t too far wrong.

    Bill is about as on track as this blog is.

    Michael.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      So if you have the answers to my questions, why don’t you tell us?

      Any person who attempts to use economic force to bring down a large on line community, and ruin a small business, has invited intense scrutiny. All his connections are relevant, particularly when he’s an aspiring politician.

      Any person who manages to persuade two global corporations to shift their advertising with one polite request, is a marvel and we all want to know how he did it.
      Cheers Jennifer.

      Like

      • Mikey Bear February 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

        I don’t need to tell you what I know. You can trust me on this. You expect everyone to trust you on your blog, don’t you?

        You are placing too much emphasis on Gregory’s actions and not enough on the ability of these corporates to make their own informed business decisions.

        What research have you done to back your sweeping assumptions?

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2011 at 1:34 am #

          No I don’t expect everyone to trust me on my blog. I expect that everyone will make up their own minds about what they read here and whether or not they trust me isn’t an issue.

          I don’t know what kind of games you are playing, Michael, but if you tell me you have information and then say you aren’t going to say what it is, I’m not interested. Cheers, Jennifer.

          Like

      • Mikey Bear February 9, 2011 at 1:43 am #

        I’d like to think that anyone posting content on their blog would want their readers to know it was a credible source of information. If you can’t state that your blogs are credible then really, why should anyone believe a single word that your write?

        As it is, I know what the much of the reality of this situation is, while you’re just left with conjecture, speculation and third-hand information.

        I’m not playing games, I’m stating fact, unlike you who doesn’t know what the facts actually are. As for me divulging what I know, I am not prepared to do that here as it will likely have negative personal consequences for me.

        Like

  4. Mel February 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    ““The Pink Mafia” is Muehlenberg’s term, one which until yesterday seemed pretty excessive. But today, having learned the lengths to which Storer and his gang are prepared to go to exert their will on the digital reading public, maybe Bill isn’t too far wrong.”

    Oh please. Gregory Storer, acting alone, wrote some polite letters to OO advertisers from his kitchen table in which he asked them whether they wanted to be associated with comments like this:

    ““God says it vile,abomination and your not gonna live with him, u homos are heading towards hell and eternal darkness wher there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, is that what u want fine, go there.

    U are a scourge to society, a cancer to civilization, spare us your filth
    It would be better for us if u go live out in the Sahara desert.

    Posted by HELLFIRE HARRY, Friday, 26 November 2010 7:59:32 PM””

    Graham Young thought this was an OK comment. He dismissed Gregory’s polite request to delete such comments. ANZ and IBM decided they didn’t want their reputation tarnished by being associated with such language. Good on them.

    Graham Young soiled his own nest and must now bear the consequences. He has no-one to blame but himself.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

      I agree that comment should have been deleted. I haven’t seen Young defending this comment.

      But this is not the comment Gregory cited as offensive. That comment referred to a description of homosexual and some heterosexual practices as “perversions.” Young defended this on the legitimate grounds than two monolithic religions in this country hold that view, and that it is a mainstream view that he does not feel he should delete, even though he does not agree with it.

      I am intrigued though, to discover that all I have to do if I want ANZ and IBM to withdraw their advertising placement is to ask politely, give one article (that was thoroughly rebutted, BTW) and one forum thread as my example, and on this basis the ANZ will do as I ask.

      As I am offended by the continued use of fossil fuels (ANZ is the biggest funder of coal fired power in Australia, BTW), and as I have been abused and vilified in certain places for expressing my opposition, I should be able to ring the ANZ this morning, cite examples of where their “organizational values” have been transgressed in my vilification, and expect the ads will be removed by tea time.

      Alternatively, the SMH and the Australian vilify asylum seekers from time to time. The ANZ bank, at my request, with a little evidence, should also withdraw their advertising as their organizational values are again being transgressed by these msm publications.

      All it takes for global corporations to remove their advertising is one polite letter of complaint?

      Tell that to Melinda Tankard Reist – she usually has to collect hundreds of signatures to get something pulled.

      Graham Young is a long standing ANZ customer. His site is a small business. ANZ have now put their own small business customer in danger of losing his small business. ANZ now have the considerable demographic that supports BM’s anti gay marriage stand as their enemies. Pulling the ads doesn’t look like such a sound business decision.

      I note your self righteous conclusion. I don’t know who you are, but I guess you’ve never made any mistakes about anything.
      Cheers, jennifer.

      Like

  5. Harley February 9, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Jennifer, commenters have repeatedly pointed out that your facts are incorrect. You are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. You owe Mr Storer an apology for your slander alone, as Mr Parish has done on Club Troppo.

    Mr Muehlenberg’s freedom of speech has never been under threat from ANZ, IBM, Mr Storer or anyone. He has his own website. He’s free to write within the confines of Australian law.

    Mr Storer doesn’t lead any gay lobby. He’s an individual. Painting him as leading a campaign of “considerable economic power” against Mr Muehlenberg is ridiculous. He spoke only for himself, and you’ve attacked all gay activists as a result. That is reprehensible.

    Like

  6. Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    Actually, if you read my posts Hayley, you will see I am careful to write “some” gay activists. and “a” gay lobby.

    I have never claimed that BM’s freedom of speech is under threat – where are you getting your information? That is a claim BM and the ACL make in their campaign against the ANZ.

    Would you kindly be specific about which “facts” are incorrect?

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2011 at 4:35 am #

      Hayley -Mr Storey himself stated that he is “one” of the gay activists that attacked OLO.
      Therefore myself and others took him at his word and thought there were more.
      Now he claims he acted alone.
      So ?????

      Like

    • Mikey Bear February 9, 2011 at 4:36 am #

      Hayley

      Harley. Easy mistake to make, but Harley would probably not want to be called Hayley.

      As to how large the gay lobby led by Gregory is…

      # I say tom-the-gay-lobby-to, you say tom-a-gay-lobby-to. # 🙂

      Still, you make unsubstantiated, sweeping accusations.

      What ‘gay lobby’, whether it’s the “official” one, or an unofficial one are you referring to Jennifer?

      You say you support marriage equality yet your language betrays you on your support for gay people. Or maybe you don’t really support the rights of gay people unconditionally.

      Michael.

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2011 at 4:48 am #

        Sorry Michael, I don’t know, I thought you and Gregory knew that. I used the term “a gay lobby” because I don’t want to say all gay lobbyists.

        This is not about Gregory’s sexual preference – its about his going first to complain to sponsors to pull their advertising rather than to the Anti Discrimination board.

        Like

  7. Mikey Bear February 9, 2011 at 4:49 am #

    Michael Storer

    My surname is not Storer.

    Hayley -Mr Storey himself stated that he is “one” of the gay activists that attacked OLO.

    Again, it’s Harley. It’s also Storer.

    WTF????

    That’s the same response I had when I read your comment:

    No I don’t expect everyone to trust me on my blog. I expect that everyone will make up their own minds about what they read here and whether or not they trust me isn’t an issue.

    You still haven’t answered my question as to why you need to link Gregory’s connection with the Secular Party to this issue. What is your justification?

    Michael.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2011 at 4:55 am #

      I will not play this game with you, Michael. You have told me you have the answers to the questions myself and a few other people have asked.

      Then you say you will not tell us the answers.

      Not talking to you anymore tlll you answer the questions. Bye Jennifer.

      Like

      • Mikey Bear February 9, 2011 at 5:07 am #

        This is sounding more like a conversation with a petulant child than a person who prefixes their name with the title ‘Dr’.

        You have made the sweeping and unjustified accusations and I know the reality. There is no onus on me to state or prove anything, as know I’ve not made any unfounded statements. You on the other hand have no proof and have not substantiated all of your accusations of Gregory Storer.

        Like

  8. Doug Pollard February 9, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    ANZ are sponsors of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and a good reputation as an employer of choice for the GLBTIQ community
    IBM are one of the most pro-active companies in the world on gay rights and have a strong GBLTIQ staff organisation. They support Joy 94.9 the GLBTIQ radio station.
    When an individual alerts such companies to a site which refuses to take down vilifying comments about GLBTIQ people (which would not be acceptable if said about ANY other group, be it Muslims, blacks, women), of course they are going to pull the plug. Nothing sinister about it.
    Because, as they said, it does not align with their corporate values of diversity, tolerance and fairness. Perfectly within their rights.
    The owner of the site brought this entirely upon himself: no-one else is at fault here.
    Tolerance does not extend to hatred and vilification of anyone, ever.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      totally agree with that observation, Doug.
      Not sure about the no one else is at fault here though.
      We have anti discrimination legislation. Why not use it in instead of what can only look like a vengeful attack on somebody’s livelihood.

      Going down the anti discrimination road would have garnered an incredible amount of support and not nearly so much criticism – certainly no valid criticism at all – and would have undoubtedly resulted in a decision that could have made a big impact on the online community’s forums.

      Under the circumstances, given Gregory’s choice, can’t avoid people wondering if there’s a smell of revenge in the air.

      There’s no doubt Young is in dire straights – so what will Gregory achieve by his choice except personal satisfaction? No societal change or awareness, that’s for sure.

      Big opportunity missed, I’d say.

      Like

      • Michael Barnett February 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

        Surely you’re not serious Jennifer. This whole issue has had quite a number of positive outcomes. It has raised awareness of Graham Young’s double standards in the moderation of the comments posted on On Line Opinion. It has shown that the ANZ Bank and IBM are serious about not associating with any discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It has generated some good discussion. It has further exposed the religious bigots who have nothing but their own selfish interests at heart.

        Gregory’s actions have had a huge impact on our society and I believe that he should be commended rather than berated. It’s not his fault that certain organisations have poorly structured funding sources. Gregory is more concerned about the impact of bigotry on the escalating youth suicide rates than he is about the financial viability of any online discussion site. I hope you are too.

        Michael.

        Like

  9. Jennifer Wilson February 10, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    It’s also exposed some gay activists who have nothing but their own selfish interests at heart.

    You don’t get it do you? Gregory has got himself a few days of exposure, everyone will have forgotten about it this time next week.

    ONE publication is affected by what he’s done. ONE out of thousands and thousands.

    Big whoop, Mikey. That’s really going to change the world.

    If he’d gone the anti discrimination road, and the board had found in his favour, the bar would have been raised for comments and forums right across the blogosphere, because ALL publishers would have to be a lot more careful and aware about getting fined. Even the ones who don’t carry advertising.

    Think about it.

    Like

  10. Mikey Bear February 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    It’s all so easy to write that in hindsight Jennifer. You’ve seen the ramifications of his selfless actions, and I can tell you they’ve been selfless. He has nothing personal to gain from this experience. Anyone who runs for politics in a federal election knowing they’re not going to get into office, campaigns their arse off, only gets a few hundred votes and less votes at that than someone who didn’t even campaign, is clearly not doing it for their own selfish interests. That’s the sort of person Gregory is. I know, because he’s my partner and he’s not selfish.

    You’re welcome to make character assassinations of my partner, Gregory Storer, but it really only reflects on you, because anyone who knows him knows that what you write is simply uninformed and speculative.

    Feel free to pooh-hoo what I write, I really don’t care. It’s your blog and you own it, but you don’t own the truth and you don’t own reality, and at this stage there’s very little reality or truth in what you write.

    Michael “Mikey Bear” Barnett.

    Like

    • Michael Barnett February 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      On re-reading this blog you clearly have misconstrued Gregory’s comment on Ambit Gambit. He never admitted he was a gay activist or that he attacked anything. He just reiterated the language of the author, using the quotation device. He was simply saying that he was the person being referred to, without accepting the accusations.

      How could you have overlooked something as simple as that?

      Michael.

      Like

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  1. Tweets that mention Meet Gregory Storer – the man who persuaded ANZ and IBM to dump an on line community « No Place For Sheep -- Topsy.com - February 8, 2011

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