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The Diary of Anne Frank, Melbourne: Disturbing graffiti exposes sick game

The Advertiser 2019-08-13 07:38:00

Theatregoers heading to see a production about Anne Frank in Melbourne over the weekend were horrified to see the show’s billboard had been daubed with disturbing graffiti.

Scrawled in thick red spray paint, the advertisement for The Diary of Anne Frank had been defaced with a massive swastika.

The billboard was also tagged with the word “@leroy” which is the Instagram username of Sam Hyde — an American comedian who has been falsely linked to a number of mass shootings in the US.

Internet pranksters spreading the hoax often share a meme of the comedian holding a gun with the words “Sam Hyde is the shooter”. They often falsely describe him as a far-right Donald Trump supporter.

Reacting to reports of the graffiti in Melbourne over the weekend, Mr Hyde took to his Twitter account overnight, writing: “Wtf... Why are they tagging Anne Frank w(ith) my Instagram handle.... This is atrocious!!!!!!”


“I am the man whose Instagram username is featured in the horrifying and abusive vandalisation of the Anne Frank poster,” he later wrote in a tweet, adding that he’d like to have “serious discussion” about anti-Semitism.

Peridot Theatre Company, based in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Mount Waverly, posted to its Facebook page on Sunday morning to say it was “UPSET, ANGRY (and) DISGUSTED” by the incident.

The graffiti, which the company has since scrubbed off, was sprayed less than 24 hours before opening night.

“This action is sickening,” the company wrote.

“Anne wrote: ‘I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.’

“We are honoured to tell Anne’s story. We say NO to hate.”

Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of civil rights organisation Anti-Defamation Commission, said anti-Semitic graffiti is “spreading like wildfire” in Melbourne — where a number of swastikas have been painted on walls and buildings in recent months.

Overnight, Treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Josh Frydenberg took to Twitter to hit out at the vandalism.

“The swastika is a sign of infamy, evil and hate,” he wrote.

“Sadly though, it’s becoming all too common across vandalised sites in Melbourne, the latest being on a promotion for a theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank. These criminals have no shame and no sense of history.”

The swastika is a sign of infamy, evil and hate. Sadly though, it’s becoming all too common across vandalised sites in Melbourne, the latest being on a promotion for a theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank. These criminals have no shame and no sense of history. pic.twitter.com/viTh8ejiz8

— Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg) August 12, 2019

Dr Abramovich said the decision to target The Diary of Anne Frank was particularly disturbing.

“This shameful and cowardly desecration of Holocaust remembrance is clearly driven by hate- mongers and bigots who wish to destroy Anne Franks’ enduring legacy and her words of courage and hope that have inspired so many around the world,” he said.

“As we know, there are still individuals with evil in their hearts walking in our midst, who seek to target Jews and denigrate the Holocaust, using the devil’s tools of intimidation.

“These despicable and chilling incidents of anti-Semitism and swastika vandalisation, that are spreading like wildfire throughout Melbourne, are of grave concern and point to the dangerous uptick in prejudice and intolerance infecting our nation.”

He added that Australia needs to ensure educational programs about the Holocaust and the dangers of racism are widely taught in schools.

“We hope that the perpetrators of this ugly campaign are identified and are dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

Originally published as ‘Atrocious’: US comedian’s outrage