United Australia Party (UAP) leader Clive Palmer. (AAPImage/Jeremy Piper)
United Australia Party (UAP) leader Clive Palmer. (AAPImage/Jeremy Piper)

Clive Palmer in bizarre fat shaming scandal

CLIVE Palmer has been fat shamed in a Wikipedia page sabotage by an employee of the law firm representing liquidators in his dispute with Queensland Nickel.

A Gold Coast Bulletin investigation revealed an employee of HWL Ebsworth changed the Gold Coast United FC Wikipedia page on Monday to say Clive Palmer was the "fattest man in Queensland".

The law firm, which has offices across the country, yesterday launched an internal investigation following questions by the Bulletin and admitted that one of its employees had changed the Wikipedia page.

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The unnamed employee altered a sentence that originally read "The club was owned by Clive Palmer, the wealthiest man in Queensland", to "Clive Palmer, the fattest man in Queensland".

It was the second attempt at sabotaging the page. The first misspelt the word "fattest".

HWL Ebsworth was forced to change the line back to "wealthiest'' yesterday following the internal investigation.

According to its website, HWL Ebsworth "continues to represent the General Purpose Liquidators of Queensland Nickel".

Mr Palmer's Queensland Nickel collapsed in 2016 with debts of $300 million. More than 800 people were put out of work.

Federal Government-appointed liquidators were brought in to try to recover the money, with a trial expected to begin in April. The liquidators will allege Mr Palmer and his nephew, Clive Mensink, breached their duties while running Queensland Nickel and traded while insolvent.

An incensed Clive Palmer yesterday told the Bulletin he would refer the comments to his solicitor.

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Mr Palmer’s Queensland Nickel collapsed in 2016 with debts of $300 million.
Mr Palmer’s Queensland Nickel collapsed in 2016 with debts of $300 million.

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"I'll refer it (the Wikipedia page sabotage) to my solicitor, but what it indicates more seriously is that the law firm acting for the other side is not impartial," Mr Palmer said.

"What this indicates is that this law firm has crossed a line and the law firm is not impartial and they should resign … they shouldn't be attacking people personally that they are in litigation with.

"It's a bad thing for a law firm to do that's involved in litigation against us, to try to undermine us on a Wikipedia site. It's a breach of professional conduct.

"A law firm is supposed to have a professional level of conduct and it doesn't go well for their legal firm or the people responsible.

"It's disappointing for the legal profession that this sort of thing goes on really, it reflects on them more than me."

The latest changes to the page can be seen.
The latest changes to the page can be seen.

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He said it was another example of how people were trying to keep him out of politics.

"It seems to be the case (that they're out to get me) … it's just part of the overall conspiracy.''

Mr Palmer said although he had thick skin, people should not judge or shame people for their appearance.

"It's disappointing that people are judging others by how fat they are," he said.

"It (weight) is a constant battle for a lot of people, it shouldn't be used to diminish people's character because of their physical appearance, whether they're too skinny, too fat, or ugly or beautiful.

HWL Ebsworth employee makes changes to Gold Coast United FC Wikipedia page, fat shaming Clive Palmer.
HWL Ebsworth employee makes changes to Gold Coast United FC Wikipedia page, fat shaming Clive Palmer.

"People just shouldn't do these sort of things. There's a lot of prejudice in our society against fat people in general.

"It doesn't worry me so much, I've got thick skin, but there are a lot of people who are very sensitive about their weight and it's not good to see this sort of thing."

The law firm yesterday confirmed it had found a culprit and made them change the Wikipedia page back to "wealthiest".

HWL Ebsworth national marketing manager Russell Mailler said the employee would face internal disciplinary action.

"HWL Ebsworth does not tolerate any conduct that may be considered to be offensive to any individual, regardless of who they are within the community," Mr Mailler said.

"We have undertaken an internal investigation and the individual responsible for the comment on Wikipedia has been identified.

"The individual acted against firm policy and without authority, and will now be subjected to internal disciplinary procedures.

"I can confirm that the change to the Wikipedia page has been reversed by the individual."