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Greta Thunberg hits back at Andrew Bolt for 'deeply disturbing' column

The Guardian logo The Guardian 2/08/2019 Amanda Meade

a woman wearing a white shirt and black hair: Greta Thunberg has tweeted in response to Andrew Bolt’s column that called her ‘deeply disturbed’. © AFP/Getty Images Greta Thunberg has tweeted in response to Andrew Bolt’s column that called her ‘deeply disturbed’. The teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has hit back at the Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt for writing a deeply offensive column that mocked her autism diagnosis.

The Swedish schoolgirl posted a tweet overnight calling out the “hate and conspiracy campaigns” run by climate deniers like Bolt, adopting his insult that she was “deeply disturbed” and turning it back on him.

The widely read Herald Sun columnist and Sky News commentator used his significant platform to take aim at the 16-year-old campaigner, dismissing her followers as members of a cult and disparaging her decision to sail across the Atlantic in a high-speed racing yacht to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile.

“Thunberg has announced she’s finally going to the United States, the last bastion of the heathen, to preach the global warming faith to the Americans,” Bolt wrote. “Of course, she’s going by racing yacht, because she refuses to fly and heat the planet with an aeroplane’s global warming gasses.”

The highly personal character assassination published in Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids repeatedly referred to Greta’s mental health, saying she was “deeply disturbed”, “freakishly influential” and “strange”.

“I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru,” Bolt wrote.

“Far more interesting is why so many adults – including elected politicians, top business leaders, the Pope and journalists – treat a young and strange girl with such awe and even rapture.

“Her intense fear of the climate is not surprising from someone with disorders which intensify fears.”

Bolt even described Greta’s younger sister as having “a spectacular range of mental issues”.

But the campaigner sees her condition not as a disability but as a gift which has helped open her eyes to the climate crisis.

The teenager, whose solo protest last year sparked the Fridays for Future global school climate strike movement, is taking a year off school to attend the summits, on 23 September in New York and 2-13 December in Santiago.

Bolt said Greta was wrong on climate change because “the evidence does not suggest that humanity faces doom”.

The editor of the Herald Sun, Damon Johnston, did not respond to a request for comment.

Attacks on the teenager are commonplace in the rightwing media. On the same day Bolt’s column appeared an anonymous column in the News Corp broadsheet the Australian referred to Greta as “the pig-tailed soothsayer”.

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