Jim’s Mowing denies sexist letter
Jim's Mowing founder Jim Penman has denied sending a racist and sexist letter to a Victorian Greens senator, claiming the document purportedly sent from his company was "crude forgery" of one of his press releases.
Victoria's first Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe told parliament about the letter, which allegedly directed Ms Thorpe to "get off her fat black ass" and was signed with an electronic signature claiming to be Mr Penman's.
"Why don't you get off your fat black ass and instead of wasting time marching around private property on 'Djab Wurrung country' to stop tree felling, actually do some work with your taxpayer funded job?" the letter stated.
"I have only been in this job, in public office, for a matter of weeks and the misogyny, sexism and racism is coming in thick and fast," Ms Thorpe told the Senate on Tuesday night.
But Mr Penman denied sending the letter and said he had "no idea" who Lida Thorpe was until Tuesday night.
"I have written several books, had a book written about me, and recorded many hours of interviews. I challenge anyone to point to one statement I have ever made that made derogatory comments about aboriginals or about a woman for her looks," he told NCA NewsWire.
"I find the statements made about her to be vile, sexist, racist and deeply offensive.
"This was almost certainly a fraud committed by someone offended by my stand against Daniel Andrews over the recent lockdown.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate her on her achievement in becoming a Senator. This is a major step forward for the Australian people and long overdue. If she is interested I would be very happy to convey my best wishes in person."
The mowing magnate has been outspoken about Victoria's lockdown, making various public statements on how the harsh COVID-19 measures had impacted hundreds of his franchisees across the state.
He said about 700 franchisees and respective self-employed tradesmen had lost about $3000 a week over about 12 weeks of lockdown.
The 700 franchisees have joined a Carbone Lawyers multimillion-dollar class action against the Victorian government, pushing for about $20 million in compensation.
Originally published as Jim's Mowing denies sexist letter