One of the leaders of an Australian neo-Nazi group allegedly attacked a Channel Nine security guard in Melbourne yesterday afternoon, hours before A Current Affair broadcast a story involving his organisation.
According to Nine, Thomas Sewell, who leads the far-right National Socialist Network, arrived at the Melbourne office with an unidentified associate and demanded to see staff from the program.
Sewell’s associate filmed the scene as the security guard escorted the pair out of the building. The footage was posted online.
“So now security has decided to forcibly remove us and try to touch our property,” Sewell tells the camera as he exits the building.
The security guard follows Sewell outside and tells him where he is allowed to film.
“That white line – you can go there and film. All right?” he says.
The person holding the camera then uses a racial slur, telling the guard: “Dance monkey, dance.”
“Watch yourself. I’m not a dance monkey. Watch yourself,” the guard responds.
The camera is extremely close to the guard at this point and only his torso is visible, so it’s unclear exactly what happens next, but the situation quickly escalates.
“Don’t you f***ing touch me,” Sewell’s associate says. Immediately afterwards, Sewell accosts the guard and appears to throw multiple punches.
The guard falls to the ground, and Sewell proceeds to stand over him, holding him down. Members of the public are heard yelling at Sewell to “leave him”.
After a few moments, the security guard rises to his feet again and squares off with Sewell.
“Hey, hey, no no no. Hey, back off. Back off guys,” one witness says.
“You put your hands on me, back off,” Sewell tells the guard.
“Back off. You can’t put your hands on people. You f***ed with the wrong person.”
The video ends with Sewell walking away from the building, his T-shirt ripped.
The guard was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Victoria Police confirmed to The Guardian that officers were called to an address at Docklands following “reports a man was assaulted”.
“It’s believed the victim was approached and assaulted by an unknown man at a Bourke Street business about 5pm,” police said.
“The offender, along with another man, both fled the scene and remain outstanding.
“The victim was transported to hospital with injuries. Police are investigating the incident and ask anyone who witnessed it to come forward.”
Police have been given CCTV footage of the incident.
A Current Affair’s reporting on Sewell’s organisation last night came during a broader story about a UK-based group, Sonnenkrieg Division. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has accepted an ASIO recommendation to label it a “terrorist organisation”.
Sonnenkrieg Division was outlawed in Britain due to multiple members being jailed for terrorism offences.
“They have a presence that we’re particularly worried about in the UK, but their reach goes into the minds of young people and Australians here,” Mr Dutton said.
The program obtained images of about 40 men linked to the National Socialist Network hiking through the Grampians in Victoria over the Australia Day weekend, raising their arms in Nazi salutes and burning a cross.
Footage showed them chanting “Ku Klux Klan”. A witness told A Current Affair she’d also heard the group chanting “heil Hitler” and “white power”.
In another video uploaded after yesterday’s incident, Sewell speaks to the camera from inside a car, his shirt still ripped, claiming he and his associate are the victims.
“We were just in an altercation. We were assaulted by a security guard outside the front of the Channel Nine office,” he says.
“I went down there with a cameraman to speak to some of the producers or editors. They refused to come out and speak to us, which shows their journalistic ethics.
“The security guard asked us to leave, and after a conversation, we decided to leave. We walked out the front, and while we walked out the front, he assaulted the cameraman. He grabbed the cameraman by the neck.
“Out of reasonable self-defence for the cameraman, to stop him from having his throat crushed, I disabled the attacker.
“More security guards came out, looked like they were going to assault us, so we darted off.”
Sewell said he was expecting “probably some police attention soon”.