Australian actor vilifies family of Bourke St victims
AN AUSTRALIAN actor has repeatedly impersonated and vilified the friends and family of a little girl killed in Melbourne's Bourke St massacre via a series of phone calls and public videos.
Neighbours and Underbelly bit-part actor Peter Kusznir, who has more than 18,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, was reportedly instructed by police to pull down at least three lengthy videos where he vilified several victims who were killed and injured in the tragedy.
News.com.au has obtained copies of the videos - which have all been reported to police - but decided not to publish them.
Mr Kusznir also impersonated a family friend of slain schoolgirl Thalia Hakin, 10, in recorded phone calls to two Melbourne hospitals before uploading audio of the conversations to his channel.
Mr Kusznir, a conspiracy theorist, believes the Bourke Street attack never took place and that "no car went down Bourke Street". In his online videos he goes as far as to question the injuries sustained by victims in the rampage.
He makes numerous other horrific comments about people hurt in the attack, their families and some general anti-Semitic comments about Jewish people.
In one video Mr Kusznir can be heard calling the Royal Melbourne Hospital and telling a receptionist he is an old friend of Thalia's mother, Nathalie Hakin, who was severely injured in the Bourke St attack on January 20.
"I just arrived in Melbourne yesterday in regards to this tragedy that happened last week ... an old friend of mine is apparently in Melbourne Hospital ... I was just wondering when visiting hours were," Mr Kusznir tells the hospital 10 days after the tragedy.
"She's been there for about a week now ... her name is Nathalie Hakin."
The receptionist tells him that Ms Hakin has been moved to Epworth Hospital in Richmond.
"Does that mean she's in good condition?" Mr Kusznir asks.
His call is then transferred to Epworth Hospital.
Mr Kusznir: "I've just arrived in Melbourne from interstate and I've found out there's an old friend of mine that was involved in that tragedy last week in Melbourne.
"I ... was wondering what visiting hours were possible.
"I plan on going into the city and hopefully visit her.
"Her name is Hakin ... Nathalie."
Receptionist: "Who's calling?"
Mr Kusznir: "Does it really matter? Is this the general thing you do when someone calls to ask for visiting hours? So if I don't give you my name you're not going to give me details?"
Mr Kusznir eventually gives his first name only and the receptionist transfers his call to a nurse on the rehabilitation ward.
Mr Kusznir: "All I wanted to know was the visiting hours."
Nurse: "I just need a name because she's got a blockage on who can visit her."
Mr Kusznir: "It's an old friend of hers from years back. You've got my first name."
The nurse refuses to budge and threatens to end the call.
Mr Kusznir: "Is she well? Because she was in a critical condition only a few days ago. Can I just ask: 'What's the big secret?
"She was involved in a big tragedy and I just want to visit and give her flowers."
The nurse tells Mr Kusznir he is wasting her time.
"I think she's not even injured," Mr Kusznir says before the call is terminated.
Dr Dvir Abramovich, the chairman of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, a leading Jewish civil rights organisation, told news.com.au he was "deeply distressed by this unrestrained hatred" towards the Hakin family.
"This obsessive crusade against the Hakin family is dripping with venomous demonisation that breaks my heart," Mr Abramovich said.
"That anyone would callously exploit the tragic death of a young girl and the unimaginable suffering of her family to promote their agenda and poison the minds of others should make every Australian shudder.
"The fact these reprehensible videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times, and the troubling comments posted, demonstrate that there are those eager to openly embrace and spread conspiracy theories."
Victorian police told news.com.au they were aware of the videos, but could not comment further.
Thirty-seven people were taken to hospital after a driver mowed down pedestrians, mounting footpaths, on Bourke St in Melbourne on January 20.
Six people were killed including three-month-old Zachary Bryant, Thalia Hakin, 10; Matthew Si, 33; Jess Mudie, 22; an unnamed Japanese man, 25, and Bhavita Patel, 33.
Dimitrious Gargasoulas, 27, has been charged with five counts of murder and is expected to be charged with Ms Patel's murder as well.