MILO Yiannopoulos’ tour promoter said he will take the Victorian government to court if he is slapped with a $50,000 bill to cover the heavy police presence at his Melbourne event.
Penthouse publisher Damien Costas, who organised the controversial tour, told news.com.au the announcement from the state’s Police Minister Lisa Neville was “political grandstanding from a lame duck politician”.
“We have not been sent the bill yet, but if we do my message to the minister is simple — sue me,” Costas said.
“She has no idea how much effort went into the policing and security of the event — we worked extensively with Victoria police over several months.
“They knew exactly where Milo would be speaking and where. We helped with intelligence, so they knew exactly what to expect and who would be turning up. To their credit, they did a good job.”
Hundreds of police were sent in to control up to 500 left-wing and up to 50 right-wing activists who clashed violently outside Yiannopoulos’ Kensington event.
Two people were arrested and five officers injured in clashes outside the venue on Monday night.
Minister Neville said it’s routine for police to send the bill to organisers in such an event.
“I’m not sure whether they have (agreed to pay it) but they will certainly be getting a bill for it,” Ms Neville told 3AW on Wednesday night.
Organisers for Yiannopoulos’ Australian tour previously said they expected to be billed about $150,000 for the police presence, according to AAP.
However, Costas said the 3000 people who bought tickets for the event were not part of the rioting that went on outside the venue.
“The 3000 people who bought tickets went to have a bit of fun, have a laugh and debate a bit of politics at a perfectly legitimate event,” he said.
“The people that caused all the trouble did not have tickets. The fact that a minister has come in, after the event, and criticised us is so typical of politicians.”
Seven people were also arrested after clashing with police and fans outside the secret Sydney event of controversial British commentator.
Fans of the Yiannopoulos were heckled by anti-fascist protesters chanting: “Muslims are welcome, Milo is not,” and “Nazi scum off our street.”
Ms Neville told reporters: “There were a lot of resources put in and I’ve had a lot of interesting tweets sent to me saying, ‘What a waste of police resources,’ but unfortunately in that situation, we’ve got two groups who pretty much set out to cause the harm that they did … try and cause violence and try and get on the TV so police are there to try and protect the general public.
“There is a definable cost to this, Victoria police have some costings per officer, depending on the seniority officers.
“There is for lots of events where there is an agreement with Victoria police around the cost and cost-sharing arrangement. Police do some community based events which are not-for-profit, but for these sort of rallies and also for the AFL and those big events there is an agreement around the cost.”
After the Melbourne show, Costas told news.com.au he “knew for a fact there is going to be a repeat incident” in Sydney.
He also said the alt-right star and the team behind the tour had received death threats since touching down in Australia.
“There have been many death threats targeted at Milo, myself and others in the team,” Mr Costas told news.com.au on Tuesday.
“Safety is a major concern.”
— with Megan Palin
Share your story — email@example.com or follow @bengrahamjourno on Twitter.