Judge awards GTA restauranteur $2.5M for suffering ‘hate speech at its worst’
A self-styled online media personality whose websites frequently air anti-Muslim content has been ordered to pay the owner of a prominent Middle Eastern restaurant chain millions of dollars after publicly accusing him of funding terrorism.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Ferguson ordered Kevin J. Johnston to pay a total of $2.5 million in damages for defamation to Mohamad Fakih, the owner and founder of Paramount Fine Foods.
Johnston, who operated websites including FreedomReport.ca and recently came in second place in Mississauga’s mayoral race, posted multiple videos attacking Fakih.
In the videos, shot in 2017, Johnston made a series of incendiary statements including a claim Fakih was an “economic terrorist” with backing from the Pakistani spy agency.
He also alleged restaurant policy barred staff from admitting anyone who wasn’t a “jihadist.”
Ferguson says Johnston’s words amounted to hate speech that called for particularly strong condemnation from the court.
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