In Brief

Greta Thunberg responds to ‘deeply disturbed’ hit piece

Newspaper columnist had said the climate change campaigner had mental health issues

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has hit back at the Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt for his column that mocked her autism diagnosis.

Bolt’s column in the Herald Sun attacked the Swedish schoolgirl, describing her as “deeply disturbed”, “freakishly influential” and “strange”.

Writing on Twitter, the Swedish schoolgirl criticised the “hate and conspiracy campaigns” run by climate deniers like Bolt and, turning his insult back against him, she said “I am indeed ‘deeply disturbed’ by them”. She also asked: “Where are the adults?”

He had described her followers as members of a cult and mocked her plan to sail across the Atlantic in a high-speed racing yacht to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile.

“Thunberg has announced she’s finally going to the United States, the last bastion of the heathen, to preach the global warming faith to the Americans,” Bolt wrote. “Of course, she’s going by racing yacht, because she refuses to fly and heat the planet with an aeroplane’s global warming gasses.”

In a column packed with personal attacks, he wrote: “I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru.

“Far more interesting is why so many adults – including elected politicians, top business leaders, the Pope and journalists – treat a young and strange girl with such awe and even rapture.

“Her intense fear of the climate is not surprising from someone with disorders which intensify fears.”

Bolt even took aim at Greta’s younger sister, saying she has “a spectacular range of mental issues”.

Thunberg rose to prominence around the world after inspiring tens of thousands of students to walk out of school and demand more government action on climate change. She has been nominated for a Nobel peace prize.

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