Two notorious Australian neo-Nazis have been exposed as the likely architects of a threatening video in which a masked man denigrates Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe before burning the Aboriginal flag.
Forensic analysis by ABC Investigations suggests there are reasonable grounds to suspect Melbourne men Jimeone Roberts and Stefanos Eracleous are behind the images that sparked national outrage last week.
Warning: This story contains references to racist and sexist remarks and offensive images.
They are members of the white supremacist group National Socialist Network (NSN).
The ABC also found Eracleous was behind a campaign of racist harassment targeting Ms Thorpe and other high-profile Indigenous Australians, which intensified during the Voice to Parliament referendum.
The video ridiculing Senator Thorpe was posted to X, formerly Twitter, by an anonymous account. In the footage, a man wearing a balaclava is seen standing in front of a fire at an undisclosed location.
His voice has been digitally altered, but he is heard referring to First Nations Australians in racist terms. The video ends with a Nazi salute.
The video – which ABC has chosen not to publish in its entirety – has been widely condemned as “cowardly”, “disgusting” and “threatening”, and is currently the subject of an investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP ).
At a press conference in Melbourne on Thursday, Senator Thorpe, who campaigned for a no vote in the Voice referendum in Parliament, accused the AFP of failing to protect her from racist abuse and threats, saying : “For four months I was not allowed to enter my house because people want to kill me there.”
Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the man in the video or the origins of the video, but digital breadcrumbs discovered by ABC Investigations connect him to Eracleous and Roberts.
Metadata Reveals Involvement
The video was first published on X on October 1 and removed by the platform on October 5.
The same day, Eracleous published a significantly higher quality version on his Telegram channel Aus Meditations 51. The figure refers to the number of victims killed by an Australian gunman during the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings.
Eracleous posted it with the caption: “This should be kept public so people can see the truth.”
Unlike other social media platforms, Telegram preserves the original metadata of uploaded videos. Examining the video properties reveals that the file name is “whorpe new vid jimbo ddd”.
Jimbo is a nickname Roberts gives to himself and several far-right Telegram channels he runs. It is also used by Eracleous and other members of the NSN.
Importantly, a timestamp of the video’s creation reveals that the version Eracleous posted on Telegram predates the one that first appeared on Twitter, indicating he had access to the original video before it was rendered public.
The metadata also shows that the video was encoded using Vireo, software that has been used on other videos on the Eracleous channel.
Similarities between this footage and another flag-burning video from last year also point to the involvement of Eracleous and Roberts.
On January 17 last year, a separate 13-minute video was released showing three masked men burning the Aboriginal flag and ridiculing Senator Thorpe as a “Whorpe”. The video was credited to the “Warriors of the Convict Resistance” (WACR) and shared by its supposed leader “John Dixon”.
In last week’s video, the masked man also mentions the names “John Dixon” and the WACR.
Records of private Telegram chats provided by anti-fascist research group White Rose Society showed Eracleous signed a letter under the pseudonym “John Dixon” during an argument with a Melbourne publican last year.
These same records also show that the WACR was a pet project of Eracleous. He signs many posts with his name and has shared proposed logo designs for the group during discussions about white supremacy.
The publication of the 2022 video prompted the AFP to raid Eracleous’ home last June. Police seized three electronic devices, accusing him of using a transport service to threaten, harass or offend.
ABC Investigations also linked “Jimbo” Roberts to the 2022 video. Using real estate photos, ABC confirmed it was filmed in the backyard of a known Roberts address in Melbourne’s northeast .
Roberts’ eyes can be seen under a hood in the 2022 video. An analysis of her voice and other public appearances by Roberts also confirmed that they are one and the same.
Independent far-right and extremist researcher Kaz Ross reviewed the ABC Investigations analysis and said: “I have no doubt in my mind that this was the video of Jim (Roberts) and Stefanos (Eracleous).
Dr. Ross spent hours watching and listening to Roberts and Eracleous speak this year as part of his research.
“No one in the NSN movement (except Roberts) has that physique. He also has a certain way of pronouncing words that is very idiosyncratic,” Dr. Ross said.
She said it was suspicious that Eracleous was the first – and only – to promote the latest WACR video and the only person to refer to Ms Thorpe by the derogatory “Whorpe”.
Eracleous denied being involved in “the making or production” of the video and refused to answer questions about who was involved.
Roberts did not respond to questions.
A story of white supremacy
Both Roberts and Eracleous have disturbing and vitriolic stories, which have alarmed far-right pundits.
Roberts has a swastika and another symbol of white supremacy tattooed on his chest and shoulders.
Last year, a Melbourne magistrate called his actions “disgusting, vile and repugnant” after he put up more than 50 swastika stickers in a suburb with a large Jewish population, the day after the Victorian government announced that he would criminalize this symbol of hatred.
He narrowly escaped prison after pleading guilty to public nuisance and was ordered to carry out community service.
Eracleous’ Telegram bio once said he was a “ticking time bomb” while referencing the Christchurch shootings and calling himself a “hardcore Aryan.”
ABC Investigations also examined more than two and a half years of Eracleous’ online footprints and found his abuse of Senator Thorpe began as early as May 2021.
In a now-deleted Telegram channel run by Eracleous, more than 500 references to the senator were made between April 2020 and September 2023 – most of them racist, sexist or derogatory in nature.
He plastered Melbourne suburbs with racist and white supremacist stickers. On several occasions, he encouraged his supporters to attend and derail events at which she spoke.
After Senator Thorpe’s press conference last week, Eracleous claimed in her Telegram that no direct threats were made against her in the 2023 video.
Then he intensified his attacks against her. After Thursday’s press conference, Eracleous referred to Senator Thorpe – in mostly racist and misogynistic terms – more than 60 times on his Telegram channel to his 1,100 subscribers.
Eracleous also launched vicious attacks on other prominent Indigenous figures during the referendum, particularly academic Marcia Langton.
Senator Thorpe was not available for comment.
The AFP said it was investigating the matter and would make no further comment.
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