South Australia Attorney General Demands $20,000 From Web Commenter Who Called Him A Crook

from the atkinson's-demands dept

We've written a few times recently about South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, who not only fears angry video gamers, but also upset a bunch of folks with a law that would ban anonymous political speech online during election season. After public outcry over that law, Atkinson quickly backed down and promised (1) not to enforce the law and (2) to repeal it after the election. Now, reader athe alerts us that perhaps the reason Atkinson wanted to outlaw anonymity is because in a case where an online newspaper commenter referred to Atkinson as a "crook" in a comment, Atkinson is now demanding $20,000 from the guy. Seriously.

Apparently, there was a story about Atkinson, and in the comments to that story, one Dean McQuillan -- who was not anonymous and did use his name -- vented his frustration with Atkinson by referring to him as a "crook." In the political realm this is a pretty typical and somewhat benign epithet. You would think that someone in politics for as long as Atkinson would brush it off. No way. He apparently sent legal nastygrams to the newspaper, who removed the comments quickly and then later was pressured to post a separate apology. Then he sent a letter to McQuillan with the following demands:
1. $20,000 as compensation; 2. Publication of a full retraction and apology to be posted on the Adelaide Now website;
Honestly, I can't recall a politician ever demanding cash as "compensation" from someone over a random insult. As for "defamation," it's not like anyone reading those comments would think that Atkinson was actually a crook because some guy in the comments to a newspaper called him that. But, you might think that those reading stories about this $20,000 might think a lot worse of Atkinson than anyone reading about a random commenter calling him a crook.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Commenter proven correct

    It seems by trying to extort $20,000 out of this guy, he's proven that he actually IS a crook, and therefore the commenter was just stating a fact. Mr. McQuillan should demand Atkinson issue him an appology and some compensation.

     

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    RD, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Wonder if its the same down under...

    This is extortion, and I dont know about Aussie law, but its usually frowned upon in most countries, and is usually illegal. That its also coming from a major AG only adds to the shakedown aspect and makes this guy look like a major crook. HEY! South Australia AG! YOU ARE A CROOK! Gonnna threaten me now? Good luck, lets go to court! Would love to see what a US judge thinks of a member of the law community shaking down people over their OPINIONS. First Amendment, here we come!

     

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    Robert Ring (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Yeah, well, this is Australia we're talking about.

    (P.S. Mike - You wrote "hame" instead of "name")

     

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    yozoo, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Michael Atkinson

    In my opinion he is a crook. Not only that, he is also a child molester, chronic masturbator and a closeted homosexual.

     

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      Yakko Warner, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

      Re: Michael Atkinson

      I heard South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson raped and murdered a young girl in 1990.

      At least, he hasn't offered any proof otherwise...

       

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    Jeff, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    If you ever wondered why politicians never seem to do any actual work, here you go. He's wasting his time reading comments and tracking down those who post something about him he doesn't like.

    Spending more time trying to go after those with a negative view of him online is such a great use of tax dollars! To hell with trying to pass any worthwhile legislation.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    "a full retraction and apology"

    Here's a sample Dean McQuillan could use:
    I retract and apologize to Michael Atkinson about calling him a crook. He is not a crook, he's a bully, a jerk, and a first class ass.

     

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      Valkor, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      I believe dear Mr. McQuillian is going to have to hire a larger billing company to handle charges for the flood of insults that are about to head his way.

       

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      Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      Apology: "When I called him a crook, I'm afraid I mispoke. I aplogize for that. What I meant to say is that given the chance, he'd sell his own mother for a quarter. Or shake down any critic for $20 grand. I retract my earlier statement and hope that Mr. Atkinson will consider this statement my true feelings on the matter."

       

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      Sonofswift, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:40pm

      Re: Sample apology

      How about "I'm sorry you're a crook"

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    I am of the opinion that any politician who would demand a significant sum of money for being called a crook would indeed be a crook.

     

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    Rob.Etler (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    WhoCanISue.com is having a field day with this one, no doubt.

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      aww... I thought that was going to be a blog about frivolous lawsuits. Instead it's just a attorney directory with an incredibly honest title.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

      Re:

      in FAQ:

      we are a legal information portal that provides our Network Members the ability to advertise directly to potential clients who have answered a series of questions to become "qualified" for a particular claim using our patent pending model;

      oooh patents!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    I would have removed the R in the word.

     

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      Richard (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:34pm

      Re:

      I would have removed the R in the word.

      He's a cook? I don't think so, he strikes me as the "women stay at home in the kitchen" type.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:50pm

      Re:

      Perhaps .... drop the r and replace the C with a K?
      Or are you referring to his lineage to the famous captain Cook who alegedly "discovered" Australia?
      A Kooky crook who cooks the books.

       

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    Jimmy, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    And he'll still keep his position...

    Interesting move by Atkinson this close to election time. What's going to do more damage, someone random individual calling him a crook on the internet, or throwing a tantrum and demanding a ridiculous sum of money in "compensation" from said individual (which will also inadvertently draw much more attention to the fact that this guy called him a crook)?

     

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    Stephen Harper, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

    thats right all Canada calls you a crook

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

      Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

      "thats right all Canada calls you a crook"

      You speak for ALL of Canada? Sweet, I gotta couple requests while you're here:

      1. Change the name of Canadian Bacon to something else. You aren't fooling anyone....

      2. The next time you want to host the winter olympics, how about doing it someplace where it snows occasionally?

      3. We don't want anymore of your newscasters. Stop exporting the to the States....

      4. Can you do something about Sarah Palin? I know she's one of ours, but your closer and the smell has to be KILLING you....

      5. How about figuring out that whole Quebec thing? I'm sick of hearing about how they want independence. Slap that bitch down like it stole something!

       

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        Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

        "1. Change the name of Canadian Bacon to something else."

        Canadians actually call it back bacon. It's Americans who insist on calling it Canadian bacon.

        "2. The next time you want to host the winter olympics, how about doing it someplace where it snows occasionally?"

        Like the US did when they hosted it last in SALT LAKE CITY?

        "3. We don't want anymore of your newscasters. Stop exporting the to the States...."

        Speak for yourself.

        "4. Can you do something about Sarah Palin? I know she's one of ours, but your closer and the smell has to be KILLING you...."

        I'm not sure what smell you're (notice I used the conjuntive form) refering to, but if you get rid of Keith Olberman, I'll see what I can do about Palin.

        "5. How about figuring out that whole Quebec thing? I'm sick of hearing about how they want independence. Slap that bitch down like it stole something!"

        I say if they want independence, give it to them. Those Frog wannabes are annoying. Good riddance.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

          "Canadians actually call it back bacon. It's Americans who insist on calling it Canadian bacon."

          Dammit, you totally busted me on an American ethnocentrism moment. Christ, and I do try so hard to avoid those....

          "Like the US did when they hosted it last in SALT LAKE CITY?"

          Huh, you know, I'm searching up and down for any reference to a lack of snow at the 2002 games, and I can't find any. Now, most of the events that required snow were held nearby at snowy locales, like Park City Resort, so I think we had that fairly well covered....

          "Speak for yourself."

          No. I speak for America as their unofficial Vizier....

          "I'm not sure what smell you're (notice I used the conjuntive form) refering to, but if you get rid of Keith Olberman, I'll see what I can do about Palin."

          Wow, you're smart, Captain no-typo. In any case, the smell would be some combination of sweat, gun powder, and despair. As for Keith Olberman, I'll gladly get on that for you....

           

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            Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

            True, SLC didn't suffer from a lack of snow, but that illistrates that it's possible to host a Winter Olympics (TM) in a venue that's not very snowy as long as you do it right. Which clearly Vancouver didn't do.

            I happen to like the smell of gun power. And women don't sweat, they glisten...

            I couldn't resist the typo jab. Sorry.

             

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              Any Mouse, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

              Considering the average yearly snowfall in Salt Lake City is 54 inches (that's about 135cm), I don't know if it qualifies as 'not very snowy.' At least not in the US.

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:57am

        Re: Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

        Quebec is Canadas Texas. Its big, the people are really stupid and noone else can understand them.

         

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        LeBazz (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re: Michael Atkinson YOU SIR are a crook

        5. How about figuring out that whole Quebec thing? I'm sick of hearing about how they want independence. Slap that bitch down like it stole something!

        How Canadian would that be ??? Back in '95, Ottawa sent us busloads of people in a huge demonstration, to tell us how much they love us. They don't want us to leave... And in the last 15 years, there has been a big shift towards pragmatism in the public opinion. Independence has mostly left the public debate, except for some idealistic dreamers... But you, in your great quality of Dark Ruler, should know more than anyone how people get emotional around injustices... :)

        You know it could have been a good idea back in '80... But the global political and economic climates have changed so much since then...

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    I am not a crook. I've earned everything I've got.

     

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    Alatar, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    What a crook! By the way Australia is amazing

    Hell that guy's a crook, as proven by the money extortion thing. Hope the Streisand effect will make an Internet star out of him.

    But what could we expect from politicians from the country which banned anonymous political comments (Ahmadinejad was dreaming of it, those Australian asses did it), introduced web censorship mechanisms ("blah blah but we promised that's just in order to protect the children, and the 50+% of the censored sites which have no pedopornographic content are just here out of accident, our system is pefect, apologies to those dentists, youtube videos, torrent sites and others which will remained censored anyway"), and probably other horrors.

     

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      Koala, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

      Re: What a crook! By the way Australia is amazing

      I can see how we must look to the rest of the world. But I must say these ridiculous laws are being made by out of touch politicians and there is a massive groundswell of opposition to these views amongst the younger generation. Hopefully you can see that not all Aussies are like this crook Atkinson.

       

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        Alatar, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 4:39pm

        Re: Re: What a crook! By the way Australia is amazing

        Of course, that's why I said :
        "what could we expect from politicians from the country which..."
        and not
        "what could we expect from the country which".

        Don't you worry, we also have some fine assholes, here, in France. They even copied your censorship system lately, although I'm not sure they stole yours and not the chinese one, considering a french member of Parliament said "we can filter the Internet : the Chinese do it, we can do it too".
        So don't worry, there seems to be a stupidity contest between politicians when it comes to everything digital, and the French ones win it by a wide margin, without great effort.

         

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    AC, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    and if his letter contained a threat of litigation...

    then South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson is a crook and an extortionist imo.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

      Re: and if his letter contained a threat of litigation...

      To his credit South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson has now and forever linked his own name, Michael Atkinson with being a crook. By his own admission Michael Atkinson is a Crook.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    obvious crook is obvious

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    Michael Atkinson is off the deep end

    Atkinson is the same assclown who is holding up the R18+ rating for computer games because he is concerned about "children and mentally ill adults". The government has called for public consultation on this issue and Atkinson has declared in advance of the results that he will ignore the public consultation because all the people who responded are gamers.

    That's right. Atkinson thinks the public consultation is invalid because the people who are most affected and most passionate about the issue responded to it.

    I think it is only fair that Atkinson is concerned about mentally ill adults. He is making it increasingly obvious that he is one of them.

    (That's right Atkinson, I called you an assclown AND mentally ill. Try demanding money from me. I dare you.)

     

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      Chargone (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

      Re: Michael Atkinson is off the deep end

      ... If my observations are any indication, ANY politician, given half a chance, considers any public consultation that doesn't either agree with him or consist entirely of the opinions of those pumping money into his campaign fund is invalid.

       

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    Alatar, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    N.B. : Michael Atkinsoon is a crook AND a pedophile too

    I just google-imaged his wife Joan Atkinson, don't know if I found her exactly but all the women I found really don't have huge boobs. So Atkinson is married to a girl with small tits, and that means, according to Australian lawmakers including him, that he's a closeted pedophile. Does he have some other qualities, in addition to being a crook and a pedophile?

    By the way, Atkinson, come and get me, I'm currently in France, good luck with that.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    @darkhelmet

    HOW about you guys pay up what you owe us

    LIKE the 6 billion to musicians for the cria run by a american

    and give back the 1 billion you stole form softwood lumber

    AND you can keep your twit politician sarah whats its name
    and remember biden is mister hollywood so next time you get a dmca notice thank him WE DON'T HAVE A DMCA here.

    um go see fox and cnn they are all Americans they do more harm to real news and make it all a laughing stock of the world ask around bud i choose the harper name as a pun at this noob.

    as tooo the Olympics you watched that corporate crap? Shame on you. ITS all about getting cops and other hollywwod and business types together for an amusing look at some pansy lil athletes all in da name a profit not unity. HENCE all the restrictions on viewing.

    and we have a HUGE beef cattle industry here so large that when your govt said it would not lift that lil ban after quite a while and we started to organize to ship it instead of to you who then ships it world wide YOU all caved in realizing no more $$$$ off that. WHICH is all americans care about.

    worry about your own nation, whats so wrong with quebec, i dont see any revolutionaries , i do not see it separating tomorrow either. i have friends in quebec its politicians LIKE this aussie noob that are self absorbed morons like mike says are more not wasting our taxes looking at negative comments then DOING somehting useful and proving the poster of that comment wrong.

    and we did give them the right to leave 50% + 1 had to vote for it and the best thats ever happened was 49% and that was 15 years back last time it was 35% get the hint.....

    P.S. my dads been a farmer most of his life and he calls back bacon Canadian back bacon , of course cause what he ate was Canadian. again an american telling a farmers son anyhting about meat is like you needing to be told how to tie your shoes , SHOULD NOT NEED BE DONE.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    What a fucking crook.

     

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    bob, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    He wants $a20000

    from a tax payer, that makes him a crook.
    So the guy had it correct.
    The comment about not enforcing that anonymity law, BS.
    If it's on the books some one will enforce it.

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:44pm

    This may come as a shock to some non-Australians in the audience here, but we are generally suspicious of elected officials. In general, we think they're all crooks.

    Also, if Mr Atkinson gets his $20k for being called a crook, can every gamer in Australia get $20k off him for being compared, and found more dangerous, then outlaw bikie gangs?
    Or can the political party Gamers4Croydon get $20k off him for being accused of resorting to dirty tricks and criminal activity for their political campaign against Mr Atkinson?

     

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    Spaceman Spiff, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:03pm

    I am not a crook

    Quote Richard Nixon...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 9:07pm

    "perhaps the reason Atkinson wanted to outlaw anonymity is because in a case where an online newspaper commenter referred to Atkinson as a "crook" in a comment, Atkinson is now demanding $20,000 from the guy."

    So someone basically called this guy a crook and what does he do? He turns around and proves them right by filing a bogus lawsuit. WHAT A CROOK!!!

     

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    vindaloo, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:18pm

    Oh baaaad. Oz's no better than India... right mate ?

    Wanna why I so says ?

    Imagine an Indian charity club that is chock-a-block with techie celebs of the garden variety - read Infosys, Wipro Satyem icons (oops! lemme take the last one back). And what have they done ? They have sued a blog... yes, a blog run by parents of children studying at their school. Admittedly there are also Indian politicks, retired officials, judges and such as panelists or advisories. I guess the techies lost or the lawyer types prevailed. And who called who a crook ? I looked high and low for the vindaloo on the blog but couldn't find any except twitter minister of India, Shasi Taroor wearing an awkward Indian bindi and looking pleased.

    techgoss.com report at

    http://www.techgoss.com/Story/311S12-Global-Indian-Foundation-legal-action-against-blog.aspx

    In any case I'd say $20,000 is too many vindaloos for any desi. So Atkinson can have the cake.

     

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    David Frost, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:59pm

    Reminds me of November 17, 1973

    Imagine what the Nixon estate is thinking. $$$$$

    Perhaps Atkinson should study Nixon's fateful speech:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh163n1lJ4M

     

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    TechNoFear (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    Atkinson appear not to allow the truth to get in the way if a good press release.

    This is the man who said;
    "I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me,"

    In 2004 Atkinson was forced to retract a statement that bikies had BBQed a cat in a public park in his electorate (except it was not a cat, done by bikies or in his electorate....).

    He also does not like even the slightest criticism;
    http://www.charlessturtratepayers.org/2010/01/18/apology-to-michael-atkinson/

     

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    Quentin, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:12pm

    There's a time honoured tradition about responding to these sort of requests.

    One apologises thus: "It has been said that I called Michael Atkinson a crook. It's true and I'm sorry for it, the gentleman may place the comma where he wishes."

     

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    The Visible Dentist, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:00am

    AG Michael Atkinson, a really cheap crook...

    Has a cheap ring to it. I'd say Attorney General Michael Atkinson is without a doubt only a cheap crook who wants to use his position to defend his fragile little ego and profit from it at the same time. How cheap he is.

    jb

     

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    Pontifex (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Hopefully, when McQuillian refuses to pay, Atkinson will take him to court. If any of Atkinson's challenges in the election are remotely intelligent, they'll rush to represent McQuillian pro bono. The publicity they could get out of that would be incredible.

     

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    Jobless McGrog, Mar 7th, 2010 @ 7:03am

    Atkinson worships Hitler

    Atkinson is a nazi!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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