Eli Rubashkyn, a trans activist, is currently seeking to have assault charges against them dismissed following an altercation with women’s rights advocate Kellie-Jay Keen. The incident occurred during a “Let Women Speak” event in Auckland on March 25, where Rubashkyn threw tomato juice at Keen, also known as Posie Parker. As a result of the counter-protest turning violent, Keen felt the need to flee the venue and leave New Zealand.
Rubashkyn, using the name Eliana Golberstein, pleaded not guilty to the assault and related charges. However, on October 26, their solicitor, James Olsen, approached Judge Claire Ryan to argue for the dismissal of the charge associated with Keen. Olsen compared this incident to a previous case where a woman was not charged for throwing a sex toy at Steven Joyce, suggesting that Rubashkyn acted out of perceived necessity due to fears of Parker’s message.
Sergeant Phil Mann countered Olsen’s argument by revealing that Rubashkyn had openly associated with Keen’s supporters before the incident, casting doubt on their claim of fear. Olsen countered this by suggesting that attendees at the protest were aware of potential minor altercations, implying a level of acceptance. However, Judge Ryan and Mann were unconvinced, highlighting Keen’s swift exit from the venue and her cancellation of her tour due to safety concerns. Mann also mentioned that Keen had employed security measures to avoid confrontations.
The defense also raised concerns about the discriminatory nature of the prosecution and questioned its utility, noting that Keen had not provided a formal statement. However, Mann emphasized the public interest in proceeding with the case, regardless of Keen’s statement.
It should be noted that Rubashkyn had previously threatened violence against Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini ahead of his book launch in New Zealand. They subsequently deleted their social media profiles.
The outcome of Rubashkyn’s request for the dismissal of the assault charges against them will be determined by Judge Claire Ryan. The case has sparked debate about the limits of free speech and the appropriate response to differing views within the realm of public discourse.