Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg fires back at Australian columnist who called her ‘deeply disturbed’

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Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old who inspired a massive youth movement to combat climate change, on Thursday fired back at an Australian newspaper columnist who called her “deeply disturbed,” “freakishly influential” and “strange.”

Andrew Bolt of the Robert Murdoch-owned Herald Sun released a column this week dubbing Thunberg the “deeply disturbed messiah of the global warming movement.”

{mosads}Bolt’s column was not viewable as of 2:20 p.m. ET time on Friday, though a shorter version of it was. 

“I am indeed ‘deeply disturbed’ about the fact that these hate and conspiracy campaigns are allowed to go on and on and on just because we children communicate and act on the science,” Thunberg wrote to her 836,400 followers. “Where are the adults?”

Bolt in his column had lamented why Thunberg was being treated as a “guru.” 

“I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru,” he wrote. 

Thunberg, who founded the Youth Strike for Climate, has opened up about having been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome as well as ADHD, selective mutism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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

The Swedish teenager began advocating for climate change policy last year by walking out of school so she could protest weekly outside the Swedish Parliament.

Her activism earned her international recognition, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination earlier this year and invitations to United Nations climate conferences.

“What is so fascinating about this Thunberg cult is not just that she’s believed so fervently even though she’s wrong,” Bolt wrote. “(The evidence does not suggest that humanity faces doom. The world has recently posted record grain crops and record life expectancy.)”

Bolt also questioned in the column why adults like elected politicians and Pope Francis “treat a young and strange girl with such awe and even rapture.”

The columnist’s attacks were criticized by autism advocates, The Guardian reported.

“It just shows absolute ignorance on this and it’s particularly cruel,” Nicole Rogerson, the chief executive of Autism Awareness Australia, told the outlet. “And it also leads to misunderstanding in the wider community and his audience about what autism is.”

Thunberg also received an outpour of support on social media, including from former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. 

“Andrew Bolt is now picking on a 16 year old! How macho of him! Bolt just can’t handle a young woman speaking truth to power,” Rudd wrote. “Bolt is little more than a Murdoch media thug masquerading as a journalist — propagating his master’s climate change denialism.” 

“Don’t worry, he attacks me all the time too. Just ignore him and keep on doing what you are doing and being fantastic,” wrote Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The Guardian reported that the Australian Press Council had received a complaint about Holt’s column.

The Herald Sun did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Hill.

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