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The Age / Life - Entertain

'Damaging its brand': Freight company gets court order against far-right activist

A far-right activist who staged a mock beheading in protest at plans to build a mosque is being has had a court order taken out against him by a freight company who accuse him of trying to damage their brand.

A far-right activist who staged a mock beheading in protest at plans to build a mosque has had a court order taken out against him by his former employer who accuse him of trying to damage their brand.

Freight group Toll said United Patriots Front member Neil Erikson, 32, had repeatedly refused to hand back his uniform since the company terminated his employment in May.

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The company claim Mr Erikson is now getting his associates to wear their uniforms after sightings of a right-wing protester wearing a company shirt at violent protests outside controversial British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos' Melbourne event in Kensington. The man is pictured wrestling with other protesters. 

The company said in a statement earlier this week that the man had never worked for the company and believed the move was an attempt to "damage our brand".

Protesters clash outside an event for alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in Melbourne. Photo: Erik Anderson

Mr Erikson and two other United Patriots Front members Blair Cottrell, 27 and Christopher Shortis, 46, were found guilty in September by a magistrate of inciting contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Muslims.

They were convicted and fined for a criminal offence under Victoria's racial vilification laws.

Mr Erikson's employment at Toll was terminated because of behaviour contrary to the company's values and for false declarations he made relating to his background and employment history, the company said in a subsequent statement on Thursday.

"We believe Mr Erikson and his associates are deliberately wearing Toll uniforms at select public events to misrepresent Toll and damage our brand and reputation in retaliation for ending his employment," the statement said.

Neil Erikson outside Melbourne Magistrates Court in September. Photo: Eddie Jim

"We are a company that strives for a culture of strong values and respect. We will continue to take appropriate action to protect our reputation for the benefit of our employees, customers and the broader community."

Toll successfully obtained a court order on Thursday against Mr Erikson to recover its uniforms and to prevent further misrepresentation of him as a Toll employee.

The court order also followed another incident where Mr Erikson, who was dressed in a Toll polo shirt, and a group of men racially harassed NSW Labor senator Sam Dastyari at a Footscray pub last month.

Footage of the incident showed the men calling the Iranian-born Labor MP a "terrorist" and a "monkey" and telling him to go back to Iran.

Toll confirmed in a statement at the time that the individual wearing the company polo shirt was not a Toll employee. 

"The actions of these individuals in no way reflect the beliefs and values of Toll," the company said at the time. "No member of the community should have to endure the behaviour displayed overnight and we do not tolerate such behaviour at our company."

Mr Erikson has been contacted for comment.

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