Decorum, vegan-style: I'm not sure if he's about to burst into tears because of welfare fraud accusations, or simply in the midst of another angry, pseudoscientific, ad hominem rant.
It happens a couple of times a year; just when I've started to forget the existence of some shrill critic who previously tried to attack me but then drowned under a return barrage of unassailable facts, they pop out of nowhere, again mouthing off even more nonsense in a fitful display of ignorance that shows they really didn't learn much the first time around.
And so it is with the widely-loathed vegan militant, Harley Johnstone, who also goes by the moniker "Durianrider".
What's his problem now? Well, earlier this year, Tom Billings posted an exposé of vegan misbehaviour at the excellent BeyondVeg.com website, which can be read here:
One of the individuals mentioned in this article is Mr Johnstone, who has previously admitted to receiving both unemployment and disability welfare payments here in Australia. The aforementioned article links to posts by commentators who believe Mr Johnstone's publicly self-reported dates of welfare receipt and participation in cycling events raise the possibility that he was engaged in welfare fraud. While I do believe that if any such discrepancies exist they should be fully investigated by the relevant authorities, I do not make - and have never made - any claim about the veracity of these allegations until such time as they are proven true or false.
Mr Johnstone, however, thinks otherwise, and wrote to me yesterday claiming not just that I have accused him of welfare fraud, but that I made up the allegations myself - an absolutely absurd accusation, to say the least.
His correspondence, and my replies, are reprinted below in their unedited entirety:
harley johnstone email@example.com writes:
Hey mate, if you want to share your opinion about me thats fine but when you make up fake shit like 'welfare fraud' thats pretty low.
Please edit this blog. Physical threats against DW were true but it was only a pie in the face. Welfare fraud is pure defamation of character and as a fellow aussie you know what that can mean for you $ wise.
[The article that Mr Johnstone is whining about can be found here: http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=2928]
Dear Durian/Harley/whatever the hell your name is:
Son, this is why you've got to start eating a more balanced diet that includes animal products. Vegan diets are well known to be lacking in numerous nutrients essential for healthy mental function, and your general behaviour and reasoning leave a lot to be desired.
The first thing you need to do is re-read my article. Let the record show that I never accused you or anyone else of welfare fraud, so I think you'd best cease and desist with your malicious and utterly false claim that I "make up fake shit like 'welfare fraud'", because that is defamation. You are accusing me of saying something I never did. Go public with statements like that and we'll see who has to fork over the "$"...
My post simply discussed the fact that an article had been published on the BeyondVeg website concerning the unbecoming antics of various vegan 'gurus'. Like it or not, you were mentioned in that article, which can be found here:
It states (as of 21-5-2012):
"Durianrider (Harley Johnstone), a low fat/high carb raw vegan diet guru who frequently boasts of his athletic prowess, was on welfare for a period of time. The obvious question arises: given his status as a physically fit and athletic diet guru, did he collect welfare when he could have been fully self-supporting? If yes, then was he what in the U.S. is referred to as a “welfare cheat” or a “welfare fraud”?"
I don't know whether or not you've engaged in welfare fraud - I don't have access to the information that would prove this. And that's why I never commented on the matter further. Unlike you vegans, I prefer to stick to the facts. All I reported is that the allegation has been put out there, and to state this was and is 100% fact. It is undeniable that the allegation has been put out there.
If you personally believe this allegation to be untrue and an unfair stain on your unimpeachable character, then I suggest you gather up all the relevant evidence and post it on your website. Perhaps you can explain the situation to the friendly folks at your local Department of Social Security office. After checking your disability payments against your publicly claimed dates of participation in cycling events, I'm sure they'd be happy to issue a statement saying that there is no evidence to date of any welfare fraud committed by yourself. If they do issue such a statement, send a copy my way and I'll be more than happy to post it on my site.
The second thing you need to do is stop being such a bloody hypocrite. You are the same hero that, without any provocation whatsoever, went mouthing off about me on cycling forums, claiming I refused to go riding with you because I was scared that you'd kick my ass and that you'd blog about it. Wow, what a tough guy! Let's put aside for a moment the fact that I'm rather discerning about the company I keep and wouldn't be caught dead riding with an obnoxious vegan loudmouth; you and I both know full well you never extended such an invitation to me in the first place.
So why, exactly, did you write that bullshit? Do you suffer delusions that are so vivid they leave you convinced that shit that never happened did in fact happen? Or are you just a terribly immature twat that has a hell of a lot of growing up to do?
What I do know is that it's rather precious to publicly make false statements about me, then carry on like a little bitch when you (falsely) believe I made a false statement about you.
What you need to do is take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. You reap what you sow. Of your own volition, you've chosen to follow a rather hostile and inflammatory path in your quest to spread your extremist vegan beliefs. Don't be surprised when your malevolence comes back to bite you in the ass. The BeyondVeg article would never have come to my attention in the first instance if you hadn't gone writing shit about me on cycling forums.
And spare me the "fellow aussie" bollocks. We might live in the same country, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. If all Australians carried on like you, I'd move overseas in a flash.
Good on ya mate,
[Shortly after sending this email, I received the following]:
harley johnstone firstname.lastname@example.org replies:
Hey AC. Its still up mate.
Please remove "allegations of welfare fraud".
[This email included a whopping big screen shot of the article at http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=2928. Maybe Mr Johnstone was worried I’d forgotten what my web site looks like…].
Dear Straddler of Prickly, Smelly South East Asian Fruit,
Here's the deal:
1. You apologize profusely for making shit up about me on the Internet;
2. You invent a time machine that allows you to travel back in time and somehow prevent the allegations of welfare fraud that were made about you from ever being made about you;
Then I will be happy to remove the mention of allegations of welfare fraud.
As I sincerely doubt you possess the strength of character to fulfil requirement #1, and #2 at this stage of human development is quite frankly impossible, I suggest you find another way to pass your time, one that doesn't involve sending me these pissy emails that achieve little other than to reinforce the impression that you can't take what you so readily dish out.
Now piss off.
[As Mr Johnstone clearly has nothing intelligent to say, and as my time is at a premium, his email address was subsequently added to my blacklist].
Further Thoughts on the Pitiful Behaviour of Harley Johnstone
There are a couple of further points I would like to make. The first is that, regardless of whether he did so fraudulently or within the full confines of the law, it is apparent that Mr Johnstone has spent significant portions of time on the "dole". This, of course, casts his alleged athletic endeavours in a whole new light. He brags about his cycling distances incessantly, and wants us all to believe it is his vegan diet responsible for his self-proclaimed athletic prowess, but what do you think would happen to your athletic performance if you received a taxpayer-funded allowance and had all day, every day to train? Shit, I can only fantasize about what would happen to my cycling performance if I joined Team Welfare and received a fortnightly payment courtesy of the Australian taxpayers to do little other than eat, sleep, ride and post angry videos on YouTube!
The second thing I would like to mention is that I've just been alerted to another false statement allegedly made by Mr Johnstone about me. Evidently, Mr Johnstone is reviled by so many people that there is now a website called "30 Bananas a Day Sucks". At this page of this truly wonderful, outstanding website, someone has reprinted the following comment allegedly made by Mr Johnstone:
"Nothing like some Anthony Colpo broscience to debunk Dr Esselstyn’s clinical data of 20 years. Heck AC refused to come riding with me in Adelaide. He is a local. After he gave me crap on his blog I wrote him and challenged him to a friendly TT up Norton Summit. He can have my bike if he wins and if I win I get to make a youtube video of his red face and puffing lungs.
Even Colpo is high carb thesedays. "
There is no source given for this comment, but I do know for certain that Mr Johnstone has made similar claims on at least one other Internet forum, where he wrote:
“You know what is HILARIOUS about this post brah? Anthony Colpo is a local rider to me and NOW eats high carb, low fat. (He still doesnt want to hit the local bergs with me cos he knows I will kick his a’ss and make a blog post about it lol!) Come on AC, step up brah! Corkscrew is only 2.56km! “
Let me state this in no uncertain terms: When Mr Johnstone makes these claims, he is talking absolute bullshit. The reality is I never wrote a single word about Mr Johnstone until I became aware that he was mouthing off about me and falsely claiming I was too embarrassed to go riding with him.
At no point has Mr Johnstone written or emailed to me issuing any such "time trial" challenge, be it up Corkscrew Road, the Norton Summit Roads, or any other thoroughfare.
I'm seriously starting to wonder if Mr Johnstone is delusional. I'd be lying if I said I don't think the guy has serious psychological issues.
Here's what is true and 100% verifiable: After becoming aware of the alleged Corkscrew Road time trial challenge that Mr Johnstone claims he made to me personally despite never in fact doing so, I gladly accepted, but with one condition: Mr Johnstone would have to gain 15 kg of bodyweight to match my weight, in order to eliminate the huge weight advantage that he would otherwise have when climbing uphill.
I never heard back from Mr Johnstone.
Mr Johnstone clearly has a problem with me, despite the fact that prior to his unprovoked antagonism I knew almost nothing of the guy let alone spoke a bad word about him. And he evidently feels sufficiently threatened by me to keep publicly belittling my athletic prowess and to point out that he's fitter, faster, blah, blah, blah. But when I asked him to step up at Corkscrew, he suddenly went silent.
But hey, if Mr Johnstone's bike is still up for grabs (the one with the Powermeter) then I'm still keen. Since he's clearly not too keen on the bike challenge, let's instead have a strength contest, involving the three powerlifts (squat, bench, deadlift) and perhaps some Strongman events as well, like racing across a park fireman-carrying a 75kg person, flipping tyres, etc. This will be an absolute strength contest, meaning that he who lifts the most weight wins. In the Strongman events, the same weight implement will be used by both Mr Johnstone and I. For the 2 or 3 Durianrider fans that exist out there crying, "No fair, you're bigger than him!"...yeah, no shit. That's a big part of what weight training is all about. Furthermore, Mr Johnstone did not have the courtesy to factor bodyweight into his time trial challenge, and refused to meet the challenge when I did factor it in, so bugger him. Time to put up or shut up.
Before accepting this challenge, Johnstone should be aware that if he accepts and shows up on the day as promised, the event will be videotaped and I will post the footage on YouTube - I'm sure viewers will be highly entertained by the sight of a red-faced Johnstone sputtering, grunting and farting as he fails to budge the same weights I used as a warm-up.
I look forward to taking possession of Mr Johnstone's bike and trying out my new Powermeter - I've always wondered if those things are worth the cost. I guess when they're free, the answer would have to be yes 🙂
Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit TheFatLossBible.net or TheGreatCholesterolCon.com
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