USyd Young Liberals involved in Tinder controversy

Several Young Liberals have been accused of making derogatory comments towards an individual on Tinder in a bizarre ploy to win votes

Text reading 'YOUNG LIBERALS' on a red background, featuring the Tinder logo.

A number of Young Liberals have been implicated in a controversy involving derogatory comments made in a group chat towards a woman on Tinder, the Sydney Morning Herald reported earlier this week. Four of the individuals involved were suspended from the Liberal Party for a period of six months, and two were fired from their state government jobs.

Honi can reveal the identity of several of the individuals, two of whom are students of the University of Sydney. Alex Doherty, Treasurer of the USyd Politics Society in 2018, shared a screenshot of a text exchange with woman from Tinder to a group chat conceived for the purpose of election campaigning. Kerrod Gream, former USU board candidate, commented on the appearance of the woman whose photo had been shared, suggesting that Doherty would not want to “bang a potato.”

Jacob Sich, a Wollongong Young Liberal, also contributed to the exchange of messages. Sich was the first to compare the woman to a potato, going on to add “root and boot her and leave her some HTVs [how to votes].”

Alex Doherty sends an image of a Tinder coversation with a girl to a Facebook group chat. Jacob Sich replies "Fuck yeah mate." Kerrod Gream replies, "Based." Sich messages, "She looks like a potato."
Sich messages, "She looks like a potato Potato that can votre. Vote. 'I like blue but don't give me blue balls.' Then root and boot her and leave some HTVs." Gream messages, "Jacob. I don't think Alex wants to bang a potato." An unnamed individual says, "Hey sexy," with a close up image of the woman in question.
An unnamed individual says, "Brutal." Another unnamed individual says, "That's not very nice to [redacted]." Sich messages, "Fuck I could go for some fries right noe (now)."
An unnamed individual says, "Give her a chance Alex." Another unnamed individual says, "Have some manners boys - that's foul." Doherty messages "Well i think she's gonna vote liberal - you're welcome." An unnamed individual messages, "Nothing to laugh about Jacob. I'm very serious. It's a disgusting way to talk about a woman - grow up." Another unnamed individual says, "Really disappointing to see so many nasty comments about a woman you don't know."
An unnamed individual messages, "People wonder why women don't want to join the liberal party. Just take a look at this chat." Another unnamed individual says, "You guys maybe need to head to bed and hopefully wake up a bit more mature- this is actually disgusting." Sich replies, "Sorry I thought I pressed sad react."
Doherty messages "Sorry to have started it, just thought it was a fun new way of campaigning." An unnamed individual sets the nickname for Jacob to 'Captain Sexist.' Sich then messages, "I'm offended and upset that you would assume I meant such a thing [redacted]." An unnamed individual replies, "Anytime would be a good time to stop." Sich replies, "Agreed. I'm looking forwatd to campaigning tomorrow and not sending memes." An unnamed individual then says, "It's amazing that you have the level of maturity to think making foul remarks about another human being is a 'meme.' I woul take a lng hard look in the mirror if I..."

Two women in the group chat confronted Gream and Sich during the course of the conversation.

“Have some manners boys… that’s foul,” one said.

“People wonder why women don’t want to join the Liberal party,” another added. “Just look at this chat.”

The group chat contained seventeen members, including Young Liberals President Harry Stutchbury. Honi contacted Stutchbury, Gream and Doherty for comment. Sich was not available for comment. Neither Gream nor Stutchbury responded. Doherty responded via a lawyer, stating that he did not make further comment in the chat and was “disgusted”. Further screenshots obtained by Honi show Doherty saying “Well i [sic] think she’s gonna vote liberal – you’re welcome”, going on to say “sorry to have started it”.

Both Gream and Doherty have had notable political careers both in and out of USyd. Gream is known to have been a staffer for Adam Marshall, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events in the NSW Liberal Government. Doherty is known to have been a staffer for Felicity Wilson, a NSW Liberal MP. Sich is known as a staffer for NSW MP Gareth Ward.

This article was amended at 2pm on Tuesday 19 February 2019. It originally stated that Jacob Sich was the President of the Wollongong Young Liberals. In fact, he is not President of any Liberal affiliated organisation, nor does an official Wollongong Young Liberals organisation exist.