Right-wing commentator Kobie Thatcher brands Bondi massacre reflection day ‘virtue signalling’

A conservative commentator has been branded “despicable” after mocking the Bondi Junction Westfield massacre memorial day as “virtue signalling”.

The normally bustling eastern suburbs shopping centre reopened its doors at 11am on Thursday for a “community reflection day”, five days after the mass stabbing that left six dead and a dozen wounded.

Queensland man Joel Cauchi, 40, stabbed 18 people — including 15 women and a nine-month-old baby girl — during a violent rampage at the shopping centre on Saturday afternoon.

He was shot dead by hero NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott.

Retail stores remained closed on Thursday but members of the public were invited inside to pay their respects, ahead of normal trading hours resuming on Friday.

“Virtue Signalling Day at Bondi Junction,” Kobie Thatcher wrote on X, sharing images from the sombre memorial. “Oh, I mean ‘Community Reflection Day’.”

The controversial post has been viewed nearly 600,000 times, with responses overwhelmingly slamming Thatcher.

“Sickening, beyond sickening post. Shame,” one user said.

“What a hateful, despicable thing to post. Have you no shame?” another said.

“It’s virtue signalling to honour the memory of those who were brutally stabbed to death a few days ago? Delete your account,” a third wrote.

One person asked, “What sort of evil person goes to a memorial only to take photos and mock it?”

Another added, “This tweet is a prime example of how being chronically involved in politics turns you into a terrible human being.”

Thatcher was unfazed, writing that she was “immune to triggered lefties”.

6 News journalist Leo Puglisi wrote, “Fellas, is it woke to pay respects to the victims of a mass stabbing?”

Thatcher said in response, “It’s not woke to pay respects, but I’m sure everyone can still do that while shops are open. They’ve now been closed for five days straight. People’s bills and rent payments don’t stop just because there is a tragedy. Spare a thought for the workers, especially small businesses.”

However, Bondi Junction Westfield operator Scentre Group announced on Thursday that it would waive rent for all retail tenants for the period from Saturday, April 13 to Friday, April 19.

“Since the tragedy last Saturday, our priority has been engaging with the victims’ families, those directly impacted and the community on how to respond,” Scentre Group chief executive Elliott Rusanow said in a statement.

“We have been engaging directly with our business partners throughout this period to support them, including providing counselling and mental health support. Our businesses team will continue to engage directly with each of our business partners on the support they need to re-open and reconnect with their customers and the community.”

Mr Rusanow confirmed that increased security and police would be present at Bondi Westfield during the gradual reopening.

A further candlelight vigil, supported by Waverley Council and the NSW government, will be held on Sunday.

It will begin at 5.30pm at Dolphin Court on Bondi Beach — south of the Bondi Pavilion.

“This has been a devastating attack that’s touched everybody in the state, whether you knew one of the victims or not,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said.

“This vigil will be an opportunity for the community to stand together to support and honour the victims and survivors of this horrific tragedy. I hope they can draw some strength from the fact that there’s many people that are standing with them during this time.”

The victims include new mother Ashlee Good, 38, Dawn Singleton, 25, the daughter of millionaire businessman John Singleton, mother-of-two Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Chinese national Yixuan Cheng, 27, and security guard Faraz Tahir, 30.

Ms Good’s nine-month-old baby daughter was stabbed and is recovering in hospital.

At least eight of the 12 victims in hospital are women.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb on Monday confirmed that it remained a “concerning” line of inquiry.

“The videos speak for themselves, don’t they?” Ms Webb told ABC News Breakfast.

“That’s certainly a line of inquiry for us. It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that it seems to be an area of interest that the offender had focused on women and avoided the men. We don’t know what was operating in the mind of the offender and that’s why it’s important now that detectives spend as much time interviewing those who know him, were around him, close to him, so we can get some insight into what he might have been thinking.”

Cauchi’s father, Andrew Cauchi, said his son — a paranoid schizophrenic — may have targeted women because he was unable to find a girlfriend and had no social skills.

His family reportedly contacted authorities when they saw footage of the massacre on TV because they believed it was their son.

“He wanted a girlfriend and he’s got no social skills and he was frustrated out of his brain,” a tearful Andrew Cauchi told the media on Monday outside his Rockville home, near Toowoomba.