Australian technology and social media great Leslie Nassar, who created ABC TV’s live Twitter feed for Q&A, was killed in a hit-and-run drunk driver incident in the USA on the weekend. He was 43.
Nassar was walking with two of his daughters in Nampa, Idaho, on Saturday morning when he was hit and killed by a utility truck.
The girls, aged eight and three, were injured, but have been released from hospital.
Police have charged 20-year-old Tristian Donovan Myers with Nassar’s death. The driver reportedly fled the scene, but was later tracked down after making a “suspicious phone call” reporting the hit-and-run.
Nassar’s death has sent shockwaves through Australia’s media and technology sectors, many remembering him as a technology guru, media expert, and satirical genius.
He first found notoriety in 2009 when he revealed himself as the writer behind the “Fake Stephen Conroy” Twitter account, in which he impersonated the now-retired Labor senator. Another satirical Twitter account, Dept. of Australia, has more than 18,000 followers. One of Nassar’s final tweets, involving Donald Trump, was seen by more than 4.6 million people.
You did it, Australia. 3% tax breaks for everyone! pic.twitter.com/tRjh5crNEp
— Dept of Australia (@deptofaustralia) October 22, 2016
But Nassar is best known in the media industry for being instrumental in the development the controversial live Twitter feed on the Q&A program. Some of the tweets broadcast during the show have turned into major political stories in their own right.
He was previously the chief technology officer at digital agency Razorfish Australia, the co-founder a digital production studio, Wrangling Cats, and worked on emerging technology with Telstra, and digital media with Victoria Police.
Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy has since described Nassar as the “engineering genius behind Q&A” on Twitter.
— Peter McEvoy (@petermcevoy) October 23, 2016
Wrangling Cats co-founder Andrea Horton described Nassar as “a dedicated family man” and “the gap that has been left is one that is truly impossible to fill”.
“Leslie was a man of principle, whose views brought a notoriety in the non-mainstream media which has seen an out-pouring of grief which is well and truly fitting to all that knew him personally or who followed him online.”
Horton has established a GoFundMe page to raise money to assist Nassar’s family following his death. See it here.
Nasser is survived by his wife and three daughters.
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