Kayla Itsines and another Australian social media health star are going at it in court

Kayla Itsines. Photo: Supplied

Global internet fitness sensation Kayla Itsines has filed a court injunction against another Australian social media celebrity, “Freelee the Banana Girl”, accusing her of defamation.

Itsines alleges Leanne Ratcliffe (aka “Freelee the Banana Girl) and her partner, Harley Johnstone, made several false claims about her fitness program, saying it starves people and that her partner, Tobias Pearce, uses steroids.

She is asking for the content be removed from the Internet, according to a report in The Advertiser.

The founder of the Bikini Body Guide took to Facebook last month to outline the reasons she was filing the defamation case. The full post is here.

The reasons that I would pursue someone;

  • the false claims that my partner takes steroids
  • claims that I’m starving myself or other people
  • claims that I promote anorexia
  • for abusing the respect of my followers, my family and myself
  • claims I am starving people
  • claims I am a fraud

Around 100 of Ratcliffe’s fans turned up at The Supreme Court of South Australia in Adelaide yesterday to show their support, chanting her catchphrase “carb the f–k up”.

Andrew Harris, QC, who attended the hearing on behalf of Itsines Pearce said Ratcliffe had removed the material outlined in the injunction from her YouTube channel but her partner, Harley Johnstone had not followed suit.

“Certain of the YouTube posts were altered to be made ‘private’ rather than being able to be viewed by the world at large,” he said.

Johnstone admitted that the videos remained online in the event he would need to reproduce them or the comments posted on them as evidence in further court proceedings.

Presiding Judge Brian Withers ruled the matter should proceed immediately to trial.

“I’m presently minded to give directions about pleadings and refer this matter for special case management to a Justice of the Supreme Court,” he said.

However, Harris said there was still potential for an “amicable resolution” between the two parties and was granted a 7-day adjournment by Judge Withers.

Ratcliffe, who is known on social media as “Freelee the Banana Girl”, posted a YouTube video on her way to court showing off a new outfit and greeting fans upon arrival.

Itsines — who boasts 2.3 million Instagram subscribers, 163,000 Twitter followers and 915,000 Facebook likes — is already a household name in the Australian fitness community and she’s about to take the U.S. by storm.

She spoke to Business Insider last December to discuss her meteoric rise to fame. More here.

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