Julian Carbone married this year (pictured)
A local council voted unanimously to call for the resignation of a married father who sent a 17-year-old girl an ‘inappropriate’ Instagram message about her bikini photos.
Julian Carbone, who sits on Burnside Council in Adelaide‘s east, follows multiple young women on the social media platform – including one who calls herself ‘your dad’s favourite Instahoe’.
Cr Carbone is accused of sending the teenager a message over Instagram at about 5am on Saturday, November 27, an official council report found.
The young woman had posted a series of pictures to social media leading Cr Carbone to slide into her DMs and quip: ‘Lots of bikini photos – but it’s so damn cold at the moment hey.’
Daily Mail Australia revealed on Tuesday, just hours after sending the message, the local member uploaded his own snaps from a trip down the coast – including a picture with a mate in Port Elliot, in the state’s south, and later that same weekend, a photo of his then-girlfriend and their infant son on his first trip to the beach.
Burnside Council members met on Tuesday night to discuss Cr Carbone’s actions, with one member saying the community was ‘famous again for all the wrong reasons, before Cr Henry Davis ripped into his colleague’s ‘concerning’ behaviour.
‘The conduct of Cr Carbone has brought this council and institution, in my view, into disrepute,’ he said.
‘We’ve lost significant confidence from our community in our ability to govern and lead. That fact is very clear from the phone calls and messages this councillor has received.’
Committee members voted unanimously for him to resign, but Cr Carbone who did not attend the meeting, cannot be forced to quit by the group.
In March, Councillor Julian Carbone married Angela at the Mt Osmond Golf Club, two years after they met online during the Covid-19 pandemic
Burnside Council voted unanimously to remove Cr Carbone from the committee in a meeting on Tuesday night
Cr Davis criticised Cr Carbone’s refusal to take responsibility for his actions, that saw Burnside Council initiate an $11,500 review into the incident.
He said he was ’embarrassed’ by his conduct and added his position was ‘untenable’, noting that Cr Carbone had posted that his account had been ‘hacked’ to Facebook while the meeting was going ahead in his absence.
‘Burnside has suffered a checkered history, but I am embarrassed to add this saga to the list. I condemn the actions of Cr Carbone messaging a 17-year-old girl, which in no circumstances would pass the moral standard expected of any member of the community, let alone an elected official,’ Cr Davis said.
‘To add salt into the wound, when Cr Carbone was presented with a complaint his denial unduly costed ratepayers well beyond what would be expected by a code of conduct. His denials were frankly ridiculous.’
Cr Carbone shamelessly posted to Facebook during the meeting that his Instagram account had been hacked and he was deleting his account.
‘Hi everyone, as my Instagram page has become overrun and riddled with FAKE PROFILES, all of which I had nothing to do with, I’ve made to conscious decision to remove my account,’ he wrote.
‘I am very passionate about increasing resident engagement so I will continue to liaise with you via my normal Council Facebook page.’
Pictured: Two Instagram accounts followed by Cr Carbone. One private account features an image of a woman in a G-string, with the bio: ‘Your dad’s favourite Instahoe’
Cr Henry Davis (far right) ripped into his colleague’s behaviour and called for him to immediately resign
Cr Davis rubbished these claims and said his excuses only raised further questions into his conduct.
‘Even as recently as 30 minutes ago he claimed these accounts were following him and that he had been hacked or spammed by these accounts. There are a large number of them and I find that extremely concerning given the comments that were made,’ the councillor stated.
‘He claims he was hacked, claims he doesn’t remember it, he claims someone stole his phone at 5:06 in the morning as some kind of joke. He said he messaged the wrong account, which begs the question which account was he trying to message.
‘It is clear maintaining these conflicting excuses is completely untenable. In relation to the other accounts he folllows, not the other way around, the accounts he follows.
‘There are a large amount of minors and also obscene accounts which are clearly not members of Burnside Council.’
Cr Davis said while he couldn’t ask for him to resign, he ‘feels strongly he should resign’.
‘I condemn Cr Carbone’s behaviour in the strongest terms and I think our community does too,’ he concluded.
Another councillor accused Cr Carbone of ‘weaseling out’ of the situation, while Cr Jane Davey also called for his resignation after likening his behaviour to that of a ‘predator’.
‘Those who may post carefree photos on their Instagram account without realising there are predators out there who may look at them another way and take advantage of them. I thank the young woman involved for reporting her concerns,’ Cr Davey told the meeting.
‘I too would like to see Cr Carbone do the right thing and resign.’
The committee then unanimously voted for Mr Carbone to resign after 10 minutes of heated discussion.
He will not be forced to quit, but pressure is mounting on the disgraced councillor to stand down.
Just hours after sending the ‘inappropriate’ message to the teen, the local member uploaded his own holiday snaps – capturing his infant son’s first trip to the beach (pictured)
Cr Carbone defended the message – which investigators found was ‘inappropriate’ – with his lawyers denying the 17-year-old’s assertion that she was underage when he sent it, according to council documents.
‘The Complainant’s assertion that she is underage is wrong as a matter of law in relation to sexual conduct,’ the report reads. Cr Carbone’s lawyers noting the legal age for sex in South Australia is 17.
His lawyers complained to the investigators that the young woman had ‘taken what is otherwise an innocent message (send by mistake and without context) and attempted to manipulate the reader into believing Cr Carbone is a paedophilic ‘predatory male’ (which he is not)’, council documents said.
The councillor sent the 17-year-old girl a message (pictured) saying: ‘Lots of bikini photos – but it’s so damn cold at the moment hey’
Cr Carbone’s lawyers added: ‘Sending an innocent message without context and by mistake does not constitute being ‘targeted’,’ the letter states.
‘The criminal law is clear that 17 years old is the age of consent to engage in sexual activity as an adult.’
Speaking with the Advertiser on Tuesday, Cr Carbone said the comment was a ‘one-off’.
‘It was all to do with being at the beach when it was cold. Yes, OK, the word bikini probably added a bit of spice to things, had I said ‘so many beach photos’ it probably wouldn’t have been as bad,’ he said.
‘There’s been a lot of very nasty things said that were not called for. Was the comment inappropriate? Yes, was there anything else inferred or any other sinister or dodgy motives? Absolutely not.’
He nevertheless maintained he had no recollection of sending the message, said it was a misunderstanding, or his account was hacked.
Furthermore, it can be revealed that the Instagram account used by Cr Carbone to message the 17-year-old follows at least six profiles run by people claiming to be teenage girls.
One private account features an image of a woman in a G-string, with the bio: ‘Your dad’s favourite Instahoe’.
Someone else he follows claims to be 16, another says she’s 17, and someone else claims to be 19 (pictured)
Another advertises herself as a bisexual content creator in Adelaide, a ‘bud sl*t’ and a ‘MILF’ – with a series of photos of a lingerie-clad woman.
Someone else he follows claims to be 16, another says she’s 17, and someone else claims to be 19.
Cr Carbone told The Advertiser he doesn’t know the identities behind the people who run accounts he follows, but believed they were local residents within Burnside Council.
‘They are fairly random, they are fairly weird, they’re certainly not known to me but at the time I would’ve seen their handle with their little profile photo saying this account is following you, so I follow back,’ he said.
He described the past few days as ‘nasty’ and decided to shut his LinkedIn account down.
‘This has been terrible, I’m married, I’ve got a baby … this does not make me look good, there’s lots of questions and it’s an embarrassment for the whole family,’ he said.
In an email to the Burnside Council (pictured) the 17-year-old said she was looking through her messages and found one from ‘@juliancarboneburnsidecouncil’
The teenager later alleged that the politician also ‘followed’ a concerning number of young females on his Instagram account (pictured, one of the accounts raised in the report)
LIFE AND TIMES OF COUNCILLOR CARBONE:
May 10, 2020: Mr Carbone announced he was dating his current wife, Angela.
June 3, 2021: He and Angela had a son.
November 21: Went on holidays with his wife and son to Port Elliot.
November 27: Sent a 17-year-old girl an ‘inappropriate’ Instagram message about her bikini photos.
December: The 17-year-old lodged a formal complaint, which sparked an investigation.
March 10, 2022: Mr Carbone married Angela.
July: Code of Conduct Complaint report released, detailing the findings.
The investigation was launched after the teenager made a formal complaint to the council in December, sparking a probe into whether Mr Carbone had breached its code of conduct.
In an email to the Burnside Council the 17-year-old said she was looking through her messages and found one from ‘@juliancarboneburnsidecouncil’.
‘As a 17-year-old girl I am really concerned about this,’ she wrote, according to the report.
She later added that it was inappropriate coming from a public official. The teenager later alleged that the politician also ‘followed’ a concerning number of young females on his Instagram account.
The 17-year-old said she believed ‘community trust and confidence would be significantly eroded in the knowledge of a council member who communicates with minors on Instagram in relation to photos of them in bikinis.’
The Council referred the complaint to their lawyers, Norman Waterhouse, who passed the investigation to another Adelaide law firm, Mellor Olsson. Cyber security expert Mark Gare was then enlisted to investigate whether the councillor had personally sent the message.
When asked about whether he followed a ‘concerning’ amount of underage women on Instagram, Cr Carbone argued that as a local member ‘he takes a keen interest in supporting young people and families’.
If he did follow a ‘concerning’ number of young people it was ‘in an attempt to generate community trust’, he argued.
However, the report ultimately rejected the councillor’s claims and concluded that he had in fact sent the message to the teenager.
It also rejected his contention that he had only been trying to initiate a conversation about the weather: ‘We do not accept this position.’
Cr Carbone is pictured with his wife and infant son, who was born in May, 2021
The report has advised Cr Carbone (pictured with his wife and son) to stop using the Instagram account, apologise to the teenager and the council and attend social media training
Julian Carbone’s reasons for how Instagram message could’ve been sent
Councillor Carbone told investigators that he could not recall sending the message, and said there were a few reasons it may have came about:
According to the report, these included:
1. That ‘there was an error and the message was sent to the wrong person. Tied in with this was the possibility that he was on Facebook looking at beach scenes/pictures, somehow Instagram came up and he got the two messenger applications mixed up and sent a message on Instagram by mistake rather than to a contact on Facebook.’
2. In the alternative, ‘someone else might have had his phone and sent the message as a joke’
3. In the further alternative, his phone could have been hacked, although he noted that he has not experienced any other issues which would cause him to think that his phone had been hacked. The message was sent from his Instagram account
The report did add that Mr Gare had found ‘no evidence of Cr Carbone having any inappropriate interactions with minors’.
It recommended the local member issue a written apology to the teenager and the Burnside Council for sending the message.
It was also advised Cr Carbone to stop using the Instagram account due to it not being an official Burnside Council account and attend social media training.
In March, the councillor married his wife Angela at the Mt Osmond Golf Club, two years after they met online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cr Carbone took to Facebook on Monday to share a family photo with his wife and son and thank those who had sent messages of support.
The councillor took to Facebook on Monday to share a family photo with his wife and son (pictured) and thank those who had sent messages of support
‘I’m incredibly humbled by all the phone calls and messages of support we have received over the past 24 hours, especially by those who know what it’s like to operate in the (at times) vulnerable political space,’ he wrote.
‘These dark days do challenge us and question us why we do what we do for our community, but we are reminded of the greater good we provide. The hours, time, frustration all for the sake of making our small part of the world better.’
In an official statement, the councillor said it was the ‘biggest misunderstanding I have ever come across in my 20-year association with Burnside Council’.
‘Quite simply, the message was sent in error, she was not the intended recipient, and unfortunately I simply don’t have the time to assess each and everyone of my Instagram followers on whether they are in fact true or fake accounts.’
Daily Mail Australia contacted Cr Carbone for further comment.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM COUNCILLOR JULIAN CARBONE:
‘This is the biggest misunderstanding I have ever come across in my 20-year association with the City of Burnside.
‘Quite simply, the message was sent in error, she was not the intended recipient, and unfortunately I simply don’t have the time to assess each and everyone of my Instagram followers on whether they are in fact true or fake accounts.
‘The whole investigation was punching at shadows and was quite frankly, unnecessarily nasty.
‘Some of the comments were extremely hurtful to myself and my young family.
‘It is sad and unfortunate that the complainant rejected the offer to meet with me, which would have allowed me to explain that the message was sent in error.
‘This offer was rejected and unfortunately she pushed for a full, lengthy and costly investigation. All of this could have been easily avoided.
‘As for the fake Instagram accounts, I find this tacky.
‘As a husband and a father, clearly my social media is designed to keep my residents informed and engaged on local issues, so I have no intention of using it for this kind of unsavoury and crude behaviour. These accounts are clearly fake and the only reason I followed them back is because they followed me first, and without much investigation, assumed they were a local resident.
‘Overall, this whole process has been sad, cruel and unnecessary.
‘We all make clerical mistakes and often send the wrong message to the wrong person, but it’s a timely reminder for us to be pleasant to one another and treat each other with respect and not be too quick to draw conclusions.
‘Having said all that, I commend the complainant on her commitment towards social issues and I look forward to her perhaps getting more involved in local government.’