"After that tragedy in Christchurch, I thought the world should be supporting all those victims, giving them love and passion. And the senator released a statement, which was pretty much a divisive hate speech blaming the victims for the attack," the 17-year-old, who has been nicknamed "Egg Boy," said in an interview with Australia's Network 10. "I was just flat-out disgusted."
— Henry Belot (@Henry_Belot) March 16, 2019
Connolly told Network 10 that he listened to Queensland Senator Fraser Anning speak for an hour at a news conference following the shooting on March 15 by Australian right-wing extremist Brenton Tarrant before deciding to egg him. The teen decided to take the plunge after Anning said that "the real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place."
Following the incident, several fundraising pages were set up to help cover Connolly's legal fees and to buy "more eggs." More than $100,000 has been raised so far. However, Connolly, who has also received offers from online supporters for a lifetime of free beer in Canada and Wales and a vacation in Turkey, said that he's going to be donating the money generated from the fundraising accounts to the victims of the attack.
"I didn't think this was going to blow up. In fact, it's blown up completely out of proportion, to the point where it's kind of embarrassing, because too much of the attention is brought away from the real victims' suffering — we should be focusing on them," Connolly told Network 10.
"I understand what I did was not the right thing to do… However, this egg has united people," he said, noting that his mother did not approve of his actions.
"There's no reason to physically attack anyone. She's glad I stood up for what I believe in; she definitely disagrees with the way I did it," he said.
At the end of the interview, Connolly admitted that he likes to eat eggs.
"Well, funnily enough, I was actually called 'Egg Boy' before this happened. I'd eat boiled eggs at lunch, and all the girls would say, 'Get away from me, that reeks,'" he said. "I'm officially off the eggs now," he added, also noting that the nickname was now "getting pretty annoying."
According to Australian police, egging is considered an assault. After being egged in front of cameras, Anning attempted to punch Connolly in the face twice. The senator managed to land one blow, before witnesses in the crowd pulled the senator and Connolly apart. The teenager was then wrestled to the ground by Anning's supporters, although he was not resisting. The Australian government has also decided to pass a censure motion against Anning over his comments, as a symbolic gesture of rebuke.
"I just wanted to stay calm," Connolly said. "I knew not to resist; I knew police were not far [away]." He was later questioned by Victoria police but was released without charge.
Following the Christchurch attack, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on semiautomatic and other military-style assault weapons in the country. In addition, she has refused to name the killer or allow him access to any media, in an effort to deny him any form of recognition. Tarrant, who has been charged with murder and is currently in custody, is scheduled to make his next court appearance on April 5.