Farmer destroys rare Ooshie over online hate
A Victorian couple have destroyed a rare Woolworths collectables toy live on national television in response to online abuse.
The farmers from Katandra West thought they had struck gold when they found the furry Simba as part of the supermarket's Lion King Ooshie promotional campaign.
Inspired by a massive online auctions for the one-in-100 toy, Melissa and Stephen Black attempted to sell the collectable for $5000.
"And people were just disgusted," Melissa told Channel 9's Today show.
"The abuse started and it was just hate and suicidal threats. Some really awful things were said."
The farmers say they were desperate for help so explained to prospective buyers the sale would be used to help sustain the farm.
"We did say that it's for water and stuff on the farm and they didn't really change," Stephen said.
"So we said we'll trade it for water then, just water.
"People started saying 'do you want bottle of water or a truck of water', and we started explaining it's irrigation water because we've got a problem through the Murray Darling Basin with the water so that's really more important to us than the money at the moment.
"I really couldn't understand why that item was worth so much money but if everybody was so interested in that then maybe they'd be interested in what we needed and why, and the message might get out there."
And that's when the live sacrifice began.
"You ask yourself what is a life worth? Is it worth what money? We don't know. Is it worth this (Ooshie)? No," Stephen said.
"For the people who bullied us and they want to buy this thing because they want it, well this is what I say to them.
"You can't buy it, I'm going to destroy it.
"The world's got to stop this stuff because people get hurt."
When Melissa and Stephen realised they had a 'one of a kind' Lion King Woolworths Ooshie they advertised it for sale in exchange for much-needed water. However, after relentless abuse, Stephen destroyed the valuable Ooshie LIVE on air in protest of online trolls. #9Today pic.twitter.com/jVFkZ4XyTT— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) August 1, 2019
Melissa said she had received about 4000 messages bidding for the toy, ranging from 20 cents to $25,000, but last few were "bogus bids"
"We're just trying to do what we can to survive, it's really un-Australian to think there are people out there just sit behind a computer and allow this kind of behaviour to happen," she said.
Much of eastern Australia is facing drought conditions, with 65% of Queensland already drought declared.
Some local councils have urged people to limit personal water consumption, including turning the shower off to wash their hair, in an effort to save water.
Farmers in Victoria can apply for government grants to help respond to drought as parts of the state suffer through dry conditions.
In New South Wales, an estimated 58% of the state is drought affected, with at least a further 16% considered to be in intense drought and 22% in drought.
Both Coles and Woolworths went head-to-head with the release of their collectables campaigns with an equally cute sets of miniatures - Little Shop 2 versus Disney's The Lion King Ooshies.
Coles will rely on the success of its Little Shop campaign with an updated list of miniature grocery items, including Arnott's Barbecue Shapes, Heinz Baked Beans, Maggi 2 Minute Noodles, Campbell's Tomato Soup and the refreshing Eclipse Mints.
Vegemite will have its adorable version out again, but this time the vintage label will be up for grabs.
Just 100 limited-edition gold trolleys will be in circulation to add an extra challenge for the young ones wanting to fill their replica shelves.