Friday, 15 November 2013

A Disturbing Precedent

GUILTY MEN? Tried and convicted in the Court of Public Opinion for their insensitive questioning of "Amy", a friend of one of the "Roastbusters'" victims, Maori broadcasters Willie Jackson and John Tamihere were taken off the air. Radio Live's decision was assisted by massive criticism from social media and direct pressure on the radio station's advertisers. But, were Willie and JT's failings personal or cultural? Is it pure coincidence that their Pakeha colleagues - also guilty of insensitivity in relation to the Roastbusters scandal - have escaped Willie's and JT's fate?
 
AM I ALONE, amidst all the liberal self-congratulation at the silencing of Willie Jackson and John Tamihere, in experiencing a chill of foreboding? Has no one else on the Left paused for a moment to consider what manner of precedent this appeal to advertisers may have set? Has no thought been given to how – or even if – the demise of The Willie & JT Show can be reconciled with the NZ Bill of Rights’ guarantee of freedom of expression?
 
Because there can be little doubt that the decision by so many businesses to withdraw their advertising from Radio Live was prompted by the implicit threat of a consumer boycott of their products if they didn’t. Bluntly, the proposition put to Radio Live amounted to: “Take these guys off the air, or, first off, we’ll hurt your advertisers; and then we’ll hurt you.”
 
And it worked. Messrs Jackson and Tamihere have been silenced and their show shut down for at least two months. They have been tried in the Court of Public Opinion for expressing opinions and evincing attitudes that a great many New Zealanders deem to be not only objectionable but dangerous. They have been found guilty and punished.
 
But, when you think about it, they didn’t really get a fair trial – did they?
 
In a fair trial they would have been asked why they treated the young woman caller, Amy, the way they did. Were their questions about her friend’s attire and the amount of alcohol she’d consumed framed deliberately, to inflict maximum harm and humiliation? Or were they merely reflective of the values and assumptions that characterised the circumstances in which her inquisitors were raised?
 
At a fair trial, someone might have posed the question: “Is it more or less likely that Willie’s and JT’s alleged “misogyny” reflected a predisposition toward deliberate cruelty? Or, was it the product of deeply ingrained misconceptions about sexuality and gender?” And, if we’re willing to concede that it might have been the latter, then hasn’t the discussion moved on from failings that are personal, to responses that may be cultural?
 
At a fair trial, Willie’s and JT’s defence attorney might even have tried to turn the story around to where it was no longer about sexism but racism. Because the charge of rape, when levelled against a black man, carries with it all manner of disreputable historical baggage.
 
What did Willie and JT see when 3 News broke the Roastbusters story? Two young brown faces. What did they hear? Middle-class Pakeha liberals baying for their blood. To what did their first thoughts turn? Rape Culture or Lynch Law?
 
And the sad fact is, there could have been a fair trial – or, at least, a free exchange of views about the many issues raised by the Roastbusters scandal. Had the first instinct of Willie's and JT’s critics been to ask Radio Live for an opportunity to go head-to-head with them on air; to challenge their ideas about young women and rape; then the result might well have been a week’s worth of productive and progressive dialogue. But that is not what happened. Rather than korero, the left-wing social media’s first instinct was to condemn, threaten, punish and shut down.
 
And now that they have tasted blood; now that they have fixed the heads of these two high-profile Maori “misogynists” above the gates of their virtual Utopia; listen to what some in the left-wing social media believe it to mean:
 
“Old media Radio Live have been damaged by the new media blogs. The power of Twitter and Facebook allows a focused roar from the crowd to descend with crushing force on whatever target it decides to destroy. It’s trial by social media.”
 
Now, I’m pretty sure that the author of those sentences, The Daily Blog editor, Martyn Bradbury, did not intend them to sound quite so triumphant. Because the situation he is describing in no way merits self-congratulation. Nor is it one which any leftist worthy of the name will approach with equanimity.
 
Freedom of expression is absolutely basic to any movement which places challenging the status quo at the core of its political practice. In denying that freedom to Willie Jackson, John Tamihere and Radio Live, the Left has set a precedent upon which, at the first opportunity, a vengeful Right will pounce.
 
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 15 November, 2013.

101 comments:

John Drinnan said...

You are right

schmoepooh said...

Your analysis doesn't mention Matthew Hooten Chris who clearly telegraphed his intention. Willie and JT's mistake was conceptual when they appeared to mitigate the offenders culpability by exploring broader cultural predisposing factors. Hooten possibly moved to preempt discussion on issues such as the marketing of alco pops to young women including under age teens.

Dale Kirk said...

It's not often that I find myself agreeing with you Chris, however in this case I am 100% in agreement. The collective bluster of abuse and nastiness from predominantly left wing bloggers and wannabes has been far worse than the original comments from Willie and JT. You'd have thought that these guys were the actual rapists, given the way they have been turned on. Thanks for some balance

Pete George said...

"What did Willie and JT see when 3 News broke the Roastbusters story? Two young brown faces. What did they hear? Middle-class Pakeha liberals baying for their blood."

Is that what they saw or are you guessing? I have never seen it as a 'brown face' issue and I haven't seen it debated as such.

The Roast Busters problem, and the Willie and JT problem, are right across our society. And I saw far more diverse angst than from "Middle-class Pakeha liberals".

I'm very disappointed to see you try and switch this into a left versus right issue. It's far too bloody serious to turn it into pissy politics.

weka said...

Chris, I take it from your use of quotation marks that you don't think Tamihere and Jackson were misogynistic in that interview? Fortunately many people disagree with you, and they used their freedom of expression in, well, expressing that. I think the left blogosphere's responses were perfectly appropriate: they saw behaviour that was unacceptable and they stepped up and did something. Kind of ironic to have you now arguing that was wrong, given the context of the rape club.


Because there can be little doubt that the decision by so many businesses to withdraw their advertising from Radio Live was prompted by the implicit threat of a consumer boycott of their products if they didn’t. Bluntly, the proposition put to Radio Live amounted to: “Take these guys off the air, or, first off, we’ll hurt your advertisers; and then we’ll hurt you.”


Has it occured to you that as part of that decision they looked at what Tamihere and Jackson actually did and decided they didn't want their businesses associated with that in any way? It was interesting to read the initial responses from companies that pulled their advertising, compared to Countdown, who initially said it was nothing to do with them. When you read the first lot of responses from companies, they read like the people who wrote them were literate about rape culture. These weren't responses from people merely concerned about profit lines, they were also concerned about ethics.


As for the 'this is really racism' angle...


What did Willie and JT see when 3 News broke the Roastbusters story? Two young brown faces. What did they hear? Middle-class Pakeha liberals baying for their blood. To what did their first thoughts turn? Rape Culture or Lynch Law?


That might be worth looking at if it weren't for the fact that Tamihere and Jackson are both well known for their misogynistic views and attitudes, and their support of rape culture. I'm also less inclined to take notice of your view on this, given your cultural background, than I am to listen to the voices of Mana Wahine, where Maori women have spoken out about their concern over what Tamihere and Jackson did. Did you do any research on what Maori women have said on this in the last week before you wrote your article?

James Faction said...

Shame on you Trotter for perpetuating rape culture.

That's an outrageous charge, right?

No.

WJ and JT were blaming the victims of rape. Live, on radio. That is perpetuating rape culture in the public sphere.

Trotter, by defending them and arguing crap like "intent", you are perpetuating rape culture. Withdraw and apologise, and you might save a little face.

weka said...

"You'd have thought that these guys were the actual rapists, given the way they have been turned on."

No, what we've seen is people responding to them as rape apologists and rape enablers. Rape doesn't happen in a vacuum, it happens because so many of us turn a blind eye, and so many others support the attitudes that cause rape.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Weka

The cultural aspects of the "Amy" interview came to the fore in the exchange between Willie, JT and Matthew Hooton.

It is clear in that exchange (and over the whole week) that both of the broadcasters found it extremely difficult to relate to the values systems of their critics - e.g. JT's querulous: "What planet are you from?!"

What many Pakeha would label "misogyny" - not allowing women to speak on a marae, for example - is considered something else entirely by traditional Maori men.

I have known both Willie and JT for several years and appeared with them on various radio and TV shows. That is why I have challenged people to move beyond ascribing blame at the personal, as opposed to the cultural, level.

As individual human-beings, Willie and JT are caring and generous supporters of their communities. Over the years they have poured huge amounts of their personal energy and resources into advancing the cause of all Maori people.

That is why I believe it to be both unfair and simplistic to angrily dismiss them as "misogynists" (as if that is all they are and ever have been) and then silence their radio show.

I would also invite you to check out the comments of other male broadcasters on Radio Live. Their reaction to women calling in on the Roastbusters story was no less insensitive/abusive than Willie's and JT's.

Where was the social media campaign against them?

Were advertisers warned to steer clear of Sean Plunket?

Is the fact that they still have their radio shows in any way related to the fact that they are Pakeha?

Whether you like it or not Weka, there IS a cultural aspect to this matter.

weka said...

"I would also invite you to check out the comments of other male broadcasters on Radio Live. Their reaction to women calling in on the Roastbusters story was no less insensitive than Willie's and JT's."

I've read Andrew Fagan's apology, which looked pretty good all things considered. Plunkett's wasn't. IMO part of the response to them is the fact that neither of them are known misogynists or known rape apologists. Tamihere and Jackson are. There was a timing thing too I think, where Tamihere and Jackson were first, and how much time does the left blogosphere have? Such actions have their own energy and I don't know if calls for the other two would have been effective.

Having said that I do think that race is an issue here.


", there IS a cultural aspect to this matter"

Oh I agree. I just think it's been largely lost in your article because most of the article is an apology for Tamihere and Jackson's behaviour. You could have written about the race issues while still acknowledging the huge problem in what they did. Making a point about race at the expense of sexism is to the detriment of us all.


"What Pakeha might label as "misogyny" - not allowing women to speak on marae, for example - might be considered something else entirely by traditional Maori men."

Right. Which is why I asked you if you had done any research on what traditional Maori women have said in the past week. Did you?


"As individual human-beings, Willie and JT are caring and generous supporters of their people"

It's a pity then that they couldn't have afforded the same aroha and awhina to the vulnerable woman that rang in. And please, get this, rape apologists and promoters, and even rapists are not all evil, despicible people. They are the men in our families and communities and many of them have mana and do good things.


Chris Trotter said...

When it becomes an offence to defend those accused of offending we have moved beyond the bounds of civilised discussion and debate and entered the realm of the totalitarian mindset.

A quick perusal of this site (and The Daily Blog) will acquaint any new visitors to Bowalley Road with my unequivocal opposition to the behaviour and values manifest in the activities of the so-called "Roastbusters".

Voicing concern at the political implications of the ruthless campaign to silence two of New Zealand's leading Maori broadcasters is NOT the same as defending or excusing Rape Culture.

It is vitally important that people of a progressive turn of mind do not, in their rush to uphold the rights of some human-beings on one front, put at risk the rights of all human-beings on another.

weka said...

A quick perusal of this site (and The Daily Blog) will acquaint any new visitors to Bowalley Road with my unequivocal opposition to the behaviour and values manifest in the activities of the so-called "Roastbusters".

Sure, but I'm not talking about the rape club, I'm talking about rape culture in NZ.



Voicing concern at the political implications of the ruthless campaign to silence two of New Zealand's leading Maori broadcasters is NOT the same as defending or excusing Rape Culture.

Except you did both. You tried to raise issues of race and the politics of free speech, and you did it in a way that supports rape culture. As I said, it would have been possible to write this article while still holding JT/WJ accountable for what they did wrong. Unless you think it is ok to blame victims for their rape.


It is vitally important that people of a progressive turn of mind do not, in their rush to uphold the rights of some human-beings on one front, put at risk the rights of all human-beings on another.

Yes. I just made that exact point in my previous comment. Why did you have to undermine women in order to speak up for free speech?

Pete George said...

Some of the 'ruthless campaigners':

An interview conducted by John Tamihere and Willie Jackson regarding the Roast Busters case yesterday has sparked outrage within the Māori women's social advocacy group, Te Wharepora Hōu.

Politicians have also come out strongly with their opinions, knowing exactly the position these men hold, not only in broadcasting, but in communities where these problems exist.

Marama Davidson is absolutely disgusted and offended by their misogynistic and sexist interview.

Paula Bennett says, “They need to be ashamed of themselves, I think its 1960's thinking, their part of the reason quite frankly why young women don't come forward and tell their stories.”

According to Pita Sharples, “They receive Whānau Ora funding, but where was the empathy in their comments?”

https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/national/criticism-tamihere-and-jackson-escalates

Peter Calder said...

Very fine piece, Chris, nuanced and thoughtful. You are not alone in feeling very disturbed by the liberal handwringing on this whole matter and the indifference or blindness of so many commentators to the many cultural undercurrents and cross-currents. Why have the toxic and hateful outpourings of Michael Laws and Leighton Smith not attracted calls for advertiser boycotts over the years? Do Herald advertisers deserve boycotting if the opinions of this right-wing columnist or that leftie commentator offend someone? I think that Willie and JT deserve opprobrium but they should also have the chance to engage with their critics and not be silenced. How else are attitudes such as theirs to be held up for scrutiny?

Chris Trotter said...

I'm sorry, Weka, but you seem to have undergone a logic bypass.

It is entirely possible to deplore the content of another person's speech while at the same time defending their right to speak freely.

Freedom of Expression cannot be limited to those who subscribe to our personal values.

Can you not see that your demand that I surrender my own freedom of expression - by ensuring that what I say conforms with your expectations of how this issue should be presented - is evidence, on your part, of not just an intolerant, but a totalitarian mindset?

Totalitarianism simply does not recognise that the individual has the right to express opinions which diverge from those who would impose their own on the whole of society.

It may begin with good intentions - fighting Rape Culture - but that is not where it ends.

We prove our democratic bona fides by acknowledging that even those whose opinions we abhor have the right to express them.

Defending Willie and JT's right to get it wrong on the issues of sexuality and gender is in no way equivalent to endorsing the wrongness of their views.

I do it so that if, in the future, someone should attempt to silence you, Weka, the tradition of defending the citizen's right to speak freely (which must include offensively) remains strong enough to protect you.

Davo Stevens said...

This does concern me as Chris says "Trial by Public Opinion".

As for the race issue, I didn't see 'Brown Faces' but a group of lads behaving very badly and a Police who did nothing really about them. That is the real issue here.

As I didn't hear that interview I can't comment on it. All I know is what has been put forward by the media.

The core of this is why did not the police act as they should have done? There has been a somewhat muted outcry about the lack of Police action in this case.

The second point that I have made elsewhere is; Where are the boy's parents? Why didn't they respond and stop the lads? You can't tell me that they didn't know!! They could have nipped this in the bud and stopped the boys. They apparently didn't so are they, at least, partly responsible? By doing nothing they are condoning bad behaviour.

Jenny Kirk said...

" We prove our democratic bona fides by acknowledging that even those whose opinions we abhor have the right to express them."

And those of us who abhor what JT and WJ said - in a public arena, supported by sponsors that many of us use - also have a right to object directly to those sponsors and the radio station and say we don't like their attitude. That, too, is freedom of speech,Chris Trotter.

And NZers have used that sort of consumer boycott in other arenas - boycotting South African goods during its apartheid days, boycotting unhealthily penned chickens and pigs sold as food in supermarkets, having dangerous toys taken off the shop floor.

This is a legitimate expression of protest at something consumers see as wrong. And it was a legitimate form of protest to use against WJ,JT and Radio Live when they themselves couldn't see what they'd said wrong.

Danyl said...

Let me explain a little something to you about freedom of expression, Chris.

Your right to free expression is already compromised in lots of ways. You cannot, for example, publish a column inciting people to commit a crime. You can't publish a column alleging someone is guilty of a crime they haven't been convicted of. You can't publish a column making a claim about a company that will cause great financial harm to that company.

Or, rather, you CAN do all of those things but the legal system gives you a very strong incentive not to. If you were to publish any of the columns I listed above there would be negative consequences.

Because we enjoy freedom of speech - but not consequence free freedom of speech. If you say something defamatory about someone wealthy or powerful you'll face the consequences.

And these kind of boycotts are an extension of that principle to people who aren't wealthy and powerful and can't afford to impose consequences through the legal system.

Are they open to abuse? Sure - but there is a built in defense mechanism: the statements made need to outrage not only political activists but also the marketing managers of large commercial businesses.

Can they be used against mainstream progressive left-wing commentators? Well, these people don't really exist in New Zealand: we're doomed to be hectored and talked down to by droves of reactionary bewildered old men instead; but hypothetically if some progressive commentator made a statement as offensive and harmful as Willie and JT's by - I don't know - calling for the summary execution of farmers for climate crimes, say, I'd be comfortable with an identical boycott.

weka said...

Peter,

"Why have the toxic and hateful outpourings of Michael Laws and Leighton Smith not attracted calls for advertiser boycotts over the years?"

In my opinion there has a been a flash point in the past few weeks, where the long years of anti-rape campaigners connected with the raw feelings of the public and for probably the first time dialogue on rape culture entered the mainstream. JT and WJ had the choice in the middle of that to act like responsible adults. They didn't and they can wear the consequences.



"Do Herald advertisers deserve boycotting if the opinions of this right-wing columnist or that leftie commentator offend someone?"

Well there we have it. Promotion of rape is just another opinion that people are allowed to hold, and people who object to it are being 'offended'. You are wrong about this. It's not the offense that was the problem, it's the damage they did to the woman they were talking to and women in general by promoting rape culture.

btw, no-one has silenced JT and WJ. They can still express their views just like the rest of us. What has happened is that their employers have suspended them for a time because their behaviour brought the employer into disrepute. That's an appropriate action.

weka said...

Hi Chris,

"It is entirely possible to deplore the content of another person's speech while at the same time defending their right to speak freely."

yes of course, and the left blogosphere does this every day. It also fairly regularly analyses freedom of speech, and mostly agrees that that does not mean that all people can say anything they like at any time (hence no yelling fire in a crowded theatre).


Where is my demand that you surrender your freedom of expression? I am genuinely interested.



"Defending Willie and JT's right to get it wrong on the issues of sexuality and gender is in no way equivalent to endorsing the wrongness of their views."

And yet when I read your post, twice, I was left with the impression that you don't think they're were being misogynistic and promoting rape culture.

Again I will say, I think you could have written about freedom of expression issues in this context without doing that at the expense of women.


"I do it so that if, in the future, someone should attempt to silence you, Weka, the tradition of defending the citizen's right to speak freely (which must include offensively) remains strong enough to protect you."

Sorry, but I and many other women are silenced all the time. This I suspect is why you don't get what I am talking about or what happened with the direct action. That society will grant continuing privilege to two men in positions of power who actively promote rape culture, and in that specific instance perpetuated abuse of a woman AND tried to silence her, that is unconscionable. That's why so many people reacted to what they did.

I think this is the basic point of difference between you and I. You think this is about what they said. I think it is about what they did. Their interview was the rape culture equivalent of shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre (a poor analogy but best I can do at the moment).


As for the silencing of JT and WJ, they weren't silenced. See my comment above to Peter. You might also want to read Marama Davidson's piece about society giving misogynists a platform of expression but leaving people like her out.

http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/10/02/nz-herald-is-shite-marama-davidson-responds-to-the-bob-jones-article

Barry said...

I think that it is frightening, for the future of the right to free speech in NZ, that the advertisers and Live caved in like that. Those advertisers just look silly, I think, and Live just looks craven.

Draco TB said...

But, when you think about it, they didn’t really get a fair trial – did they?

Yes, they did. It's what happens when a society is disgusted by peoples social attitudes and it happens when society wants to change those attitudes.

Bill of Rights? I don't think the BoRa covers moral or ethical issues all that well.

The Ruminator said...

Ummm didn't the blogosphere/public exercise their right of free speech in complaining? And then didn't the companies exercise their right to free speech by making clear their distaste?

Free speech means you can say awful things. Which they did. It doesn't mean you're not responsible for the consequences.

Davo Stevens said...

Interesting comment on this blog:

http://xhelensarahx.com/post/66175656445/busting-roast-busters?

Rachel said...

Congratulations for having the courage to come right out and talk about the victims of the lynch mob. It's about time. "Congrats @gtiso. Achieved objective in less than a week! Want a job?" (Matthew Hooton) - there was an agenda in this, and it is disturbing to me how so many were morally repulsed by Slater and Wewege but so accepting of Tiso and Hooton.

The interviewers merely asked the same questions many of their listeners wanted answers to. If the caller didn't want to discuss the intimate details of life and it's associated private events, perhaps she should have considered a call to the Police or a Rape Crisis centre rather than to talkback radio. If she couldn't bring herself to keep it off the air, she could perhaps have considered a different show.

Which summarises the whole darn problem really, doesn't it?

Cory Ambler said...

What a great piece. I have been gagging at the pompous, holier-than-thou, comments coming out of blog-land. See them all running one way with their pitch-forks, then see them turn, en masse and run in the other direction, trying not to trip over their cargo pants.
Most of them have failed in some media sphere or another, or never made it in the first place.
How many of them would even attempt talkback radio? Too scary for them. It takes guts to handle a job like that, and I'm sure the two that got 'named and shamed' are kicking themselves at having got it wrong in this instance. A healthy discussion would have been valuable for the nation.
When was the last time any of these sanctimonious crusaders even listened to Radio Live? I am an avid listener and it is an intelligent and interesting forum for debate. I love Marcus Lush, Karen Hay and Andrew Fagan. Their programmes are superb and very topical.
I don't always agree with Sean Plunkett, but Duncan Garner is an asset to their news team. Willie Jackson and JT I didn't necessarily agree with but listened with interest. Radio Live has evolved. It's not old media. It's instant media, and it is a far more democratic than blindly indulging in the hysteria that aims at shutting debate down if they don't agree with the subject matter.'Ooh, victim blaming!' (read as David Brent).
It's been nauseating watching Giovanni Whatshisface humbly accept his accolades having finally 'made it' as a champion of 'right-thinking' men everywhere.
Why not force the Mad Butcher to pay $20,000 because he's a supporter of league and you know how many rapists play that! The outcome would have made as much sense as what's happened here. Shameful censorship.

Chris Chamberlain said...

Nobody is stopping them from saying what they say. They can, quite legally, go and stand on a street corner and 'interview' other women who are dressed scantily or overtly intoxicated.

That doesn't necessarily mean that people will like it or listen.

They aired these views on a public radio station which the public consumes. All of the programmes on commercial radio are based on ratings, which is based on listenership, which is created by populism. If someone on a radio show says something unpopular, then the ratings drop. It's a way of life.

It's the same way that Radio Live doesn't give white supremacists their own radio station: nobody will listen to it. It's not commercially viable!

This isn't an attack on free speech; it's just commercial reality!

Frank said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with the legal protection of free speech, as legislated for. You seem to be confusing this issue in much the same way some folks responded to the Muhammad cartoons. There was nothing there in American law to stop any newspaper publishing them. Free speech as a legal concept is defined by the government power to censor, which is irrelevant to this case. The New York Times could also publish a front page spread denying the holocaust, and there's nothing to stop them doing it. The only repercussions for them would be loss of credibility, a public backlash and loss of revenue stream. Radio Live has just experienced this on a much much smaller scale.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't just for expressing an opinion, it was the way they questioned an 18-year-old girl on radio. It was the assumptions they made about the way girls dress and so on. Personally I think rape is probably a bit of an extreme punishment for dressing in an overtly sexual way. And they were threatened with a boycott. Which essentially when you get down to it is people spending their money the way they want to. I have quite cheerfully supported boycotts of various firms in the U.S. that discriminate against gay people for instance. And I have replied to right-wing posters, that I will spend my money however I like, (usually adding are you a commie or something? Because it annoys them) and while I generally regard Hooton as a pompous ass, I think is on the right side of history with this. Although he does take too much pleasure in the demise of left-wing commentators. But I don't care, being left-wing doesn't give you a licence to do what they did. I note that at least some female Maori organisations condemned them as well. There is very little relationship incidentally between not allowing women to speak on the marae and perpetuating a blame the victim rape culture.

James Faction said...

Rape culture is where it begins and ends, and Mr Trotter you continue to ignore this fact: WJ and JT were blaming a rape victim.

Anytime you even suggest that rape MIGHT have been something to do with the victim's dress or behaviour, you are perpetuating rape culture. You are making it hard for rape victims to come forward. You are making it hard for victims to deal with and heal from what has been done to them.

This isn't about free speech, this isn't about race relations, this isn't about politics, this isn't about "Left" and "Right".

This is about Rape Culture. It's about respecting the victims of sexual assault, and about respecting women.

Stop dressing it up as anything else. Please.

Anonymous said...

This Whole Charade Has Gone Totally Out Of Proportion Why Do People Always Think That They Are Qualified Judges And Police Officers, To Me This Sounds Like Every ones Got A Gripe With Every One I Call That Vigilante Extremists Out side The Court Of Law, Are We Becoming A Vigilante State In Sighted By Rape Culture Organizations, That Dictate Who Can And Who Bloody Well Can Not Live In This (THEIR) World Standards Of Presence In This Country. Vengence Is Mine Sayeth Our GOD. Stop This Crap And Let The LAW Do What The LAW Has Got To Do, That Goe's For Extremists And Lobbyists As Well.

Barry said...

I heard the famed interview and I certainly didnt think it was anything out of the ordinary. The girl Amy apprently rang in voluntariy and she answered question easily and quickly. She didnt hesitate when asked about her virginity.
I took from the interview that at least some of the girls who were involved in previous episodes knew exactly what they were getting into.

The big challenge with sexual assault is that the claims of "Equality" are way ahead of reality.
Sexual activity is not often carried out in public - so ocassions of rape have an evidence problem. Rape is after all simply sexual assault, and for an assault charge there has to be evidence. Either an eye witness and other evidence.
Unfortunately many of these young lasses dont seem to comprehend that making a claim 2 or 6 months later is going to go nowhere. No jury will ever convict on the basis of 'Your word against my word'.
The fact is this - if youve been raped you get down to the doctor ASAP -just like if youve been physically assaulted - you get to the Doc ASAP to have the evidence witnessed.

However sexual activity being what it is, by far the safets way to prevent being raped is TO MAKE SURE YOU DONT PUT YOURSELF INTO A POSITION WHERE IT MIGHT HAPPEN.

I recall once getting off a train near Chicago and finding myself in an area where the anti-white feeling was like lightning in the air. there were all these very black faces looking at me with that sort of look that said "and what are you doing here,,,"
I very quickly backtracked to the station and caught the next train - I didnt care where it went. I had put myself into a position where I could have been in very serious trouble, but I really quickly got the hell out of there.

Unfortunately these girls and all those who are claiming to be so upset by the radio live interview are simply putting more young women at risk. They all think that whatever these young women do and whatever they dress in is no-ones business. Unfortunately thats not ture because these things put them into situations that are dangerous. thus they either learn to not put themselves into these situations - or they are make sure they have a witness with them all night (and day) long.
Thats not to remove any blame from the boys - but the boys didnt go out and round them up of the streets. the girls responded to invites - and they went along, got drunk and were probably dressed in some pretty relvealing stuff.
Both parties are at fault.

However as they were almost all underage at the time - probably nothing will happen.

Ennui said...

Chris, go over to the Open Mike on the Standard today: Weka clearly displays her position. I did not go as far as totalitarian in my responses...I am often left speechless by the belligerent authoritarianism displayed by the likes of Weka. The debate as well, obstinate or just plain thick, who knows.

Dean said...

Chris
Its not a left v right or a brown v white thing, it was simply poor judgement by Willie & JT.
As for advertisers, they have every right to pull their ads if they so choose. If you were one of the advertisers, that is your right to withdraw your advertising if you were unhappy with any content of the show.
I am a little surprised to hear comment about the "left' perpetrating the boycott ! I assumed the left would say its a right wing conspiracy to replace the 2 hosts.
Very interesting indeed !

Anonymous said...

Best assessment of the issue yet by some distance.
To borrow a past Bowalley Road post title, it's been a case of "The Kommissariat strikes back!"
Some balance and fairness at last.

Giovanni Tiso said...

Peter

"Why have the toxic and hateful outpourings of Michael Laws and Leighton Smith not attracted calls for advertiser boycotts over the years?"

I'm not saying this is a completely silly question, but it shows no awareness – not unlike Chris' post - of the week we've all been through. The Amy interview came on the back of the revelations about a young group of serial rapists that was allowed to operate for two years whilst publicising itself on Facebook, all under the eye of the police. We were all collectively in shock. And in that moment, Willie and JT chose to do the most stupid and hurtful thing imaginable. On top of which, RadioLive chose to podcast the segment, so that anyone who hadn’t heard it live might listen and be hurt as well. That was a damn risky game to play, and they got burned. Smith, Laws, Paul Henry and the rest play it too, but they never crossed the line (at least in my memory) at such a time. The cynicism and the hurt were just unacceptable. And then you come back the next day and not apologise?

As to why Plunket and Fagan weren’t censured to the same degree, all I can say personally is that I wasn’t aware of the Plunket bit until this Tuesday, and of Fagan’s until after the boycott was well in train. I also think that while both of the segments were terrible, it wasn’t quite at the level of the cross-examination that Amy got. But I think it’s reasonable to ask why they didn’t suffer the same consequences. And why RadioLive, which tried to ride the controversy for ratings, still isn’t coming out and taking any responsibility for the behaviour of any of its hosts.

peter petterson said...

If Willie and JT don't come back I'll probably just listen to Radio Sport. Too many pathetic right -wingers on Newstalk ZB - friends of those who quite disgustingly abused Helen Clark in her last year. Let me say that Helen Clark personally intervened in a family school problem we had and made the Minister handle the problem. That sorry excuse for a government in power now wouldn't replied to my letter. Hekia would probably have told me to have a shite anyway.

Tracey said...

The guy that put a complaint in to the advertisers about Willie & JT cant remember his name but I don't think he was born in NZ - well, I am wondering whether he and others have complained about Willie & JT previously. Makes me think that there a lot of people out there that can't handle the truth about anything that Willie & JT say. Willie and JT tell it as it is and I have a real suspicion that its not just about the roastbusters its also about a lot of other issues that Willie & JT have addressed and a lot of listeners can not handle the truth well, hence the lynch mob, or shall I say hypocrites.

Karl said...

What a load of rubbish. Setting aside what was said on the radio - for you to complain that Giovanni sending emails to companies saying "Do you realise what your advertising dollars pay for" gives a chill sense of foreboding gives me the chills.

How should people who want to make a difference in the world do so? Stand in the corner and grumble? Write a letter to the editor? What Giovanni did was tweet to his 2,300ish followers who advertised and left it up to people to use where they spend their money to make a difference.

The bullshit moaning of you and the likes of Drinnan comes across as people who are used to being the ones trying to make a difference (you through your networks of influence, Drinnan through knowing people in the media) being pissed off that someone in Berhampore has actually made a real difference to people in New Zealand.

You don't come across as righteous. You come across as pissed off that someone has made a bigger difference than you.

Nic the NZer said...

What do you think of the accusations thrown around against Mr Rickards involved here, Chris? It seems that the guy who has been rustling up trouble may have some kind of vendetta against them prior to their interview.

Anonymous said...

You raise a valid point there, Chris.

I did not like what I heard from JT and Willie when questioning "Amy", but there have in my view been much worse cases of poor conduct by talk back hosts than what both did in that conversation.

Sean Plunket is one who is often worse, as he gets away with presenting chauvinistic, right wing views by dressing them up in more acceptable words and presenting smarter arguments. I have felt offended more often how one-sided, biased and judgmental Plunket has been, than by what JT and Willie ever said.

Nevertheless, the least they (Willie and JT) had to do was to apologise, and that they did.

This whole campaign against Radio Live though was so over the top, it was unreasonable in my view. That "blogger" in Wellington, who started it, sounded like a self declared judge on the matter, and his appeal to advertisers was just overly "politically correct" and plain nasty.

If we have reason to boycott stations, papers and whatever media outlet, there should then be many other cases for doing this. But it is not done.

What the "Roast Busters" did in unforgivable, and their conduct was disgusting and criminal.

But too many jump on the bandwagon and excuse every behavior, no matter how irresponsible and stupid, by the victims. There is no excuse for rape, but my view is, that so few victims have come forward and laid complaints, and backed them up, because they know they did themselves behave totally stupid and irresponsible.

We have had all this debate before, about the issues with alcohol abuse and so forth, and how too many young persons overindulge and cause harm for themselves and others.

This actually should come into the discussion here also. If 13 to 15 year olds drink themselves into stupor, so they do not know what happens to them, they have to take some blame for that also. Perhaps the police found problems with charging the guys, because of the fact, that the victims had been drunk. Being drunk or drugged and then wanting to give evidence, is often not that successful before any court.

My impression is too many victims know this, and hence they rather try to work it through without going to court.

I hope though that enough will now support their claims and work with the police. And the police are by the way just another part to the story, that raises yet more questions.

My view is that the ones on the left that so forcefully drove the campaign against a supposed "rape culture" are mostly known and vocal feminists who have found another incident to promote their cause.

A "rape culture" does not exist in wider society, it rather is present in few circles, like gangs and unrepentant chauvinistic individuals and the likes.

So perhaps we get back to some reason and look at the facts.

Apart from this I will wait for more media being boycotted for other poor conduct, e.g. the political bias of journalists, the over commercialisation and what else there is to complain about.

Tia Winitana said...

Are their any rape victims in here? Any anti male issues? Sounds like u wanted these Maori boys to hang jt n wj it may have been easier for a woman to ask the question .....did you dress up that night hoping to have sex with the roastbusters ???

Katherine said...

"Or were they merely reflective of the values and assumptions that characterised the circumstances in which her inquisitors were raised?"
This is your main point isn't it Chris? A lot of fancy words that say Willie & JT's behaviour & opinions are as a result of their upbringing. And that because they are brown that somehow makes it ok.
It's not ok.
I'm not sure you have thought through your argument that well this time Chris. Your usually well hidden inconsistencies are peaking through here.
You have couched an apology for some rape apologists as freedom of speech.
Those 'values' & 'assumptions' you refer to that Willie & JT have are entirely the problem, whoever has them, regardless of colour or gender. Did you grow up with them too by any chance?

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at some of the defenders of these 2. It's not censorship, it's a boycott. What's the alternative? Forcing people to spend their money on something they do not want to. Forcing people to support 2 idiots who are likely to cause a loss of customer base? As I said before, I will spend or not spend my money any fucking way I want to. If you don't like Sean Plunkett, Michael Laws or anyone else, start your own boycott. It's people power to the nth degree.

Damien Grant said...

Chris, you write:

"Or, was it the product of deeply ingrained misconceptions about sexuality and gender"

Are you saying Jackson and Tamihere are misogynist and this is some sort of upbringing issue?

You refer to "alleged misogyny" earlier so I am not following your logic here.

I am a little surprised at seeing that so many left-liberals apparently agree with at-will employment though.

Victor said...

I don't have a problem in principle with advertisers withdrawing their largesse from broadcasters who might be thought to compromise their brand.

That's a commercial decision plain and simple and made in a wholly commercial context. The only way to reduce the power of advertisers would be through the expansion of genuinely public broadcasting. And I'm not holding my breath over that.

But I'm perplexed over why Willie & JT should be thought so discreditable to advertisers' brands when the soon to be resurrected Paul Henry is not.

Personally, I hope that Willy and JT reappear next year, albeit somewhat chastened by experience.

Legalease said...

Mr Tiso:
You said:
"The Amy interview came on the back of the revelations about a young group of serial rapists that was allowed to operate for two years whilst publicising itself on Facebook, all under the eye of the police."

Fact: They are alleged serial rapists and as such are innocent until proven guilty.

You said:
"We were all collectively in shock."

Fact: We were not. Some of us prefer to gather all the information together and make a rational, non emotive decision based on evidence.

You said:
"As to why Plunket and Fagan weren’t censured to the same degree, all I can say personally is that I wasn’t aware of the Plunket bit until this Tuesday, and of Fagan’s until after the boycott was well in train. I also think that while both of the segments were terrible, it wasn’t quite at the level of the cross-examination that Amy got. But I think it’s reasonable to ask why they didn’t suffer the same consequences. "

Fact: There were different circumstances in regard to the two men you singled out for censure. Mr Plunket hung up on a woman because he didn't believe she was genuine. Mr Fagan didn't hear his caller because he was distracted. They both explained their respective mistakes and apologised.

You said:
"And why RadioLive, which tried to ride the controversy for ratings, still isn’t coming out and taking any responsibility for the behaviour of any of its hosts."

Fact: Two men have been removed from the radio programme for two months.

Whilst I have sympathy for both rape victims and those falsely accused of rape, if your own reasoning in all matters is so easily influenced by quick emotion and a lack of sound research then I have no hesitation in dismissing your opinions.

Giovanni Tiso said...

By the way, lovers of the latter-day free speech (and identity politics!) enthusiast Chris Trotter may want to be reminded how just last week he was threatening legal action against Danyl McLauchlan on this very issue.

Chris Trotter said...

Since when, Giovanni, does advising a reckless hater like Mr McLauchlan to exercise a little caution amount to a threat of legal proceedings?

The latter usually arrive in the form of a solicitor's letter printed on very expensive stationery.

Well beyond my bank balance!

Anonymous said...

The truth is that New Zealand has many dumb, miseducated and zealous people who have been praying that something like this would happen so that they could get on their favourite radical hobbyhorse and scream their favourite seminar room hypotheses at the top of their lungs.

The truth, legal procedure and evidence don't matter at all to these people: they've got their fangs in and won't let go.

Best to ignore them.

Giovanni Tiso said...

"Since when, Giovanni, does advising a reckless hater like Mr McLauchlan to exercise a little caution amount to a threat of legal proceedings?

The latter usually arrive in the form of a solicitor's letter printed on very expensive stationery."

Okay, so it was just a vague threat? Were you going to sock him one? Help us understand the precise extent of your commitment to free speech, Chris.

Clement Pinto said...

Dear Chris, your reply to Weka at '15 November 2013 12:06' is one of the very best comments that I have read on this topic. Cheers!

paul scott said...

The Socialist manic street preacher Martyn Bradbury has a lot to answer for. we know he hates the Police and society. more here
paulscottfilms.blogspot.com

schmoepooh said...

I think W & JT are victims themselves, victims of the widespread fallacy that an "explanation" is a "justification". Everybody does it with their favourite personal unexamined values (ie dogmas). Ideologues including religious but but also political ideologues of one stripe or another (people who should know better) are just as blind to it as ordinary mortal folk. There always a risk your readers will assume that is what you are doing if you discuss explanations on the context of justification or recrimination. Talk back hosts are fielding opinions from all sorts of perspectives and it would take a very pedantic person to regulate that, something which talk back radio with its commercial imperatives are unlikely to do. So there is some hypocrisy or inconsistency in the commercial response. But also the Chardonnay Socialists expounding their latest over a glass of their favourite and setting a fine example for their kids. "Do as I say not what I do."

schmoepooh said...

In the nature of things decisive action is often more important than correct procedure when mob rule threatens. As my music teacher Johann Giesen (OBHS) would say, "run along, there's a good boy, it's important to promote the myth of the master's all surveilling eye."
Foucault couldn't have put it better!

schmoepooh said...

I think Key will romp in next election (by the standards of MMP) as long as the so called "Left" maintain their disparate agendas which are more to do with what or how you are feel you are entitled to call "legitimate" shagging.
This creates a sexual preference based political posture rather than considerations of economic equity and social justice. A later day Harold Macmillan might conclude "you've never had it so good" and the Matthew Hootens of this world would rejoice accordingly.
Progressives now range from Libertarians who want the age of consent lowered to 12 (part time classicalists) through to Randians as the coherent conclusion from moral nihilism (The Act Party). A foundation member (ex Labour) of that party (now deceased) informed its nembers at a dinner party "an erect penis has no scruples". He like many could not distinguish between "psychological explanation" and "moral justification". Being a former exponent of Marxist dogma from his student days he believed it was all power vested "ideology" anyway.
What the failure of "The Left" as the inconsistent and incoherent response to the "Roast Busters" debate reveals is an intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

Chris Trotter said...

Having read your excellent blog for many years, Giovanni, I know you to be a very intelligent and well educated person. So, I must confess to a little puzzlement at your current line of questioning.

Danyl McLauchlan, on his "Dim-Post" blog, had as good as blamed me - or, at least, something he called "Trotterism" - for the actions of the Roast Busters.

Such reckless hatred mars the perpetrator almost as much as its intended victim. Not only did I deserve better from Danyl, but, in my opinion, Danyl deserved better from himself.

Hence my gentle admonishment of Mr McLauchlan in the form of a suggestion that he exercise a little caution.

Giovanni Tiso said...

“Danyl McLauchlan, on his "Dim-Post" blog, had as good as blamed me - or, at least, something he called "Trotterism" - for the actions of the Roast Busters.”

He drew a connection between your support of John Tamihere – which is grounded in the idea that his chauvinist worldview will appeal to the mythical sector of the working class you have dubbed ‘Waitakere Man’ – Tamihere’s documented rape apology, rape culture generally, and its real-world consequences. It was an entirely linear and correct argument.

“Hence my gentle admonishment of Mr McLauchlan in the form of a suggestion that he exercise a little caution.”

Unless they changed language when I wasn’t looking, your admonishment was anything but gentle. And you know it quite well.

Anonymous said...

When Paul Henry - another controversial broadcaster but of a different hue - flippantly questioned the former Governor General Anand Satyanand's nationality, a similar reaction ensued. In fact, the UNITE Union picketed outside TVNZ and demanded that he be sacked (even in apparent contradiction to their role as a protector of worker's rights!).

I don't think there's any racism in this case, implied or otherwise.

Chris Trotter said...

How very disappointing, Giovanni.

That you, like Mr McLachlan, are unable to distinguish the description of a political demographic from an endorsement of its values, or the identification of an avatar for such a group from an expression of unqualified support.

Intelligent and well-educated you may be, Giovanni, but your above comment reveals a disturbing lack of fairness - not to mention a chillingly refined ability to wound.

I had thought you a much better person than this exchange reveals.

Giovanni Tiso said...

“That you, like Mr McLachlan, are unable to distinguish the description of a political demographic from an endorsement of its values, or the identification of an avatar for such a group from an expression of unqualified support.”

I know of your attempts to distance yourself from Waitakere Man, the ‘monster you created’. But aren’t you also the writer who more than anyone else in this country has been pitting identity politics against the defence of workers' rights to explain how Labour turned neoliberal? There _is_ a reason why people associate you with these ideas. And what was Waitakere Man if not an attempt to posit that a working class man existed who wanted class politics but rejected social progress? Whereas whether this man exists except as a short-hand for the need to act political upon that notion, is very much up for the debate. But my point is that you cannot in fact create the monster (to use your own metaphor) and then claim no responsibility for letting it loose.

(As for whether that irreducible contradiction exists, I was – ironically, in hindsight – praising Willie Jackson not two months ago for saying this: ‘I learnt when I was a young union official that [fighting for gay rights] was no different to fighting for workers' rights.’)

Chris Trotter said...

By that reasoning, Giovanni, the author of Das Kapital is responsible for all the depredations of capitalism.

And, I wish you had recalled that statement by Willie before launching the campaign which took one of the very few progressive (except, I am the first to concede, when it comes to sexuality and gender relations!) Maori working-class voices off the air.

I doubt whether his or JT's particular political diction will be heard again on Radio Live. Which does not, of course, mean that it will cease to be spoken - merely that its rough accents will no longer be permitted to chafe the delicate bourgeois ear.

Giovanni Tiso said...

"By that reasoning, Giovanni, the author of Das Kapital is responsible for all the depredations of capitalism."

Except Marx didn't invent Capital. He tried to describe how it operated. Waitakere Man doesn't exist. To posit that he does, is in itself a drawing of conclusions as to what we should do about it.

"I doubt whether his or JT's particular political diction will be heard again on Radio Live. Which does not, of course, mean that it will cease to be spoken - merely that its rough accents will no longer be permitted to chafe the delicate bourgeois ear."

There are plenty other Maori voices that could be heard on the air. Marama Davidson even put her name forward last week I believe.

Giovanni Tiso said...

By the way, I wonder if you've had a chance to read McCarten's take, where he laments the fact that there was never any consequence for what they said on the panel he participated in.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11158376

Anonymous said...

A very interesting discussion on media watch this morning about this whole affair. During which it was revealed that Paul Holmes's boss wished on reflection that he had suspended him for his "cheeky darkie" remark. And so he damned well should have, considering I was overseas at the time and the only story I ever saw about New Zealand for 2 weeks was that. Personally I think that Jackson and Tamihere will be back after a well deserved suspension. I think first of all we have less tolerance of that sort of thing now, and secondly of course social media didn't exist in quite the profusion that it does now. This gives ordinary people who can get themselves organised a lot more power than they've had in the past, at least since unions were gutted. And it has been used in progressive causes in the U.S. quite a lot in the last year or so. More power to their elbow

Victor said...

Anonymous @ 10.09

The difference between the current furore and the Paul Henry case is that, this time round, hard-headed business people have made the judgement that association with Willy & JT is bad for their branding.

In other words, they've come to a commercial decision concerning marketing tactics, based on their judgement of what's acceptable to the New Zealand public.

I'm open to correction but, to the best of my memory, there was no equivalent marketing disinvestment campaign when Henry made borderline racist comments about the former GG or about various other non-white people. Nor was there, as I recall it, when he made what seemed to me (as an old fashioned bloke) some highly sexist comments about the appearance of various high profile women.

All we got were protests, liberal hand-wringing and placard waving by the "usual suspects".

So let's assume for the moment that the clever folks in the marketing departments have got it right about how New Zealanders think/ feel/react. And they probably have got it right as it's their job to know about such matters.

If they're right, what does this tell us about New Zealanders' values in the second decade of the 21st century?

Why disinvest over Willy & JT at the precise time when the company that put them on air is about to engineer the resurrection of Paul Henry?

Is Henry now acceptable to the public whilst Willy & JT are not?

I'm really not sure of the answers to these questions. Are you?

Chris Trotter said...

You are most assuredly mistaken, Giovanni, if you believe I "invented" Waitakere Man.

He existed long before I put a name to the curious bundle of progressive and reactionary ideas; generous and selfish impulses; aspirational and traditional yearnings that characterise a this very real working-class personality.

Though there are fewer and fewer within the Labour Party, some can still be found attending annual conferences.

One in particular sought me out shortly after "Waitakere Man" first appeared on the pages of "The Independent" in 2009 and reassured me that I was "spot on" with my depiction of the "thousands" of former Labour voters who had deserted the party between 2005 and 2008.

You need to get out more, Giovanni.

schmoepooh said...

Anonymous. "Cheeky darkie".
Who exactly was offended by this tongue in cheek remark? It certainly wasn't the "darkies" many of them of my acquaintenances
thought it hilarious and adopted the reference themselves for a time. No the offended were the white liberal racists who imagine they have a burden to look after the interests of museum pieces in perpetuity.

Anonymous said...

"Is Henry now acceptable to the public whilst Willy & JT are not?"


Paul Henry is an idiot. But he attacked public figures. Okay some of them find it hard to defend themselves, but even so when you're in the public eye you might expect to be attacked. The others attacked an 18-year-old girl, who naïvely rang them and offered to answer questions. Naïvely being the operative word here. And as I said, if you don't like these people you could just take it upon yourself to gather enough people who are willing to protest with their wallets.

Giovanni Tiso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giovanni Tiso said...

Victor

“I'm open to correction but, to the best of my memory, there was no equivalent marketing disinvestment campaign when Henry made borderline racist comments about the former GG or about various other non-white people. Nor was there, as I recall it, when he made what seemed to me (as an old fashioned bloke) some highly sexist comments about the appearance of various high profile women.

All we got were protests, liberal hand-wringing and placard waving by the "usual suspects".”

Those comments weren’t nearly as bad as what Willie & JT did, because Henry knows how to play this game. As a result, he was roundly condemned (including by yours truly) but there was nowhere nearly enough of a groundswell to dislodge him. The more relevant case is Holmes’ Waitangi Day column though. That to me (much as comparing outrages is always a bit unpleasant) was every bit as offensive as the Amy interview. I firmly believe the Herald should have apologised and stood him down, and said so at the time, as did many comrades (let’s not kid ourselves: it’s always the Left who mobilises. The “usual suspects”, as you put it). But he also got a lot more support that Willie & JT did. It just may be that there are – if I can put it so crudely – more people who are in favour of institutionalised, mainstream racism than institutionalised, mainstreamed rape apology.

Giovanni Tiso said...

(apologies, goofed before with comment-pasting)

"One in particular sought me out shortly after "Waitakere Man" first appeared on the pages of "The Independent" in 2009 and reassured me that I was "spot on" with my depiction of the "thousands" of former Labour voters who had deserted the party between 2005 and 2008."

A bigot told you there were thousands of people like him? Tell me more!

Seriously, though, this as evidence is on a par with Brook Sabin going to a Labour husting in South Auckland begging people to say something homophobic about Grant Robertson. He did get his quote, in the end, but people there were – shall we say – less than impressed with the integrity of his information-gathering.

I am more than happy to concede that there are working class people (rightly) disaffected with Labour. And that there are working class people (incl. current and past Labour Party members) who are chauvinists. But your blending of the two together into Waitakere Man goes well past these simple observations, and produces an entire political narrative that embodies and perpetuates a contradiction in our politics that simply doesn’t exist. As Willie said: to fight for gay rights is the same as to fight for workers’ rights. Or, as Dougal McNeill put it, ‘A left which isn’t – like the working class itself – attuned to, and welcoming of, the varieties of human sexuality and gender identity, and actively anti-racist, is hardly worth the name or the bother.’

Anonymous said...

"Who exactly was offended by this tongue in cheek remark? It certainly wasn't the "darkies" many of them of my acquaintenances"

Every bugger outside NZ who wasn't white. As I said I was in Asia at the time. It was the only New Zealand story I saw in any of the newspapers. And they were generally and genuinely offended. Maybe they should have realised it was "tongue in cheek", but that's easier to do if you're white.

andrewmahon1234 said...

How the hell can you compare an unseasoned runt like Marama Davidson to heavy weights like Willie and JT?

I thought their conduct was despicable but I'm with Chris on this one.

One thing I like about Chris is the courage he has to stand up and say things like this against the witch hunting totalitarian culture of some sections of the left.

Barry said...

I think that Holmes's Waitangi Day column was the truth about Waitangi Day.

wandinc said...

duuuuuude you just lost my respect! I never would have thought you would talk such bollocks - bit of bollocks yes - you haev often needed editing - but misogynistic bollocks of this nature!? Bro - another liberal white male shows his true sexist colours. May your bromances be many Antiuqated Man - Ck? JT? Willie? John Key? Current police commissioner who too is living in the seventies? - you'll need them.

Chris Trotter said...

Well, Giovanni, I guess you had to be there and hear the man.

Come to think of it, you should really do that before you ever dismiss a fellow human-being as a bigot.

I'm moved to wonder, have you ever attended a Labour Party conference? A blue-collar union conference? Worked in a factory? Sunk a few ales at the RSA?

No? You should.

Giovanni Tiso said...

I strongly suspect that the people you mix with reflect your views, Chris, as is the case with most people. And if the level of informants matches the guy who told you that they were going to rig the Labour leadership election for sure, you know... Maybe sinking fewer ales would be okay too.

Anonymous said...

I certainly prefer Chris Trotter to Giovanni Tiso, when it comes to "fairness" and to publish dissenting views. I wonder whether Giovanni is really in tune with reality on this, as Chris has been impressively liberal with allowing dissenting comments on his blog.

Indeed I am disappointed by Giovanni, and while some have a high view of him, I will need to be convinced that he deserves it.

Now, was it actually "Chris" who invented "Waitakere Man", or is there perhaps another misunderstanding?

in-the-back-of-the.net said...

I've attended 12 of the last 13 Labour Party conferences, worked for the EPMU for five years, and have even sunk a couple of ales at the odd RSA on rare occasion, and I can honestly count on one hand the number of people who have expressed to me a problem with Labour's record on gender or sexuality issues.

schmoepooh said...

If I were to advise our national sportsmen, say All Blacks to avoid known trouble spots in King's Cross beyond certain hours in the morning would I be thereby defending thuggery or blaming the victim?

Chris Trotter said...

Oh, ha, ha, Giovanni.

But here's something for you to consider.

The individual featured in that particular story was (wrongly) convinced that Caucus would have the last word in deciding who became Labour's leader.

But he was by no means alone. Right up until the results were announced the followers of Grant Robertson were utterly convinced that their man would win. Their disappointment when he lost was palpable (as the wonderful shot of Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford testified).

Now, everyone else who had been paying close attention to the leadership contest knew (almost from the first day) that David Cunliffe would carry both the ordinary and affiliated members. That left the 34 caucus votes as the most likely place for any chicanery (assuming chicanery was ever planned) to occur.

The unguarded comments of my informant, and the adamantine certainty of Robertson's followers, were enough for me to alert The Daily Blog's readers to the niceties of vote-rigging.

I am by no means the only person who followed the leadership contest to have noticed the curious certainty of the Robertson camp. Many people at the recent conference commented to me that they found it amazing that professional politicians (like Ardern and Twyford) were unable to predict the outcome of an intra-party contest.

Either they were unable to count, or they didn't think they needed to.

in-the-back-of-the.net said...

I should also add that while we are having a pissing contest regarding which 'real people' we need to "get out more" and talk to, Chris, you should forget party conferences and union meetings and try canvassing for the Labour Party by door-knocking the residents of the parliamentary seat of Waitakere. They are not shy to tell you what they really think I can assure you and as far as gripes about what's wrong with Labour go, lack of tax cuts while we were in government tend to dwarf all other issues in my experience I'm sad to report.

Enzo Giordani

Giovanni Tiso said...

"Either they were unable to count, or they didn't think they needed to."

Your insisting your information was right against conclusive evidence to the contrary isn't going to make anyone think you're to be trusted about the other things, you know.

Chris Trotter said...

You really should pay more attention to what people actually say, Giovanni.

Of course my fears proved to be unjustified, but having them aroused by peculiar comments and strange misconceptions more than warranted putting people on alert.

Or, do you not respond to potential dangers until they have inflicted the damage you might have been able to prevent.

I've had personal experience of ballots being rigged in the Labour Party. I thought it important that the possibility be addressed. I was happy to be proved wrong.

Giovanni Tiso said...

I was really hoping you would suggest that it didn't happen because you warned against it. However, I wasn't expecting that you'd go with "it's true, you could read it in Twyford and Ardern's eyes!"

Anyway, I think we're done here. I'll write a response about the free speech thing, if only because people not bothering to read Voltaire actually fucks me off.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Enzo Giordani.

I suspected, Enzo, and Google has just confirmed, that you are a union official (for those horny-handed sons and daughters of toil in the Tertiary Education Union, I see).

In my experience as a union official, rank-and-filers are frequently wary of speaking too freely in front of the union's hired staff - especially if they've been regularly lectured to on the evils of a plethora of "isms" by kids just out of university.

That may not be you, or the EPMU, but it's difficult to fathom how you could have met so few Waitakere Men in the Engineers Union otherwise!

Giovanni Tiso said...

"In my experience as a union official, rank-and-filers are frequently wary of speaking too freely in front of the union's hired staff..."

Whereas they're only too happy to speak freely in front of man's man and syndicated columnist Chris Trotter!

in-the-back-of-the.net said...

I can help with that - the reason is most of them are more concerned about their low wages and manufacturing jobs disappearing overseas to wast too much time worrying overly much about what other people get up to in their bedrooms.

Enzo.

Tiger Mountain said...

Mano a mano blog exchanges often prove counterproductive after three or more serves as ever finer scalpels are produced in an attempt to slice and dice the opponent.

Neither Giovanni or Chris is going to triumph here or enhance their reputations except Giovanni with the Public Address luvvies and Chris maybe with some recalcitrant people who see his free speech argument as a convenience for not fully facing the rape culture problem.

Willie and John did it to themselves in the first instance. Blogger and consumer intervention helped them along to time out. What happens now is the important thing. Anyone can call for consumer action or boycotts on and off line but they have to be very well organised for legal reasons and not overused like online petitions have become imo.







Chris Trotter said...

Yeah, Tiger Mountain, I think you've just about summed up this thread.

Time to say "arrivederci" to Giovanni and Enzo.

Time, tides and politics wait for no one.

As Helen would say: "Time to move on."

schmoepooh said...

I suggest you pay less attention to newspapers tabloid in character if not in format who are the printed equivalent of Fox News.

Mark Hubbard said...

For what it's worth Chris, kudos for this thread. Brave, reasoned, very human.

schmoepooh said...

This debate between for example Chris and Giovanni perfectly maps the plate boundary between traditional Labour and it's current incarnation. Something I suspect Cunnliffe understands.
The rupture with lower paid blue collar workers occurred with the recognition among the university branches of the LP that blue collar workers were social conservatives and an obstacle to cultural diversity and identity politics in general. I well remember the "night of the long knives" when the cloth cap image was abandoned and a new generation of "university types" dominated Labour politics. Their new "sophisticated" view of values effectively disenfranchised the traditional core of party support. The closure of suburban branches was part of the same process. Many of the "New - Third Way" members were indistinguishable from Libertarians who had a vested interest in radical individualism. This resulted in a migration path into the ACT Party. The welfare of the working classes has always and remains collective action and contrary to recent and current thinking among the intellectual "Left" is once again finding endorsement by a new generation of empirical and experimental evolutionary psychologists, Teehan, Domasio, Nowick etc. The lesson for social justice is cooperation not competition, something an older generation grasped intuitively.

Brendan said...

Yes Chris, there are those of us who are normally on the the other side of the political divide who salute you on this occasion.

Don Franks said...

"Freedom of expression is absolutely basic to any movement which places challenging the status quo at the core of its political practice."

Love that.

Just don't be a maori anarchist in the bush eh

Anonymous said...

Money talks.....Bullshit walks....and they did.

Chris Trotter said...

Oh yeah, that's right, Don, because freedom of expression is always assisted by people who argue with loaded guns!

finbar lochlin said...

All i would like to say on the matter,cause im not prepared to get wired into the wrong and rights of it is,that Radio Live have now got new bosses,who have taken over a basically bankrupt franchise within a week prior to this donnybrook.And maybe they decided this is not a good look for our new venture.

MPledger said...

Women* who are raped don't go on national radio and talk about their rape and subsequent trauma. There freedom of speech is practically non-existent because the fall-out from what they say will make their experience much worse.

The two Maori men had all the power to say what they wanted and they used it to perpetuate the myths that keep women quiet about rape.

I find it hard to understand your argument that people in power should have their free speech rights protected when their free speech is used to keep the least powerful quiet.

* I did hear a women talk about her rape experience during rape awareness week on National Radio and I think it is relevant in this context that her violent rape was done by an unknown assailant during a break in.

MPledger said...

Barry said:
However sexual activity being what it is, by far the safets way to prevent being raped is TO MAKE SURE YOU DONT PUT YOURSELF INTO A POSITION WHERE IT MIGHT HAPPEN.

~~~~~~~
And what position is that? Old women get raped, babies get raped.

Rapist want to rape - if a women makes herself "safe" than all she is doing is making some other women the target.

blueleopardthinks said...

Chris Trotter,

I feel that you are missing something important here. You express fears about 'totalitarianism' (inverted commas because the term is not being used in the strict [original] sense where totalitarianism refers to State intervention - whereas in this case the State has not been involved at all) whereas you appear to have missed that WJ and JT were expressing assumptions that believe women have to dress in a certain way otherwise they cause their own rapes. This means that women are not even free to wear what they want – let alone say what they want – and this is a form of 'totalitarianism' that is occurring for women now, nevermind in the future.

Clearly this assumption is wrong because rapes continue to occur in countries with strict dress codes that women cover up.


The other thing that has been mentioned but I really think that you have missed is regarding harm.

Freedom is being confused with licentiousness. There are limits on the principle of freedom when living in a society and that limit is in the area where a persons actions violates others' freedom.

With regard to 'freedom' of expression is it in keeping with principles of freedom for a person to spread ideas encouraging the abuse of others?

I don't think so.

To allow this type of licentiousness would lead to more violence in society and less freedom for all.

I have little doubt that WJ and JT would support such licentiousness if explained to them in this way. I believe that didn't mean to spread something abusive, however no matter how unwitting they were in the words they chose they were spreading an idea that thankfully many realise leads directly to harm.

I hope that they realise their mistake because it is really very important that things improve for women in this regard.

I emphasise: I really don't think this is about silencing someone simply because a section of NZ >>disagreed<< with what was said I belive it arose from a genuine understanding about the power of >>harm<< their words and assumptions have.

I have no doubt there is racist reactions in this country. I don't actually think this is one of them. As others have said there were substantial differences in the interviews of the numbers of interviewers who got it wrong in relation to this issue. I think it would be very sad if WJ or JT came out of the recent events with a belief that they had been treated in a racist manner because that would obstruct them from learning something very important and valuable.

Great discussion here and lots of insightful comments that I agree with including the latest one by Mpledger. I hope you are heeding them Chris.