Written By: - Date published: 3:50 pm, June 19th, 2018 - 58 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Media, Politics, racism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: andrew geddis, bob jones, Laura O'Connell Rapira, renae maihi
First a warning. Please be careful about what you say because making adverse comments against Bob Jones can cause him to become upset and threaten legal proceedings.
He has already done so to two individuals for saying the R word about him after he had written and published an article suggesting that Maori should be grateful for being colonised and any adverse comment should be considered carefully.
The background is set out in this Stuff article and in particular this passage:
Last week Sir Robert Jones wrote his last column for the National Business Review which, though it was published in the print version of the weekly, was hastily deleted from NBR’s website. The ‘hate speech’ so incensed filmmaker Renae Maihi that she organised an online petition demanding that Bob be stripped of his knighthood. Jones responded that his column was satire – that his idea of a “Maori Appreciation Day” was simply a “satirical suggestion”. It was, as Bob suggested, a “piss-take”.
So what is satire? Some of us will remember the ‘I was only being satirical’ defence used by Paul Holmes when he called UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan a ‘cheeky darkie’. He was not being satirical; he was being racist.
Bob’s offending column followed a very non-satirical rant against compulsory Te Reo. We were left in no doubt about where Bob stood on the subject of the “dying language, confined to hobbyists”.
“While on the subject of Maoridom”, added Bob, “rather than make kids learn the language, here’s a much better idea. We should introduce a new public holiday, Maori Gratitude Day, in place of the much disdained Waitangi Day.”
Jones also said this:
As there are no full-blooded Maoris in existence it indisputably follows that had it not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single Maori alive today … would have existed.”
“So excluding individuals who may be miserably suicidal … and instead like 99.999 per cent of us, actually like being alive, it’s long overdue for some appreciation …
I have in mind a public holiday where Maori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing. And if any Maori tries arguing that if he/she didn’t have a slight infection of Irish blood or whatever, they might be the better for it, the answer is no sunshine.”
National Business Review, hardly a hotbed of left wing activism, responded by cancelling Jones’ column and removing this particular column from its website.
No law suit against that august entity ensued.
But law suits were threatened not only against Maihi but also Leonie Pihama, who tweeted about his actions. Both targets are coincidentally Maori women.
Another thread on Bob Jones' twin threats to sue for defamation. The targets of both have been Māori wahine who speak out strongly on te tino rangatiratanga. Yet if you want to go looking for people who have called Bob Jones a "racist", you can find lots of examples. (/1)
— Andrew Geddis (@acgeddis) June 12, 2018
So of all the comments made about him, Jones apparently has singled out those by two high profile Māori women and chosen to use the legal system to vest consequences on them … that seems statistically unlikely to be just chance. (/3)
— Andrew Geddis (@acgeddis) June 12, 2018
The threatened lawsuit has been the subject of intense twitter analysis with questions raised as to the writing ability of Jones’ lawyer.
— The NonPlastic Māori (@nonplasticmaori) June 13, 2018
My personal contribution was to note that the last paragraph of the lawyer’s letter was reminiscent of that in the letter discussed in the case of Arkell v Pressdramm. And that the response to that letter is one that is regularly used.
For those who have not had the pleasure of reading that case this was the response … pic.twitter.com/e19b3bo2k7
— Greg Presland (@GregPresland) June 12, 2018
At this stage there is no sign that Jones will back down on his threat of litigation.
So Laura O’Connell Rapira of Action Station has set up a givealittle page to help pay for legal bills she [Maihi] may incur defending any action taken by Mr Jones. At the time of writing over $12,000 has been raised. Feel free to contribute.
Please note that if you are going to publicly say something about Sir Bob you should do so carefully. It is the law of New Zealand that expressing an honestly held opinion based on facts on a matter of public interest is protected from action. And freedom of expression under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is a hard won and important constitutional right. But I still urge caution because Jones, like Earl Hagaman, has the resources to seek redress from people who offend him.