Differences over RPE donations

I became involved in a Twitter discussion yesterday about a campaign to solicit donations to a rape organisation that proved what an awful forum Twitter is for debate. Each tweet is limited so points can’t be properly explained – and then pick up on a single tweet out of context and make incorrect conclusions.

So I will explain what some of my views are here.

Last week Giovanni Tiso campaigned for advertisers on the Tamihere/Jackson slot on RadioLive to boycott the show in protest against their handling of rape and Roast Buster issues. This campaign was successful, widely praised and highly commendable.

Giovanni then started another campaign, this time to solicit donations for Rape Prevention Education from the boycotting advertisers.He emailed them asking them to donate $10,000. Fair enough, I don’t have a problem with that.

Two advertisers very quickly agreed to donate, ANZ and Telecom. Russell Brown has stated:

I can confirm Telecom was already considering the issue when they got Gio’s email.

Great, everyone’s happy. I have no problem at all with this.

But some companies chose not to respond or chose not to donate. So Giovanni followed up to see if he could get them to donate. Part of his soliciting was done publicly on Twitter:

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso 

.@yellownz, you showed great leadership last week. Will you be joining @TelecomNZ & @ANZ_NZ in donating $10k to http://rpe.co.nz ? #rpe


Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
But until then, we can pressure the big advertisers who boycotted @radiolivenz last week a bit longer. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnzyomTWMcs_dFlFRl9zTVRSSVJBc3A0Vm9mZjZ5R2c#gid=0 … #rpe

So, please, retweet this https://twitter.com/gtiso/status/400452069468827649 …, and/or email advertiser@yellow.co.nz (attn: Katherine Cornish) #rpe

But also, follow-up on the other companies listed here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnzyomTWMcs_dFlFRl9zTVRSSVJBc3A0Vm9mZjZ5R2c#gid=0 … #rpe. Can we change @vodafoneNZ‘s mind? #rpe

@vodafoneNZ Telecom did!

This approach prompted comments and questions. It was seen by some as a form of public coercion. A Herald journalist commented:

John Drinnan@Zagzigger
they should pay for their boycott?

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
They should donate to a rape prevention organization to show they are committed to changing their culture.

John Drinnan@Zagzigger
no no. I’m talking about the advertisers – good cause – but they hv done nothing wrong hv they? boycotted as suggested.

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso 
We’re giving them an opportunity to do even more. @TelecomNZ and @ANZ_NZ were happy to take it. Which is fantastic.

but by all means continue to make your contribution to this cause by way of a steady stream of snide, inane remarks

Senior Herald journalist upset that we’re being rude to corporations in raising $20,000 (so far) for #rpe. Fantastic sense of priorities.

John Drinnan@Zagzigger
very manipulative

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso 
You’re a fool.

That’s when I joined the discussion.

Pete George@PeteDGeorge
@Zagzigger @RadioLIVENZ John’s got a valid point. Pressuring, especially on such a sensitive issue, can get tricky for people.

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso
Well, Telecom and ANZ were super-cordial & only too happy to give. But by all means, keep hand-wringing

Pete George@PeteDGeorge
Others mightn’t be so comfortable. And remember some of the core issues – social coercion and shaming

And it went on and on from there.

I can understand Giovanni being annoyed and criticised after having so much praise. But I think he is so focussed on his campaign and encouraged by support that he hasn’t considered wider issues.

He has been using social media to try to coerce donations from companies, and has encouraged others to do the same. This has involved a mild form of shaming – ‘others are donating to address rape culture, why don’t you’ sort of thing’.

Yes, some companies have been happy to respond, that’s good. But that doesn’t justify any means to pressure others to do likewise.

Being ‘polite’ is good, but persistent public polite pressure can become harassment.

Inevitably ohers joined the shame/coercion.

If Damien Grant has not himself donated $10k to #RPE (a fair assumption), it follows logically that he does not care about rape survivors.

The “Pressure to donate” canard about former Radio Live advertisers is idiotic. They’re being offered a one-off chance tobuy good PR.

They are free to buy or not buy, or buy at a lower or higher price if they choose. Markets, bitches. This is how they work.

How horrible it must be to have to actually tell people that you are a good corporate citizen, or at least just not a bunch of evil shits?

Unless I’m mistaken, even if they refuse they are still hounded to donate

The horror! #releasethehounds

One person kept claiming that corporations weren’t people so it didn’t matter if they were pressured and harassed.

It was a shame to see a good cause escalate into an abusive slanging match, but that’s what can happen on social media. And as I said earlier, Twitter is terrible medium for debate.

I hope a night’s sleep and some reflection will have calmed things down.

And I hope Giovanni can see that John Drinnan and I (and others) didn’t mean to attack him, but wanted to point out how his actions might be seen if they went too far, as appeared to be happening.


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