MacGregor gives evidence

Rachel MacGregor started giving evidence in the Craig v Slater defamation trial yesterday. Some odf the details are already known but MacGregor emphasises how she felt about her relationship with Craig.

NZ Herald: Rachel MacGregor gives evidence in Colin Craig v Cameron Slater defamation trial

Colin Craig’s former press secretary Rachel MacGregor says despite the politician’s “dodgy poems”, shoulder massages and “sleep trick” she felt she was forced to stay in the job.

She said during her time at TVNZ she had put up with “inappropriate males”, but that Craig’s mention that the cut of her top was too low, followed by a letter, made her feel uneasy.

She said she outlaid her concerns and the pair talked of setting professional boundaries.

“As we know with Colin Craig he likes to do things in a weird way, a kind of quirky way.”

She thought the pair had a “good working relationship” after the boundaries were established, before Craig “had gone and broken them”.

She told the court she was curious to see what Craig had written but “was really offended” by the “really bad poems”.

“It was awful actually, especially because he was going into detail about me physically, it was really disgusting.”

Just days before her resignation, while on a flight from Napier to Auckland on September 14, 2014, Craig claims MacGregor said: “You know me better than anyone, Colin … I want to be more than just your press secretary”.

“I absolutely guarantee you that I never propositioned Mr Craig for me to be anything more than his press secretary … it is very convenient for Mr Craig’s story,” MacGregor said.

Henry asked MacGregor about an incident on election night in 2011, when Craig kissed MacGregor and touched her breast.

MacGregor said she stopped the incident and “lost faith” in Craig.

“I thought that he was trustworthy, but I lost a lot of trust in him,” MacGregor said.

“I still wanted to keep my job, the car that I [drove], Colin owned … I had to keep my job to stay afloat really.”

Craig will cross-examine MacGregor today.

In the meantime MacGregor has spoken out about how media has treated her at The Wireless in Rachel MacGregor has had enough of the media’s bullshit

Since it began last week, the Colin Craig trial – in which he and Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater are suing each other over defamatory statements each said the other published about them – has quickly replaced the Eminem v National fiasco as the nation’s favourite silly trial.

It is easy to see how the case has become the focus of such schadenfreude: the men are seen by many as repugnant, the poems are ridiculous and there is entertainment to be had.

It’s been three years since she left her job as press secretary to then-Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, alleging that in during her time working for him she had suffered ongoing sexual harassment. Craig denied the allegations.

Rachel MacGregor has not found it so funny.

It’s been three years since she left her job as press secretary to then-Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, alleging that in during her time working for him she had suffered ongoing sexual harassment. Craig denied the allegations.

Slater published documents and articles alleging the claims were correct and the pair have been fighting about it ever since.

During those three years, MacGregor’s efforts to put the incident in the past have been repeatedly thwarted, and as Craig’s many litigious issues play out in court and in public she has become a reluctant recurring figure in the media.

The Craig and Slater trial is yet another block in the road.

And MacGregor complains about how some of the media has covered her involvement, and specifically complained about a semi-satirical piece in NZ Herald (which has had an odd way of covering the current trial)..

Bound by a confidentiality agreement with Craig, MacGregor feels she’s “essentially been gagged”- leaving media outlets free, it seems, to editorialise her role in a case of creative licence not generally associated with the news media.

She tries to address her concerns without breaching the confidentiality agreement

Braunias in particular seems to have chosen to run with the narrative of a consensual relationship describing Craig’s “unholy lust” for MacGregor with whom he had been “formerly in a relationship that started with a kiss and never actually went any further”.

Huh? As Cameron Slater said of the relationship in court on Friday (and you know things are bad when you’re quoting Cameron Slater) “there was no evidence at all, and there still is no evidence that it was reciprocated in any way”. Since when were sexual harassment victims fair game for satire?

While MacGregor is unable to comment on her relationship with Craig, the tone of the satire has disturbed her.

“It’s absolutely misrepresenting me, and it’s making a joke out of an issue that’s actually very serious.”

And difficult for her to address.

From the outside it seems like a kind of purgatory – both central and peripheral to a highly public, and somehow neverending series of disputes, she has somehow found herself cast as a plot device, her humanity and agency long since forgotten in this war between dreadful men.

The men involved in this case and in Williams v Craig – Colin Craig, Cameron Slater and Jordan Williams – have been guilty of some dreadful behaviour. This has been revealed in their arguments over defamation, with MacGregor caught in the middle, gagged.

“Unfortunately, this story does involve me to quite a large degree,” she tells me. “Even though the court case itself is not about me, it unfortunately is about me, if that makes sense.”

Though her own case with Craig has been through the Human Rights Tribunal, neither party are permitted to discuss the particulars of the case due to a confidentiality agreement (a clause Craig was found to have breached by speaking about her in media interviews).

MacGregor has kept her end of the deal – something which has left her open to speculation and judgment.

One way or another, women who report their abusers rarely go unpunished. MacGregor’s ordeal is a startling reminder that, when given the chance, the old guard media are ready and willing to partake in that punishment.

It is telling that, in a society now entirely familiar with the concepts of rape culture and victim blaming, we are so keen to sidestep Craig’s alleged actions, while projecting an assumed narrative on such a complex and troubling situation.

One could argue that the target here is Craig’s inherent strangeness – those are some pretty wack poems after all. But by choosing to find him ridiculous we run the risk of normalising what may have been reprehensible actions while also re-victimising MacGregor. Without knowing the full detail of the Human Rights Tribunal case, we just don’t know.

“I guess my message is, please take what you read with a grain of salt and try to understand the context in which it’s been written,” she says.

“Until you have the facts, just withhold judgment and try to think about this a little bit more deeply than just having a laugh about it.”

Most of us will are unlikely to know all of the facts.

As far as I’m aware she hasn’t chosen to be involved in these public legal spectacles. In Williams v Craig she made it clear to Williams she didn’t want anything revealed or published.

I have posted this to give MacGregor more of an opportunity to air her views, albeit limited by the confidentiality agreement.

I won’t allow this to be used as an opportunity to promote agendas, or to make one-sided or unfounded claims or claims based on confidential information, or to attack or criticise MacGregor personally.

23 Comments

  1. Tipene

     /  May 23, 2017

    “Most of us are unlikely to know all of the facts”.

    Oh, do be patient – they are on their way.

  2. Loki

     /  May 23, 2017

    She told the worm Williams who blabbed to his mate the slug Slater.
    That is how it got to this point.

  3. Tipene

     /  May 23, 2017

    @ Loki: So the media have reported that Williams claimed a “sext” that never was, that Slater claimed a second victim that never was, and that John Stringer was found guilty of defaming Craig (by making claims against him that never were).

    The common trait? All of the above three people claim to have had the same source for their information, and all of them got it wrong.

    • Loki

       /  May 23, 2017

      Yup.
      Textbook Slater.

      • Tipene

         /  May 23, 2017

        @ Loki: Yes – but it is who handed him the material in order for the textbook to be composed that is the key consideration here.

        What’s that old adage? “Follow the money”.

        • “Follow the money”

          Craig is going to come up with something substantive on that? Or is it just a vague accusation?

          • Tipene

             /  May 23, 2017

            :”The money” is already a matter of public record as well – nothing vague in that.

            Is Craig going to come up with something substantive on that?

            If he doesn’t – others will – it’s already in play – you just need to know where (and when) to look.

            • That money has been involved in WO posts and specifically on campaigns in the past is claimed and on public record.

              I’m not aware of any specific claims in relation to Craig v Slater, and I haven’t seen that line of argument reported in the current case.

              “But he’s done it before’ is not substantive.

              Craig can’t rely on others bringing it up in this trial unless Slater does and that’s unlikely.

        • Mungo Jerry

           /  May 23, 2017

          When you follow the money all roads lead back to Craig.

          • MaureenW

             /  May 23, 2017

            No, I dont think so – who benefitted?

    • PDB

       /  May 23, 2017

      Tipene: “media have reported that Williams claimed a “sext” that never was, that Slater claimed a second victim that never was, and that John Stringer was found guilty of defaming Craig” “it is who handed him the material in order for the textbook to be composed that is the key consideration here.
      What’s that old adage? “Follow the money”.

      Considering we now know it was the lawyer that made Slater mistakenly think there was ‘another victim’ your conspiracy theory falls over at the first hurdle unless you think the lawyer was the source of the ‘material’ for the ‘textbook’. Magnum P.I. you are not……

      • No one made Slater mistakenly think anything. He claims to be a journalist, and even if that’s debatable he is responsible for what he writes and posts.

        • PDB

           /  May 23, 2017

          I agree with you – but regardless he made a wrong assumption.

          • She claims she made it clear she wasn’t representing another harassment claimant, Belt claims Slater wasn’t told.

            Regardless it was his responsibility to be accurate.

            • Loki

               /  May 23, 2017

              Belt will believe everything Slater tells him.
              He is not the first to be sucked in.
              And at this point he has to believe him.
              I doubt he wants to go back to selling vibrators online.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 23, 2017

    leaving media outlets free, it seems, to editorialise her role in a case of creative licence not generally associated with the news media.

    Hardly. Lefty journalists and commentators do that every day with politicians they don’t like – currently Trump, previously Roger Douglas for example.

  5. Bill Brown

     /  May 23, 2017

    When this is all said and done I believe the outcome will be costs where they lay

    It will have all been a big waste of time

    • Pete Kane

       /  May 23, 2017

      It’s kind a got that feeling Bill (including the ‘judicial vibes’). Although my far off hunch is it in Craig’s favour (my wish, butone imagines more appeals either way?).

      • Bill Brown

         /  May 23, 2017

        No doubt appeals galore !

        But as I say it’s in my view a moot issue – after today’s testimony of Macgregor Colin Craig is for sure a right dick head, but as I say it’s looking tit for tat and Toogood is good Judge

        As I say I’m seeing it as both go away with no winner – I’d go as far as saying Craig is really the loser as he just looks like a such a weirdo and given the double hammering he took at the HRC it says it all

  6. Tipene

     /  May 23, 2017

    @pdb: See Maureen.

    Maureen: Got it in one.

    Elephant, meet room.