Anti-free speech litigation versus anti-free speech petition

Last week Bob Jones included some inflammatory comments in an NBR article. As a result of reaction NBR pulled the column and said they would no longer publish columns from Jones.

In reaction Renae Maihi started a petition asking that the Prime Minister strip Jones of his knighthood, calling the column ‘a vile racist rant’.

Stuff: Tens of thousands sign petition to strip Sir Bob Jones of his knighthood

Acclaimed film-maker Renae Maihi started the change.org petition on Thursday morning. “There is public support for this, somebody can’t get away with hate speech like that and not be held to account,” she said.

Maihi is upset by what Jones wrote in his regular National Business Review column last week, under the title ‘Time for a Troll’. He said a new public holiday should be introduced called Māori Gratitude Day instead of Waitangi Day.

“I have in mind a public holiday where Maoris bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash & polish our cars & so on, out of gratitude for existing.” Jones also commented on children, blood quantum and suicide.

“I think he went beyond trolling, it’s hate speech,” Maihi said.

Maihi admits it’s unlikely Jones will lose his knighthood but will continue to collect signatures and approach the Prime Minister formally at a later date.

“He’s been honoured amongst a group of people that are meant to inspire and I just don’t think he’s very inspirational at all with those extreme racist comments. I just don’t think he deserves to be called a Sir anymore.”

Obviously Maihi had a right to criticise Jones, but I criticised her attempt to punish Jones for exercising his right to free speech. See Anti-Jones petition worse than inflammatory column.

Now Jones is threatening to punish Maihi for what she said about him through the courts.

Newshub: Sir Bob Jones threatens legal action against anti-racist petition

Sir Bob Jones has threatened legal action against filmmaker Renae Maihi, after she started a petition to have him stripped of his knighthood.

Sir Bob told RadioLIVE’s Ryan Bridge that his column was clearly satirical and he would sue Ms Maihi for defamation.

“For God’s sake, if anyone can take that literally, they’ve got serious problems,” he said. “It’s basically a mickey-take on issues of the day.

“I will be issuing proceedings against this woman for defamation, because I take particular exception when she uses the word ‘hate’. I don’t hate anyone.”

That seems like a heavy handed anti-free speech act that only someone with a lot of money could afford to do.

An over the top reaction to an over the top petition in reaction to over the top comments in a column.

Maihi remains staunch – for now: Film-maker stands her ground over petition against Sir Bob Jones

The woman behind a petition to strip Sir Bob Jones of his knighthood is standing her ground, despite the threat of being sued by the property magnate.

In a statement, Maihi told Fairfax she would not be taking down the petition, which had received more than 49,700 signatures by 5.40pm today.

“People like Bob Jones need to understand that the privilege they have in society also comes with a responsibility, and at a bare minimum that includes not writing flagrant hate speech in the media,” the statement reads.

Just yesterday she wrote on her Facebook page that she welcomed further support.

“Support welcome, I’ll need it – clearly he’s one of the wealthiest men in this country and I am not,” the post reads.

“I will always stand up for the mana of our children.”

A later update on the Facebook page showed she had been offered assistance from lawyers.

Sir Bob told One News earlier this week that the column was a “p*sstake” and that he took exception to it being called hate speech.

“I won’t sue her for a lot because that would seem like I’m bullying her,” he said.

Both he and Maihi are taking excessive action in response to the speech of others.

Perhaps Jones’ threat is just another piss-take.

73 Comments

  1. alloytoo

     /  February 13, 2018

    “Perhaps Jones’ threat is just another piss-take.”

    or perhaps Jones is willing to put his money where his mouth is regarding free speech.

    Free speech is our most powerful defence against Tyranny, both from tyrants and the mob, and in this instance Maihi is trying to incite the mob.

    • Blazer

       /  February 13, 2018

      or perhaps Jones is a vile racist,but a rich vile racist,who resorts to the attack only the….rich can…entertain.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 13, 2018

        I hope he creams her. Nasty little witch.

        • Blazer

           /  February 13, 2018

          of course you do.You are the shattered scientist , with decades of existence but have never developed an understanding of humanity or….yourself.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 13, 2018

            Hmmm. Ignore the topic and just make a vile personal attack on a commenter? Do you you feel better for it?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              No, he’ll be feeling worse. Sad case.

            • Blazer

               /  February 13, 2018

              absolutely….’I hope he creams her. Nasty little witch.’…Al,day in…day out…bubbling cauldron of ..discontent.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 13, 2018

              “discontent” …. Having a Joe Bloggs ‘generosity’ day Blazer?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              “bubbling cauldron of discontent” would be a good description of the petition mob, and possibly yourself, B.

              I am much more selective in my disapproval.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 13, 2018

              @Alan – “I hope he creams her. Nasty little witch.”

              Discontent? Disapproval?

              Or have you just joined the hate club Alan?

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  February 13, 2018

              @HFD – meanwhile Alan Wilkinson makes a vile personal attack on Maihi which you totally ignore. Do you feel better for ignoring him?

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 13, 2018

              HFD couldn’t see Alan out on the wing of their same-old team …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              @Joe, it wasn’t a vile personal attack. I said she was stupid and vindictive which she is. And in trying to incite a mob attack on Jones she is being a witch. I stand by that assessment. Doesn’t mean I hate her but I object to the way she is behaving and being supported.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  February 13, 2018

              Yup Parti, blinkers can have that effect…

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 13, 2018

              Alan at least was on topic.Just as Blazer was in his preceding comment about BJ which I also didn’t call out.
              No blinkers required.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  February 13, 2018

              @Alan, I’m not a misogynist I just grabbed her by the pussy

              Of course it was a vile personal attack. You wrote: “I hope he creams her. Nasty little witch.”

              It doesn’t get much viler or more personal than that… apart from where you followed up by calling Maihi “stupid and vindictive” and “impenatrably (sic) thick”.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              No need to confess about your pussy grabbing here, Joe.

              I apologise for the typo but I couldn’t correct it as you know. The rest stands as an objective assessment of the lady and her behaviour.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  February 13, 2018

              Here’s something else to consider @Alan

              Using the word Witch trades on stereotypes that are embedded in the long patriarchal history of labelling women who pose any perceived threat to men’s power as unhinged or evil. Cultures that socially disempower women are more likely to fear them as “evil” and accuse them “of employing witchcraft” or being “witches”.

              When you in particular use the term you leave no doubt that you intend it as a personal insult that disempowers and marginalise women.

              So don’t back pedal to me with your ‘but but but I didn’t mean that…’

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 13, 2018

              Joe – that’s definitely one of the better examples of building a straw man definition of witch and using it to project your personal opinion. Touche.
              I always thought witches were supposed to be powerful and to be feared?
              And there are many examples of witches being both good and evil.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              @Joe, when I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean. But you can choose any of these that suit you:

              https://www.thefreedictionary.com/witchery

      • alloytoo

         /  February 13, 2018

        Perhaps Maihi is a vile racist resorting to digital incitement of a mob.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  February 13, 2018

          Probably more just very thin skinned.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 13, 2018

            But stupid and vindictive with it.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 13, 2018

              Maihi is resorting to free speech just like Jones did, only through a different avenue …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              No, Jones used satire to attack a bad idea. Maihi used invective to attack a person.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 13, 2018

              One man’s satire is another woman’s hate speech …

              But of course all Maori who don’t have Knighthoods are far less important than one old Pakeha git who does …

              Also, please elaborate on exactly what the “bad idea” was?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              The bad idea is the religious conviction and sacred cow that one’s genes and ancestors entitle you to special status.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 13, 2018

              Funny, I didn’t get that from his NBR ‘piece’ …

              What I got was him spouting Kiwi FrontLine-style Maori-denigrating platitudes so gossamer thinly disguised as ‘satire’ that it wasn’t at all satirical …

              One actually CAN argue, quite cogently and legitimately, that because my Pakeha Mum married my Pakeha Dad our lives were imbued with ‘race-based institutionalized privilege’ precisely because of our ancestors and our genes …

              The KFL, Hobson’s Pledge-type Right Brigade are devastatedly fearful of losing their iniquitous privilege in any kind of righteous adjustment of the racism that created and sustains it …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              Of course you’ve shown you can argue absolutely anything even when it is patent nonsense, PZ. Jones was poking the borax at the national holy day of Waitangi, not at any race or individual. Unlike his detractors including you.

    • Gezza

       /  February 13, 2018

      Bob was too slow in getting out his apology. “I’m sorry I meant it to be be satire but because it sounds like the sort of thing I’ve been saying for decades thousands of people thought I meant it. My apologies to anyone I offended.”

      Should be an interesting case.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 13, 2018

        Jones has been very critical about aspects of the treaty in the past. Has he been derogatory about Maori as a race? Even the NBR column doesn’t fit the definition of racism.

        • Gezza

           /  February 13, 2018

          I say let’s see what the Court says.

          • PartisanZ

             /  February 13, 2018

            Jones is a Kiwi FrontLine, Hobson’s Pledge race-hater, pure and simple …

            Dress it up as satire all you like, the white, conical hood still shows through …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              You missed out a word: “race-distinction-hater”.

              The likes of Mugabe and Zuma show you where your kind of politics leads.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 13, 2018

              If it was satire, it was very heavy-handed and not very amusing. It was just rather silly and not what one expects from Bob Jones.

              I thought that it was clumsy and not particularly witty, but it wasn’t hate speech and anyone who thinks that it was has never read any real hate speech.

              It wasn’t inciting violence against anyone. It wasn’t making scurrilous remarks about anyone. It was not hate speech, and the silly girl who’s making all the fuss has simply given it a much longer life than it would or should have had. By now it would probably have been forgotten had she not given it free publicity.

  2. PartisanZ

     /  February 13, 2018

    @Alloytoo – “Free speech is our most powerful defence against Tyranny, both from tyrants and the mob, and in this instance Maihi is trying to incite the mob.”

    And in this instance Bob Jones is being the voice of tyranny …

    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 13, 2018

      It seems Maihi is trying to stifle free speech. Instead of arguing the ideas, she is trying to silence and punish the person.
      However it seems tenuous as defamation to me, so I can’t see the merit in what Jones is doing either.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 13, 2018

        The merit is the slander of mischaracterising satire as hate speech.

        • Gezza

           /  February 13, 2018

          Which is the bit that is satire?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 13, 2018

            Like her, you will obviously need to wait for the court case.

          • PartisanZ

             /  February 13, 2018

            That’s twice you’ve asked that question Gezza … and not received an answer to it …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              Gezza well knows the answer already, PZ. And it is answered above in my reply to you as well as multiple times a few days ago. But if it goes to court it will be well canvassed along with what proportion of the population are too stupid to distinguish satire from face value.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 13, 2018

          I imagine her defence will be to claim she is just impenatrably thick and not malicious. Could be successful.

          • Gezza

             /  February 13, 2018

            I very much doubt that will be her defence.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              Then she will probably lose.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 13, 2018

              She’s probably too stupid to think of that defence? Is that what you’re saying? Disgraceful.

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              No i don’t think she’s stupid. Obviously Bob was. He went too far.

            • Blazer

               /  February 13, 2018

              loony,stupid,idiot…the extent of Als vituperative invective aimed at anyone who does not see eye to eye with his jaundiced view of the world.’ Is that what you’re saying? Disgraceful.’

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 13, 2018

              I’m sure you realise I was being tongue in cheek Gezza.
              It’s like two children fighting it seems to me.
              The petition is pointless and churlish and the threat of a lawsuit pretty much on a par.

          • Gezza

             /  February 13, 2018

            If she hasn’t already done so I reckon she should offer to withdraw her petition if Sir Bob publishes an apology.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              Jones already apologised to idiots.

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              Clearly, if you think he’s apologised.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              Can’t find the interview now but he commented on how many idiots there are in the world. I rarely watch the news but my wife had it on. All the news reports seem to have sanitised that out too.

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              Well, if you think that’s an apology, he’s right, isn’t he?

              I’m sorry that you’re an idiot. Is that an ok apology for you?

            • Blazer

               /  February 13, 2018

              that was hard work Gezza,not sure whether Al even ‘gets it’…yet.

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              I’m making my sentences as short as possible Blazer.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 13, 2018

              I like to make Gezza work hard, B. There’s no point in helping him to be an idiot.

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              You last sentence. It’s working.Your leading by example certainly isn’t generating any desire in me to be an idiot too. Al.

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              I win gain, btw. 👍🏼

            • Gezza

               /  February 13, 2018

              Whoops, I win again, I meant. I gain a win. 😀

  3. High Flying Duck

     /  February 13, 2018

    And in another note of absurdity, Bob is now a contributor on WO – on the Incite subscription.

  4. High Flying Duck

     /  February 13, 2018

    Interesting take on the BJ column by Dave Armstrong.

    Concedes the Satire element, but takes the Parti line that it is based on his actual worldview.

    “No, I don’t think Bob is seriously suggesting this day be enacted so, again, we can call this satire – lame and hateful satire with an awful patronising subtext of ‘we Europeans have been so good for you ungrateful Mowrees’ – but satire nonetheless.

    But far more horrifying for me, apart from Bob’s crimes against punctuation and macrons, is the knight’s talk of ‘us’. Who is ‘us’ and ‘our’? Does he mean his rich mates, who actually do get their cars polished by others? Pākehā? New Zealanders? The wealthy and predominantly white readership of the NBR? Jeez, I’m really laughing my pants off here (Sorry, Bob, I’m being ironic again). ”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101386344/sir-bob-jones-says-his-mori-gratitude-day-column-was-satire-so-what-was-he-satirising

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 13, 2018

      A not very smart Labour hack. The clue to what Jones was satirising is in this first line:

      We should introduce a new public holiday, Maori Gratitude Day, in place of the much disdained Waitangi Day

      But I expect such insightful analysis is too much to ask of a Lefty.

      • Blazer

         /  February 13, 2018

        imagineif everyone was more like you ..Al!

      • Gezza

         /  February 13, 2018

        Drivel.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 13, 2018

        Try this one then Al…Liam Hehir also confirms it is obviously satire.

        However, that doesn’t excuse what it was saying.

        View story at Medium.com

        “So what was Sir Robert trying to say?

        My reading is that we are to take it that Māori should keep a lid on their grievances because of intermarriage. If the rest of us didn’t exist, chances are they wouldn’t exist. So those who identify as Māori don’t really have any claim on the rest of us.

        Which seems like a flimsy argument to me.

        Let’s say somebody burns down your house. Because you have nowhere else to stay, you shift in with them for a while. When you mention that you’re still angry with them, how would you feel about them protesting that, if it weren’t for their generosity, you’d be sleeping outside right now?”

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 13, 2018

          How about that all happened seven generations ago. Would you be asking random other people for a new house and to be treated as a separate authority regarding all new houses?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 13, 2018

            I agree that it was lame and not worth all this hoohah.

            Miss Maihi is being pwecious and wasting energy on something that’s not worth it.