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.

Anti-Jones petition worse than inflammatory column

Bob Jones wrote a racially inflammatory column for NBR, which was pased by at least one editor who added a subheading ‘Time for a Troll’.

There was an uproar on social media, and NBR likely received some scathing criticism directly. So the column was taken down from the NBR sitre and they decided to dispense with any Jones’ writings, as they have a right to choose to do.

See ‘Māori Appreciation Day’ not appreciated.

But it hasn’t ended there. Someone has started a petition demanding that Jones be stripped of his knighthood.

Change.org:  Strip racist “Sir” Bob Jones of his Knighthood – Read his vile rant here.

Renae Maihi started this petition to Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern

On Waitangi Day 2018 the NBR published a vile racist rant by “Sir” Bob Jones on their website. You can read it for yourself below. This pitiful & severely uneducated attack is not to be tolerated in New Zealand, Aotearoa: a country founded on a partnership between 2 peoples. We are better than that. I know we are.

Bob Jones no longer deserves to carry the title of “Sir.” He does not represent us. Our children do not need to read or hear such things. Times up Dinosaur. You are the minority.

In signing this petition we urge you, our Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern to take his Knighthood away from him. It is in your power. Set a precedent for the country & a message that this will not be tolerated & hate speech of this type is not welcome here.  Kia kaha tātou.

Jones’ ‘rant’ was then quoted in full.

What Maihi has done, along those indignant protesters on social media who revived and circulated his column after NBR took it down, is give it a far bigger audience than it would have had with just the NBR paying audience. It went from a limited paywalled audience to anyone who wanted to be offended. It made the six o’clock news via the petition.

Petitions are simple to set up online, you only need to type and click (unless you’re Labour or the Greens or National who set up petitions as a means of harvesting contact information). As a result there are a multitude of pointless petitions. Despite change.org offering the opportunity to run a petition I doubt many of any change much if anything.

The petition comments were people having their say.Like:

Horrible man inciting racism.

Fair enough. But some were at least as bad as what Jones wrote.

Free speech does not give you the right to spew hate. Strip this awful man of whatever honours this country bestowed on him in error. Hes scum!

People like this do not deserve to live in this country…. or at all #OnlyAmericaIsRacist

I don’t feel any affinity for the title, but I’m sure it would piss BJ off immensely to be stripped of it, so let’s make it happen.

bob is an egg. Who is he anyway..??.does he pay his fair share of tax… he is a bigot and probably going senile, at least his pic makes him look 100+. I might start a petition to legalise involuntary euthenasia to deal with these demented types…who are a threat to society….put them out their misery…clearly i jest. He likely has some Maori rellies…they should rally together and go rough him up a bit…just enough to give him a stroke and then he can live out the rest of his amazing life as a cucumber…for now he should remove the one thats deeply wedged up his arse and thank his lucky stars that his ancestors were blessed enough to avoid the buffet …back in the day when much of Polynesia had a penchant for pickled pakeha and missionary mornay…tastes like chicken I hear.

This is an absolute disgrace & should not be tolerated!

There is growing intolerance of people saying controversial things.

This petition is worse than futile – it is another example of an insidious trend, to punish people who say things that others don’t like.

Jones was free to write something inflammatory and stupid. NBR was free to publish it, as they were free to unpublish the online version. And anyone that didn’t like it was free to criticise it and heap scorn on Jones.

But trying to punish Jones by stripping him of his knighthood is worse than writing something stupid, much worse. It is anti-free speech, and deserves scorn and condemnation.

If course Maihi was free to express herself via the petition. I disagree with her aim, strongly, even though I can’t understand why Jones got a knighthood in the first place, that deserves scorn as well. Knighthoods seem to be a dime a dozen for rich people.

This is disgusting. Someone who promotes such abhorrent discrimination should never hold a title that warrants such respect and prestige.

I disagree in part, I don’t think titles hold much respect or prestige.

I might start a petition to call for a ban on stupid petitions. Especially insidious anti-free speech petitions.

He is not a knight or role model for our tamariki, mokopuna from Aotearoa. Go back to where ever you came from.

As far as I know Jones comes from New Zealand, just like Bridget. At least he doesn’t (as far as I know) tell people to piss off out of the country if he disagrees with them.

Nikki is unwittingly contradictory:

I really hope my daughter didn’t read this. I hope this is not the reason she decided to stay home all day on Waitangi Day. All children deserve to live in a world without prejudice, a world where all people feel accepted, where rave, gender, gender identity, sexuality, and any other reason that makes up a human bi, is not used to exclude. We should be practising inclusiveness. Sir belongs to someone who is honourable and honours our country. It doesn’t belong to him.

Inclusiveness surely means accepting that some people should be able to say things you don’t like.

I suspect there is a typo – “a world where all people feel accepted, where rave…is not used to exclude”.

Who has raved and tried to exclude the most – Jones or the petitioners?

‘Māori Appreciation Day’ not appreciated

While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was doing her best to engage with and improve relationships with Māori at Waitangi, Bob Jones seems to have tried his worst to stir up racial abuse and division in an article published at NBR but since taken down from their online publication.

I think that what Jones wrote was clearly in appalling bad taste. I have mixed feelings about ‘free speech’ connotations. Sometimes it may be best to allow a divisive fool to be seen for a fool, but NBR had a right to act in the face of scathing criticism however it chose.

The Spinoff: Bob Jones and NBR divorce over ‘Māori Appreciation Day’ column

Bob Jones will be filing no more for the National Business Review after the deletion of his most recent contribution, which included a call for an annual “Māori Appreciation Day” and sparked online disgust, was pulled from the paper’s website.

The inciting passage in the property magnate and polemicist’s “Bits and Bobs” column, which carried the subheading “Time for a troll”, argued, “as there are no full-blooded Māoris in existence it indisputably follows that had it not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single Māori alive today … would have existed”. Ergo, he continued, “it’s long overdue for some appreciation. I have in mind a public holiday where Māori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing.”

Not surprisingly there was a strong response on social media. After comments like that Jones was a fair target.

And also not surprisngly Jones is unrepentant.

NBR’s removal of the column from its site was “right up there with Trudeau re wetness”, Jones told the Spinoff in an email.

“What I wrote is factually indisputable, namely that no Māori alive today would exist had it not been for (mainly) European migrations, given, we’re told, there are no 100% pure Māori any more.”

“As a result I shan’t bother writing any more for NBRwhich I only did at the owner’s request to help them out. I’ve certainly got better things to do with my time.”

It wouldn’t be difficult doing better things than that, even for Jones.

A senior source at the NBR told the Spinoff the controversial passage was “part of a wider column which was clearly satire”, but it caused “misgivings” among staff. The source said that had it been “one piece, just on that topic” the NBR would not have run it. Editors had, however,  “listened to feedback and responded”, and now regarded its publication as an “error of judgement”.

Just as free speech enables people to say what they like in public, as long as they can get it by lax editors, NBR has a right to admit “error of judgement” and take down the column, albeit after considerable damage was done to it’s reputation.

In what appears to be a different version of events to Jones’ statement that “I shan’t bother writing any more for NBR”, the source at the publication said the decision to terminate the column was made at its end, and communicated with Jones in a telephone conversation.

A separate NBR source told the Spinoff that “Approximately 100% of NBR editorial staff” would approve of the column’s discontinuation.

Closing the stable door after an embarrassing has bolted.

The NBR stable is generally well respected as an independent niche publication, and seems to manage well on a subscription model. It may well be that some of it’s subscriptions were at threat over the Jones column.

NBR’s reputation has certainly taken a hit.

Beggar’s belief

Bob Jones has created controversy again, this time with comments criticising beggars on Newstalk ZB.

NZ Herald has more details: Sir Bob Jones labels homeless people a ‘disgrace to society’

“They’re a bloody disgrace, they’re an eyesore, it’s a disgrace in a modern society that fat people – that fat Maoris as they mostly are – are lying on our streets of our city begging.” he told Chris Lynch  on NewstalkZB.

He said begging should be made illegal.

“I was in the city yesterday, in Wellington, and one bugger was standing there, he had a message, this Maori bloke, ‘I’m not on welfare’ – and this apparently was an achievement – ‘so give me money.”

“It baffles me when people say, ‘Oh leave them alone’.  They should be ashamed of people begging on the streets… I’m ashamed of these people. They’re a disgrace to the human race.”

“If they want to degrade themselves, let them do it in private. We shouldn’t be subject to that.”

He said New Zealand has a welfare system and there’s a shortage in the country’s workforce so there’s no need for people to beg.

“We’re having to import labour for manual work ’cause that’s all these people could do, they’re obviously not lawyers and things, and doctors.”

Not surprisingly there has been quite a reaction to that, especially “it’s a disgrace in a modern society that fat people – that fat Maoris as they mostly are – are lying on our streets of our city begging.”

Coincidentally today, from Stuff: West Auckland beggar says his gig is up:

West Auckland beggar Conrad has learnt his first lesson in personal finance – never share your income.

Stuff published a story on Conrad on January 16 where he claimed he was making up to $150 a day from begging at Henderson’s Lincoln North Plaza. He also said that he was not homeless, and used the money for drugs.

westaucklandbeggar

He says the publicity has cost him dearly and says now “no-one is being nice to me”.

That’s not surprising.

Conrad claimed there was a begging “syndicate” operating in the area. A retailer also says a syndicate operates in the area and there is “a leader of the ring”.

I can guess that some of his fellow beggars are not very happy.

Henderson Community Constable Martyn Spear says the man has been issued with a trespass notice from Lincoln North Plaza for begging.

The community constable says drugs and alcohol addiction are the reason behind begging “without exception”.

All the beggars he has dealt with at the plaza are not homeless, have social support and are on the benefit, he says.

Spear recommends not giving money to beggars.

The poor people problem is not an easy one to fix.

Neither is Bob Jones’ propensity to say things as he sees them.

 

Bob Jones scorns funding of fight

Bob Jones, a long time boxing fan and in the past a mentor of Joseph Parker, is scornful of attempts to secure Government funding for one planned bout.

Newshub: Backlash over Duco efforts to get Govt money for Parker clash

Duco wants funding from what’s called the “Major Events Fund”.

“Oh crap it ‘put us on the map’,” says Sir Bob. “Let me tell you, this year there’s been numerous world heavyweight title fights. Is Chechnya on the map because they conducted one?”

“The Government should have nothing to do with this whatsoever. It’s nonsense. It’s a fraud.”

In any case there may be no funds available, as the Major Events Fund is committed for the next two years.

And it’s highly questionable whether one boxing bout could be termed a major event.

If the Government manipulates funding to give Duco a handout it would be controversial, in part because Parker is related to Judith Collins.

Jones is not just scornful about this attempt to get a handout, a few months ago he heaped scorn on modern boxing.

NZ Herald: Bob Jones: Boxing world a disgraceful circus

The meaning of the word “champion” is hardly debatable, thus there can only be one. Yet at any given time today there’s as many as six supposed world champion claimants in each weight division. Here’s the background as to how this absurdity arose.

World championship boxing in the eight original weight divisions from flyweight to heavyweight, became firmly established in the early 1880s. Despite no world governing body, there was never any dispute as to who the champion was, he being the boxer who won the title by defeating the existing champion.In 1922, New York journalist and boxing historian Nat Fleischer launched Ringmagazine.

Fleischer invented ratings, a practice which extended first to other sports and subsequently spread to every conceivable activity. Ring magazine became boxing’s bible, its integrity and ratings unquestioned, and remained that way for a further decade after Fleischer’s death in 1972, despite the advent of numerous rival periodicals.

In the 1960s, it was accepted the eight weight divisions had too wide a range spanning lightweight, welterweight and middleweight and two new divisions, light-welterweight and light-middleweight were introduced.

Championship fights were always huge global events in each division and their title-holders were frequently household names. Compare that with today’s scene with nearly 100 boxers claiming to be the world champion in the now absurd 17, largely contrived, weight divisions.

This ludicrous situation arose through satellite television which turned boxing into an incredibly lucrative sport for boxers and television channels.

In response, in the 1980s opportunists formed purported world governing bodies, referred to cynically as the alphabet soup by aficionados.

The World Boxing Council (WBC), the World Boxing Association (WBA), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and many others sprouted up. By 1990 a dozen such organisations existed who claimed to be the world governing organisation for boxing.

Essentially, they were motivated by profit, charging promoters “sanctioning fees” to “recognise” their contests as either championship fights or, as with the Parker-Carlos Takam bout, mandatory challenge bouts. The financial benefits were further enhanced by insisting that their members be given judging and refereeing roles and their travel and hotel costs be met and they paid fees.

All of this was at the urging of television channels who wanted audience-pulling championship fights. To compound their earnings through more championship bouts they created an absurd seven further weight divisions, some with only a few pounds differential. Their greed did not stop there.

Next, they created dozens of different imaginary championships such as Pan Atlantic, Asian-Pacific and such-like nonsense. Thus once coveted world championship boxing events became meaningless with every contest, no matter how insignificant, being labelled as some sort of championship bout with a cheap ornate victor’s belt being brandished for the winner.

All of these outfits issued ratings for each division, often bearing little relationship to each other. It was no secret that one could buy oneself a ranking. How else do you think Joseph first cracked it?

After Lennox Lewis retired in 2003, Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko was universally accepted as the heavyweight champion.

Over the subsequent decade he successfully defended the title against allcomers, retiring in 2012 to run for the Ukrainian presidency albeit, to avoid vote-splitting with the other major pro-West liberal candidate, eventually withdrawing and instead becoming mayor of Kiev.

Following his retirement his young brother, Wladimir (known as Dr Steelhammer – he has a PhD, as has his brother), was widely and rightly accepted as the world champion as he also had also beaten all major contenders.

Last year, Vladimir, now 40, lost the title in a shock upset to England’s unbeaten Tyson Fury.

Then on flimflam grounds the IBF declared the title vacant and nominated two relative novices to fight for the vacant championship. The winner, American Charles Martin (by an injured knee, which says it all) was then lured to Britain to defend his bogus championship against Anthony Joshua.

Joshua, the London Olympics gold medallist, is a much-loved British sporting figure who is undefeated, although like Joseph, mostly against poor opposition. But the fans happily bought into it and filled the 02 Arena to watch him easily dispose of the hapless Martin in just over a round. In doing so they deserted their own true world champion, Tyson Fury, never popular for being from the despised traveller group.

Joseph Parker is highly talented. I discerned that in his amateur days and put him on the payroll, thus enabling him to fight all over the world before eventually turning pro. But he and his team should be patient. He is not a huge puncher and constantly fails to use his best weapon, namely his jab. His No1 IBF ranking is farcical.

He would at best rate 15th in the world. At 24 he has time on his side and should be taking learning fights against better quality opponents and not the Solomon Haumonas of this world.

At the moment, he could not foot it with the real top level heavyweights and should steer clear of them for a couple of years, when he doubtless will be able to. Sadly, it appears this won’t happen.

I don’t follow boxing but one thing has seemed quite odd about the title conjecture surrounding Parker – there is usually an absence of American fighters mentioned. They used to dominate world boxing championships. Perhaps they still do – different ‘championships’ to those that Parker is being positioned for.

It seems farcical that the Cabinet would even consider a Parker fight as a ‘Major Event’.

Investment criteria

Event organisers seeking investment will be required to show evidence that the event will significantly and measurably impact on the following areas in the immediate and long-term:

  • Tourism revenue e.g. will attract international visitors and expenditure to New Zealand.
  • New Zealand brand promotion e.g. opportunity to showcase New Zealand through international media.
  • Business and trade opportunities e.g. investment and export opportunities created.
  • Increased participation in sports, arts or culture e.g. growth in participation and high achievement in event field.
  • Increased employment opportunities e.g. short and long-term employment created by the event.
  • National identity and pride e.g. opportunities to celebrate New Zealand culture and heritage and include local communities in event delivery.
  • Event sector capability e.g. building additional event governance, management and delivery skills.

An event is unlikely to receive support if it:

  • Requires an investment in offshore international rights fees, which is disproportionate to the economic returns to New Zealand from hosting the event;
  • Generates benefits primarily to the region in which it is hosted i.e. does not generate national benefits;
  • Does not allow for sufficient time (ideally two years from the application date) for the event to develop and deliver a significant leverage and legacy plan and/or enable the government to leverage the event for wider government objectives

http://www.majorevents.govt.nz/investment-process/investment-criteria

Two months would appear to be far from insufficient time.

Beehive insiders are saying there are concerns about the perception of putting up taxpayer money for a fight Duco would make money off and Sky would charge for.

They should have concerns about more than that.

NZ’s Trump, Bob Jones?

Does Bob Jones deserve the title of New Zealand’s Donald Trump?

Or is Donald Trump the United States’ Bob Jones.

But Jones says that Trump is spectacularly ignorant.

I haven’t seen Ben Uffindel or The Civilian for quite a while. He has NZ on Air funding and a website called Watch Me.

He compares Trump and Jones, and asks Jones about it.

Season 1: Episode 7 NZ’s Donald Trump? PG

The Civilian tracks down Sir Bob Jones and accuses him of being New Zealand’s Donald Trump. Bob responds with a critique of our reporter’s questions, intelligence and fashion sense. It would be safe to say Sir Bob Jones does not see himself as New Zealand’s Donald Trump. He does however see Gareth Morgan as a ‘goose’.

“You should get Gareth on, he’d talk about himself for ever”.

Jones versus Gareth the Redeemer

Bob Jones has taken a swipe at Gareth Morgan in a letter to Wellington’s mayor. He seems to have also circulated the letter with sketches amongst media.

The Dominion Post reports Sir Bob Jones mocks Gareth Morgan in 5000m statue proposal.

And NZ Herald: Sir Bob’s idol threat: Gareth the Redeemer

Sir Bob has written a tongue-in-cheek letter to Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown, saying he is willing to use land currently occupied by Solnet House, a building he owns in central Wellington, for the statue.

“We seek an exemption to that restraint so as to demolish the building and erect in its place, a 5000-metre high statue of the great Gareth Morgan, in celebration of his overwhelming wonderfulness.”

“The enclosed sketch illustrates the splendid visual impact on the city which doubtless will enthral all councillors, as it will every Wellingtonian.”

 

Sir Bob… also planned to construct a temple accommodating up to 8000 “Morganist pilgrims at a time, providing for continuous thanks-giving services to the Almighty for blessing our city with the Second Coming in the form of Mr Morgan”.

Jones also sent in sketches of how the statue and temple might look.

He went on to write that the self-made millionaire was humble and an “extraordinary genius” who deserved “nothing less”.

Sir Bob said he even received a letter from North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, who offered to cover costs of building the statue.

The “desirable project” would be a “phenomenal economic boom” for the capital

Morgan responded to the Herald:

“Thanks Sir B for your ongoing adulation, ask the rest home to decrease the sugar in your diet.”

Morgan does quite a bit of good with all his money, but he leaves himself open to being had on.

Bob Jones moans

Bob Jones has published his side of the story about getting taken off a flight in Sir Bob Jones – Putting the Record Straight.

Once again, I took my seat, donned my earphones and settled into my book, of which more shortly. There was a tap on my shoulder. I looked up to see a young hostess frowning at me and, assuming it was the usual seat forward silliness, pushed the side button and returned to reading. She tapped again.  I took off the headphones.

“You’re in the emergency seat.”

“Yes.”

“Do you know you’re in the emergency seat?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to change seats?”

“Not particularly.”

She then disappeared and I resumed reading.  Then came another tap. This time a grim-faced woman of about 60 was glaring at me.  We went through the same rigmarole only she then commanded me, the first such occasion in countless times in that seat, and I’ll wager, the first such time ever, to turn to the wall and read the instructions.  I did so, and turned back and, with another glare, she started to walk away. “Childish,” I remarked to the chap beside me.  She heard me, spun around and snapped, “I’ll get the captain.” “OK,” I said and resumed reading. Twenty minutes later a couple of security guards appeared so I left with them.

No moaning so far but he went on the complain about people who didn’t think he should be granted special privileges on public flights.

He wanted a privileged seat but didn’t think he should do what is expected of those who sit in them.

Flight rules seem a pain to many people but if following the rules on flights was optional then flying would be a  mess.

Just imagine what a media storm there would be if an MP decided to ignore the rules and the rule enforces.

That afternoon in the Wellington office the manager came in. He’d just had an email from our managing director, then in New York. “That puts paid to it,” he wrote. “We’ll definitely buy a private jet.” This something is we’ve been considering. And so we shall. I’ve had enough of Air New Zealand’s infantilism.

Good move. I wonder if he tells his private pilot to ignore the control tower when it’s not convenient.