Shanna Reeder: Key is a sexual harasser who “should resign immediately”

Shanna Reeder, a Hotel organiser from the Unite Union, has implied that John Key could be a serial sexual harasser and has said “in my view this behaviour is abhorrent and he should resign immediately”.

Five days later it was announced that Reeder would advise and represent Amanda Bailey, the ponytail waitress.

As posted earlier today here is Reeder in a Radio New Zedaland interview:

The Unite Union has announced it will represent Amanda Bailey and support whatever action she decides to take. Union organiser Shanna Reeder is with us.

What does Amanda Bailey want to do?

Reeder : Ah well that’s a really good question. Um everybody’s been asking that question today. Um unfortunately we’re unable to give you a clear answer on that because we haven’t decided at this stage.

You haven’t decided or she hasn’t?

Reeder : Um well obviously we’re advising Amanda on what the best course of action will be, and Amanda hasn’t decided at this stage.

What are you advising her to do?

Reeder : Um well there’s actually I means there’s there’s a whole bunch of different um options that she could take. A lot of experts have been out in the media um recommending you know what she could do at this point, um so basically we’re just trying to help her through all of those options, um and help her find…

As it turns out Reeder was one of those ‘experts’ out in the media making recommendations.

Are you pushing for a particular result yourself here?

Reeder : No no it’s completely up to Amanda.

That was Wednesday 29 April. She sounds a bit like a neutral spokesperson and an unbiased adviser.

But before she took up this role she posted about the Bailey/John Key issue at The Daily Blog (April 24). This doesn’t sound much like an employment/union organiser point of view.

GUEST BLOG: Shanna Reeder – The repercussions of having a PM who is a sexual harasser

Today our Prime Minister John Key admitted to repeatedly sexually harassing a waitress in a cafe he frequents.

She told her story anonymously via The Daily Blog

Clearly this presents many questions which may or may not be answered in the coming days. In my view this behaviour is abhorrent and he should resign immediately.

We also know that men with wealth and power usually consider themselves teflon-coated and he will probably spend the next two weeks taking the advice of those who were in charge of Roger Sutton’s damage control.

That’s a bit ironic when she is now giving advice to Bailey.

Although Key has admitted his behaviour, he is now trying to minimise, minimise, minimise his conduct just as all abusers do. It was just a harmless bit of fun he will say. He’ll add that he didn’t realise she didn’t like it but he is very sorry.

However he did know his behaviour offended her because she made that clear to him in a number of different ways. As she wrote: “I posted on the National Party and the John Key Facebook pages a message along the lines of “Stop pulling my hair – I don’t like it!” “I told his security that I was sick of having my hair pulled and one day I’ll snap and I’ll punch him in the face.”

When he continued his behaviour he simply followed the pattern of all abusive bullies in ignoring the protests, continuing the behaviour and pretending it was OK. Disturbingly he even tried to bring his wife into his “game”.

It is my hope the people of New Zealand will not stand for this. But I also know that Rape Culture and misogyny is denied and protected in our society from the average kiwi, all the way to the top. If only there was no name suppression.

That’s laying it on the thicker end of the scale of severity.

What no one has realised or commented on yet is that this young lady was an employee, being harassed at work. She had a right to be safe at work. Her employer had a responsibility to protect her.

They failed in that responsibility. “I exclaimed “Really?!!” to my manager beside me, and shot him a look of utter disbelief and frustration.”

This young lady could quite rightly take a case against her employer now and potentially win thousands of dollars.

She has already made this judgement. It would be interesting to know when she first started advising Bailey.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace happens daily in this country. Employers ignore it; they brush it off as a bit of fun, a misunderstanding. Only in very rare cases, usually involving a lawyer or union advocate are they complained about, followed up on, and resolved.

Who would come forward to offer help on that?

Unfortunately resolution usually involved a confidential settlement which cannot be talked about so these harassers stay on in the workplace, or go elsewhere and are free to repeat their behaviour to un-suspecting new colleagues, extended family, or even the waitress at the local cafe.

She’s implied that Key could be a serial sexual harasser.

Everyday our union works tirelessly to battle against bad employers who break the law, abuse, exploit and harass our workers, yet John Key and his National Government go out of their way to make it easier for employers to behave badly and harder for us to protect their workers.

So it’s political.

I have hope that we can beat rape culture; I have hope that sexual harassment and assault will no longer be a common experience for workers.

But it’s not going to happen whilst the New Zealand public allow a known sexual harasser to continue as our Prime Minister.

It’s clear what outcome she wanted before it was announced she would advise and represent Bailey.

Bailey will probably have read Reeder’s post at The Daily Blog. It was the day after the second of her posts. Four days later Unite Union put out this press release:

Unite to represent Amanda Bailey

Unite Union has agreed to represent Amanda Bailey, the waitress at the centre of the repeated harassment involving the Prime Minister.

Amanda Bailey has sought support from Unite after being named as the author of an anonymous story for the Daily Blog last week describing how the Prime Minister had repeatedly pulled her ponytail over a period of months.

Unite will be advising Amanda on employment issues and assisting to resolve concerns about how her identity was revealed by the New Zealand Herald.

And when interviewed later that day:

Are you pushing for a particular result yourself here?

Reeder : No no it’s completely up to Amanda.

Perhaps it is completely up to Bailey, but if she decides to take any employment or legal action it sounds like she will have an adviser and representative who had already made up her mind what should happen and what the outcome should be.

Note that the Unite Union is a sponsor of The Daily Blog:

PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY:

Unite_logo_Gold_on_red-cdn

In the public interest I think it’s worth knowing when Bailey and Reeder first discussed this issue.

Before Reeder’s post? Before Bailey’s first post?