BSA smacks Hosking’s hand, sort of

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld four complaints against Mike Hosking but did not make any order, meaning this amounts to criticism without consequences.

Stuff: BSA rules against Mike Hosking

In April this year, a waitress said that she took offence to Key repeatedly tugging her ponytail when he came into the cafe she worked at.

Broadcaster Mike Hosking covered the topic at the time on the television programme Seven Sharp.

He said the waitress’ motivations for speaking out were “selfish” and “a puffed up self-involved pile of political bollocks”.

He also said the café owners were the “victims” of the situation.

He said: “To quote the waitress concerned today, ‘I felt New Zealand should know’. What a puffed up, self-involved pile of political bollocks. She had a problem at work. The owners were the people to consult, not a blogger.”

The Authority upheld the complaints that these comments were unfair to the waitress.

the Authority said the nature of this segment meant there was no opportunity for any response or defence to be given.

They also said that while public figures can be subjected to this sort of criticism, the waitress was not a public figure and should not have been scrutinised as such.

“[A] person who is not a public figure should be able to speak up and make assertions whether they are right or wrong without being treated unfairly and in an intimidatory way by a television presenter speaking from the platform of a powerful broadcaster”, the Authority said.

The Authority held publication of the decision was sufficient to mark the breach and did not make any order.

Hosking could do the decent thing and apologise on Seven Sharp tonight.

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?

What now for waitresses and waiters?

Now that John Key seems to have adequately dealt with his hair pulling embarrassment what now for the focus of the issue, the way waiting staff are treated by customers and by employers?

One waitress has spoken out, but in doing so she created a political shit fight. And she became the target of an offensive defense that tried to paint her as the problem, not the victim.

Sometimes amongst the noise and sheep herding there can be interesting discussions at The Standard.

Mandy Hager’s post Pull the other one… ponytails, minimisation and male privilege is worth reading as a fairly feminine perspective. Perhaps a bit too feminine good/masculine bad but she makes some points worth debating.

On this post is a good comment thread, started by Colonial Rawshark (who’s name is still promoting the hacking of political opponents but that’s another story).

So, after several days of ongoing disgust, outrage, screaming and shouting, what courageous and concrete steps has the Political Left proposed to empower vulnerable and poorly paid service employees and contractors who find themselves in bad work situations?

What gutsy legislation, regulation, unionisation and other changes with real teeth has the Left proposed to enable vulnerable workers to fight back hard against bad treatment by customers, employers and media organisations?

Indeed has there been anything more substantial and concrete than ‘that’s disgusting, disappointing and an indictment of entrenched male power and privilege in our society’? No?

The Left couldn’t even get its shit together in the first day or two after the original story broke to protect the young cafe worker in question. Pitiful.

And IMO it’s exactly why, despite all the quite legitimate anger and indignation expressed, the self proclaimed Left is increasingly irrelevant to voters.

Initially this was attacked in the usual way, albeit moderately to a long time Standard leftie.

Stephanie Rodgers tried to dictate what should be talked about, as she often does.

Speaking of “both obvious and unavoided”, congratulations on completely erasing the key aspect of gender from the issue. On a post about how this issue is explicitly gendered, even!

Why not get outraged about the Left failing to take concrete steps to overthrow male entitlement? What about empowering vulnerable women, wherever they work? (The Roger Sutton case rather aptly showed how sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t limited to cafes.)

But I guess that would be terrible, no-one-cares-about-your-side-issues identity politics, wouldn’t it?

And then there was a branch that attacked Colonial Rawshark for not doing enough about what he was talking about himself. A common ‘attack the messenger’ practice.

But then there was some actual addressing of the issues raised. Redlogix:

Well expressed CV. By allowing the debate to be solely framed in misogynist terms, the Right easily fences the issue off into the feminist ghetto of NZ politics.

Which is sad. It’s way more important than this.

I’ve read Mandy’s excellent OP several times now with care. It’s a powerful piece, it emphasises, not just the idiocy of the PM’s behaviour, but the sickening response of so many to not only minimise it, but to attack the victim as well.

And then like you I’m left wondering ‘what next’? Why is the Left so powerless to act? Why when even something as tiny as Cunliffe expressing shame as a man for the violence perpetrated on women – why was that so readily ridiculed and belittled?

When Mandy writes:

There are also the online comments, proof (as if we needed it) that there is a deep seething underbelly of misogyny out there – and that issues of appropriateness, sexual intimidation, abuse of power and minimization of women’s complaints are not only misunderstood but carry no weight at all to a significant proportion of our population.

I am quite certain this is a subjective truth and reality for Mandy, yet when you are effectively telling half the population that they ‘hate women’ – something has gone badly wrong. This is not a vote winner if nothing else.

After 40 or more years of feminism, why is there so much misunderstanding, suspicion, and downright loathing in some quarters, between the genders? As this incident and it’s attendant blowback has demonstrated – it doesn’t seem to have taken us anywhere constructive.

There’s a good discussion on that, but it includes more attacks and diversions:

‘freedom:

“effectively telling half the population that they ‘hate women’ ”
Quite the contrary. I find the article to be one of the more empowering messages on this blog for sometime. Reminding all of us, regardless of gender, politics or circumstance, we are all responsible and necessary as part of the solution, every day

Marty mars:

sadly what tends to happen now imo is that the discussion will be moved, in oh so reasonable and soft tones, into the other areas – this is, imo, cv and reds way of showing they care about the issues raised in the post itself /sarc and of course they get to talk about themselves and their experience which is just so riveting and important /double sarc

RedLogix:

Your attempt at silencing and shaming is disgusting.

You’re tactics are no different, and lower than those being used by the Henry’s and Hosking’s of this world.

It’s not often that the common attempts to shut up and shame get called, but as an author Redlogix can get away with it. But not without being challenged:

One Anonymous Bloke:

It’s the violence inherent in the system. You’re being oppressed!

RedLogix:

No – marty was doing the derailing thing. Oppression is something altogether different.

But make a joke of it – have a bit of a ‘horse around’ if you like.

Marty mars:

untrue red – I posted a comment to another comment not to you or cv – I did that because I didn’t really want to engage and encourage you to begin the calm dissemination of what you think – I’m not interested, I’d rather hear and learn from women.

weka:

Marty was spot on in naming a dynamic that occurs here. Thanks btw for confirming it, by misusing Bailey’s experience of sexual harrassment by the PM as if that in any way has anything to do with marty commenting to you here. It’s inconceivable to me that you cannot see the power differences, so that just leaves your politics.

The shame is already on you for how you’ve brought yourself into this conversation in the way you often do. Marty just pointed it out.

One Anonymous Bloke, marty mars and weka are frequent members of the shut up and shame brigade.

Back to Colonial Rawshark’s first paragraph.

So, after several days of ongoing disgust, outrage, screaming and shouting, what courageous and concrete steps has the Political Left proposed to empower vulnerable and poorly paid service employees and contractors who find themselves in bad work situations?

The diversions, messenger attacking and shutting up has again prevailed (so far) as that remains unanswered.

It seems that waiters are frequently the target of poor customer behaviour.

Some on the right (it’s been rife at Kiwiblog) have tried to play this down by attacking and trying to discredit the waitress.

And some on the left have failed to address an important issue the hair puling raised.

Political activists are too active trying to wreck their opponents and too often fail to do anything practical to address the problems ordinary people, like waitresses, have to deal with day after day.

What now for waitresses and waiters?

UPDATE: another word from Colonial Rawshark:

My contention is that the Political Left has come forward with plenty of outrage and disgust, but it has not come forward with concrete proposals for change for empowering vulnerable workers victimised by customers or employers (regardless of whether that change is based on gender or on class).

And weka, one of the chief derailers of threads she doesn’t approve of, responded:

I’m sure it is CV. Pity you chose to bring it up in a way guaranteed to derail the thread and track it along the class politics vs gender politics path then.

I have no idea what you mean by the Political Left, but can only assume you are referring in part to authors and commenters here on ts. I’m seeing lots of activism and response to what has happened. Besides, I’m pretty sure that some legislation already exists to protect Bailey (and was ignored by the PM), and that the left wing parties already have policy that would give even more protection.

“regardless”

So take it to OM. This post and thread is about gender.

If the gender police speak then one mustn’t stray from their narrow path of discussion. How not to achieve anything outside one’s bubble.

Another promising discussion squashed. That has happened during the time I put this post together.

The Left’s handling of Key’s hair pulling

Labour and the Greens have had a bit to say about John Key’s hair pulling but this is a look at how left wing blogs have handled the hair story.

It began with EXCLUSIVE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress at The Daily Blog, and was introduced:

This is a guest blog from an anonymous waitress about the way John Key kept touching her when he repeatedly visited her place of work.  The waitress contacted us with her story, The Daily Blog did not seek her out or pressure her in anyway to write this blog. We are protecting her identity so she is not punished by her employer or social media victim blaming.

The question to ask after reading her words is if this bullying behaviour is acceptable from the Prime Minister of NZ.

It was entirely predictable that protecting her identity and preventing social media victim blaming was never going to succeed. Was ‘anonymous waitress’ duped and used by The Daily Blog, or were they really that dumb that they thought they could protect her?

The post has a date stamp only – April 22, 2015. It shows Last Modified: April 22, 2015 @ 6:02 am. The first comment was posted at April 22, 2015 at 6:22 am.

Two days later, on Friday evening, Danyl posted The story behind the story at The Dim-Post:

The other interesting (to me) thing about ponytailgate, or whatever we’re supposed to call it, is how the story broke.

If you take it to a blogger then that check for a balancing comment doesn’t happen. Bloggers don’t play by the rules. But what they do – and I’m thinking of Cameron Slater here, as well as his homologues overseas – is insert themselves into the story. They write it up, in imitation of a mainstream media story and then accompany it with commentary and interviews on the MSM outlets they affect to despise, and attempt to frame the story and promote themselves. In Slater’s case that tends to dilute the story since the attack is so clearly partisan and motivated by malice.

Bomber didn’t do that. Instead he simply published the waitress’s own account as a primary, information-rich source that the mainstream media could base their stories off. Reporters called the PM, but the scandal had already broken and the media were all matching each other’s stories. It couldn’t be shut down. And Bomber kept himself out of it all. That approach – publish a primary source and make it available to all media simultaneously – turned out to be a really awesome way to get the story out there.

Except that this isn’t The story behind the story, it’s only the first chapter.

If Whale Oil had posted an exclusive and David Farrar had picked up on it (or vice versa) possibly Danyl and certainly many on the left would have been shouting ‘two track Dirty Politics!’.

At 9.49 am on Wednesday morning there was a post at The Standard – My Little Ponytail. It looks well researched and carefully written post (not a rush job) by Te Reo Putake. He may well have been able to put that together in three hours. But he probably wouldn’t excuse a time lag between posts on Whale Oil and Kiwiblog. The concluding paragraph:

I simply don’t know if it’s accurate, but I do think we should be told Key’s side of the story. Or be presented with his head on a platter if it’s true.

So ” if it’s accurate” TRP wanted Key’s political head on a platter. And comments that followed feasted on a similar diet of downfall.

The Standard has been busy since then. Related posts so far:

22 April:

23 April:

24 April:

25 April:

Dirty politics was a common accusation – directed at the ‘attack as defence’ from Key defenders. The left forbid calling it dirty politics when they do similar.

And Danyl is wrong when he claims “Bomber didn’t do that. Instead he simply published the waitress’s own account ” and “And Bomber kept himself out of it all.”

That may apply to the initial post but on a blog you can’t look at one post in isolation.

Bradbury posted a follow-up statement from the waitress: UPDATE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress Part 2 – Dirty Politics? While he introduced it with this…

I think the young woman at the centre of the Prime Minister’s bewilderingly abusive and arrogant privilege is a hero. She has shown courage and fortitude that is pretty rare. To tell the Prime Minister to his face to stop touching her took enormous strength when you consider the power dynamics.

I did not believe her bravery should be denigrated by a mainstream media who look to get a victim blaming ratings kick. That was why I said I wouldn’t confirm her identity to any of the media who contacted me.

She thanked me for this but accepted that her name might be made public. This understood,  she was determined to direct that voice and allow it to be her narrative and her story told on her terms.

Out of her genuine concern for the reputation and economic ramifications her possible outing might have on her employers, she met with them Wednesday afternoon and was left in a position she had not agreed to.

She also challenges some of the comments the Prime Minister has made.

These are her words. She raises hard questions about the NZ Herald.

…the use of Dirty Politics in the headline and two photos, including this one…

gluc

Rachel Glucina and Government pollster and right wing political blogger, David Farrar

…make it fairly clear that Bradbury is far from keeping himself out of it. As far as I have seen Farrar has had nothing to do with this issue, he has commented a little (two posts) but has kept out of it far more than Bradbury.

I’ve seen no evidence Farrar had anything to do with Glucina’s hit job on the waitress in The Herald. Linking them like this is disingenuous. Some would call it dirty.

The Daily Blog currently features that same photo in it’s headline post. Dirty.

The Daily Blog (that Bradbury is a very prominent part of) has also been busy with other posts that aren’t ‘keeping out of it’:

22 April:

23 April:

24 April:

25 April:

26 April:

Danyl himself has also been busier than usual, beginning with this:

I’ve already printed this out and posted it above my desk

ponytail

I wonder what else he has posted above his desk. It’s easy to see what else he’s posted at Dim-Post:

Left wing blogs have been very busy on this story. The haven’t simply let the waitresss story speak for itself. They have promoted and exaggerated the hell out of it.  They have made all sorts of claims, assumptions, accusations and demands.

Like Psycho Milt encapsulated::

Which left-wing prime minister has been bullying service staff and then getting their friends in the media to do a hatchet job when the person complains?

That’s blogging.

I’ve posted a few times on this myself. But I don’t claim one side does Dirty Politics while trying to pretend the other side is squeaky clean.

There has been a concerted effort from the left to bag Key and damage him as much as possible. Some of them think that at last they have found the straw they can break the back of his Prime Minister-ship with.

As I’ve shown in Key “didn’t deliberately intend” to abuse power Key accepts that what he did was “very very silly”.

But left wing blogs – authors and particularly commenters – have been overplaying their hand, as blogs often do.

They saw blood and scratched for all they were worth.

It could all be completely uncoordinated spontaneous series of attacks. And every attack and perceived from the right could be orchestrated by John Key and his minions.

But both sides will be somewhere in between those extremes, despite their screams.

And amongst that there’s a bit of Dirty Politics Derangement Syndrome

Key “didn’t deliberately intend” to abuse power

It’s been established as un-denied fact that Prime Minister John Key pulled a cafe waitress’ hair on a number of occasions.

Key has apologised for it, and has said it was “very very silly”, but has denied he misused his power. He has said it was the opposite, he was trying to put people at ease in an informal setting.

From a Thursday report on 3 News – Key’s hair-pulling raises behaviour questions:

Mr Key has publicly apologised to waitress Amanda Bailey, 26, for persistently pulling her ponytail while visiting her Auckland cafe over the last six months.

The embarrassing apology was prompted by Ms Bailey’s contribution to the left-wing Daily Blog website yesterday, in which she accused the Prime Minister of harassing and bullying her.

At first she believed it was playful – Mr Key sometimes pretended it was his wife Bronagh who did it – but she then informed Mr Key’s security that one day she would snap and punch him in the face.

Mr Key mocked her when she raised it personally with him and it left her crying frustrated tears because she felt tormented and powerless, she said.

When quizzed by reporters at Los Angeles Airport, Mr Key said he had been joking around with the waitress.

“There’s always lots of horsing around and sort of practical jokes and that’s all there really was to it,” he said.

The media has had limited access to Key as he was travelling to Gallipoli. On Friday 3 News reported:

Mr Key admitted misreading the situation and says he understands why it’s causing concern.

“When these things play out later on they look a lot more serious, people take other readings from it and I understand that and I take responsibility for that,” he told reporters when he arrived in Turkey today for the Gallipoli centenary commemorations.

“I’m pretty casual and laid-back … playing along a little bit, and that’s very, very silly on my part… I should have read the situation more accurately. I’ll learn from the experience.”

So he has conceded he was at fault and it had been “very, very silly on my part”.

It doesn’t appear to be online but on 3 News last night Key explained further, in response to a question from Patrick Gower:

Gower: When you accepted you got it wrong, do you accept that you misused your power?

Key: No, because I didn’t deliberately intend to do that, it was the opposite. I intended to try and be in a much more informal sort of setting so that I put people at ease and we could have a bit of a laugh and have a bit of fun so it’s really opposite.

But I accept that that’s an interpretation that someone could get.

News reader: Key said in the cold light of day he accepts what he thought what was kidding around did not seem that funny later.

This may be played on The Nation this morning.

There have been many claims of abuse of power, sexual abuse, misogyny and bullying.These seem to be overstating the situation at best.

The effect of Key’s actions is in part of bullying but his explanation sounds reasonable, bullying wasn’t his intent, it was inadvertent. He was trying  to be an ordinary person goofing around.

But as Prime Minister he can never be seen totally as an ordinary person. Key will always have a non-ordinary status, no matter how hard he tried to be seen otherwise.

And he accepts that he went too far, and accepts that what he did could be seen as an abuse of power.

As has been said before one person’s buffoon can be another person’s arsehole, and a recidivist buffoon can become an arsehole.

Key appears to get this.

This has been embarrassing for Key, it has caused some people to see him differently and it may have an ongoing impact on him and his popularity.

It’s an easy avenue of ridicule and it’s certain be used as a persistent means of attack by some opponents.

But unless something else is revealed, or if court action succeeds (experts have said that’s unlikely), it shouldn’t do any further damage.

Another story has emerged out of this, how some left wing activists have played the story. That will be covered in the next post.

“Just a bit of fun” – buffoon or arsehole?

John Key has apparently repeated claiming the hair pulling was “just a bit of fun” (reported on the Paul Henry Show).

He has already been quoted saying it was “horsing around”, an unfortunate description of pony tail pulling.

At Kiwiblog, where there has been a lot of excuse making for Key’s behaviour, Weihana suggested:

Seems more buffoon-ish than arsehole-ish.

One of Key’s traits is being a bit buffoonish, and some find it endearing.

The problem here is that one person’s buffoon can be another person’s arsehole.

It’s not uncommon for bullies to claim they are just having a bit of fun, just horsing around, just being a buffoon. However the targets of their attention may think otherwise, and often do.

The victim of Key’s hair pulling has made it clear she didn’t think it was fun.

And buffoons who persist can become arseholes to those on the receiving end.

This is something that Key hasn’t yet shown he understands. And neither apparently do his defenders.

I think this is something Key has to address. If he does he could repair some of the damage. If he doesn’t the damage could and probably will deepen.

Many people are ‘weirded out” by what Key seems to have a habit of doing. If they remain weirded out then Key’s chances of being kicked out by voters will grow.

Some people say this issue will quickly fade away. It will, partially. But there’s a very good chance it will be a nail or two in National’s last term coffin.

McCready meddling

‘Serial litigant’ Graham McCready is again trying to meddle in things that really aren’t his business. When I heard Martyn Bradbury was involved in the hair pulling revelations I groaned. McCready jumping on the attention seeking bandwagon is uber-groan territory.

Newstalk ZB report:

Private prosecutor Graham McCready is now filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, and plans to take it to court, claiming it was sexual harassment.

“This incident is too important,” McCready said, “too much in the public interest for that not to happen.”

“It could distress her but we’ll deal with that as we go along.”

Too important for whom?

Too bad if it distresses ‘her’, this looks all about an opportunist attention seeker.

Taking it to the Human Rights Commission would be highly ironic considering how McCready seems to be ignoring the victim’s rights and is promoting his own interests.

Claiming it was sexual harassment seems out of order to me. The incidents happened in a very public place, with his wife present. I don’t see any sexual connotations.

McCready’s meddling is likely to do far more harm than good, especially to the victim of the hair pulling. It loks like selfish grandstanding and an attempt at a political hit job.

McCready is making a circus out of something that has already blown up far more than is warranted.

The timing, and things get messy

The timing of the hair pulling story has been criticised, but that’s nonsense. So what if someone timed it for maximum attention? That’s hardly uncommon.

Sure it could be awkward for Key to deal with the flak while travelling around the world. But it also gets him out of most of the firing line. By the time he gets back to New Zealand the story will have at least calmed down a bit.

Perhaps the story could have been put out in the news vacuum over Easter. That might have reduced attention. Or it could have festered and grown because there wasn’t much else to be indignant about.

The timing is a non-issue.

While the victim is a victim if unwanted physical attention she is a victim. That isn’t diminished by the way the story plays out.

I think she was unwise using The Daily Blog and Martyn Bradbury as her medium for her revelation. It guaranteed a highly charged partisan reaction before any facts were known or confirmed. It’s a side issue but it’s an issue.

The waitress used Bradbury – but Bradbury has used her too. I hope he warned her about the inevitability that her anonymity wouldn’t last long. I hope he warned her how she would be labelled politically by using him.

It didn’t take the Herald long to out the identity of the waitress and her workplace – see Waitress: ‘I felt NZ should know’.

She has complained about this coverage in detail at The Daily Blog – UPDATE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress Part 2 – Dirty Politics?

She says she was aware of some of the risks but she has been clobbered.

She claims that her employers and Rachel colluded to dupe her into an interview. But retracting something from the media is futile. Especially once it’s been published.

Out of respect for my employers, and what seemed like their genuine concern for my well-being along with the future of their business (a business doing good things which I fully support), they introduced me to Rachel, by name as the employee behind the story, and Rachel said she would put together a statement for us to proof.

As we waited for Rachel to e-mail the draft proof one of my employers read aloud to the other Rachel’s e-mail address. It began… RACHEL.GLUCINA and alarm bells went off. Sounded familiar, and I felt sick to my stomach – more than you’d ever imagine, a feeling I simply could not ignore.

Rachel’s story changed. RAPIDLY. Now she couldn’t possibly supply us with a proof because she would lose her job. She was absolutely acting in her capacity as a journalist for the New Zealand Herald and claimed that my employers had known all along, which they denied.

I made it absolutely clear that all and any comments I had made were given under false pretences, not to mention completely out of context, and questioned whether her supposed story would still be published if I withheld my permission.

Rachel simply responded that she would come back to us and read to us what was to be published, although she had no control over editors and sub-editors, and that she had to get in touch with the Prime Ministers office, and then they quickly ended the conversation. I later contacted my employers reiterating that I revoked any permission to use my photo or comments for any press release, and my disappointment that I had been mislead to such a gross degree whilst having my identity knowingly confirmed with the New Zealand Herald at the same time.

If she’s correct this is a bad look for the Herald. More collateral damage. What the hell were her employers and Glucina up to?

This could get very messy.

When the Prime Minister is involved behaviour has to be carefully considered. He stuffed up.

When the Prime Minister is involved the media and the victim get embroiled as well in what now looks like becoming substantial side issues.

While I think Key’s behaviour was poor it wasn’t dirty. But it’s triggered what could be a bloody big dirty mess.

Armstrong: “That must surely be to his political cost”

John Armstrong sums things up fairly well in PM’s behaviour ‘fun and games’ – pull the other one.

In the Court of King John, someone needs to tell the Prime Minister when he is behaving like a jerk.

Someone in John Key’s inner circle needs to take the traditional jester’s role of being the fool who can tell the sovereign he is a fool when everyone else is too obsequious, too obliging or too deferential to do so.

It would also be a good idea to suggest to the Prime Minister that he gets his pigtail fetish under control.

No one prepared to tell him to pull his head in (or pull his hand in) when it’s obviously advisable.

It goes without saying that Key’s repeated pulling of the hair of a waitress at an Auckland cafe he frequents was utterly inappropriate.

His claim that the “horsing around” was all meant to be light-hearted and part of the “fun and games” at the cafe does not wash. That is an excuse for something for which there is no excuse.

Despite the efforts of some here there is no excuse.

At the end of the day, any contact that a Prime Minister has with anyone involves a power relationship where the power is all or almost all weighted on one side.

That is just the nature of Key’s job. But many people find that intimidating and would feel powerless to act if they were likewise so harassed, as the waitress felt she was.

Key’s inappropriate behaviour put the waitress in a very uncomfortable and difficult situation.

Has she over-reacted? That doesn’t matter. Key overstepped boundaries repeatedly. He brought the repercussions on himself.

One reason why Key is so popular is that he has sought to cut through the barrier between Prime Minister and public by being approachable, never talking down to people no matter their status, and never letting his high approval ratings go to his head.

That is why people reading the waitress’ account of the hair-pulling will wince. They will find the whole episode odd, cringe-making and seemingly very much out of character for Key. His sending the waitress a couple of bottles of pinot noir from the Otago vineyard he part owns as an apology will be seen as equally crass.

From what I’ve seen there’s been a lot of genuine wincing.

Giving her wine may have seemed like a good way to express regret at what he did but what did he expect – that she get drunk and forget about what had happened?

While his behaviour is also a function of the kind of self-delusional belief in one’s invincibility that infects all politicians the longer they are in power, Key basically crossed a line between informality and over-familiarity.

His punishment is to be left squirming and stewing under a huge pile of embarrassment, including copious quantities generated by international media coverage.

Despite diversions and denials from many on the right – see Kiwiblog full of excuses and blame diversion – this is embarrassing for Key and the country.

the worry for Key and National is that this unseemly episode is of such magnitude and as something that forces people to take a position could severely jolt positive perceptions of Key, especially among female voters who flocked to National after he became leader.

David Cunliffe got into trouble for apologising for being a man. The Prime Minister has been forced to apologise for failing to be the man most people thought he was. That must surely be to his political cost.

There will be a political cost.

Kiwiblog full of excuses and blame diversion

David Farrar has mildly criticised John Key’s hair pulling harrassment at Kiwiblog – Inappropriate if accurate.

Key has apologised, he has acknowledged his behaviour was inappropriate “in retrospect”, and I haven’t seen him dispute any of the claims made.

Farrar:

But again in this case (assuming the story is correct) he appears to have seriously misjudged how what he saw as mucking around, was received, and he failed to pick up on the discomfort caused.

That’s reasonable comment but putting it fairly mildly.

Less mild is a lot of the reaction at Kiwiblog, where there’s been a cacophony of disbelief, excuse making and blaming the victim.

Funnily the first and one of the most sensible reactions was from Redbaiter:

If the story is true, its amazing no one around Key told him he was making a fool of himself.

If he was the easy going guy his public image suggests, why couldn’t one of his minders have had a word in his ear?

This just seems too weird to be true, but if it is, then maybe there’s a side to Key the public doesn’t know about.

17 up and 9 down ticks.

And next from notrotsky:

Despite my better instincts I’ve just read the story at the daly blog….

If it is true it is more than serious misjudgement it is harassment, if the person in question was a relative or friend i would be furious.

Unacceptable from anyone but from a PM this is the kind of thing that should see him severely censured.

As RB says above it is amazing that no-one called him on this behaviour.

16 up, 4 down

But it went mostly downhill from there. BeaB:

Interesting that everyone is prepared to believe every word. I suspect this is a beat-up.
The involvement of Bronagh is enough for me to think it never happened as described, not to mention how polite and appropriate Key’s behaviour has always been in any setting I have seen him. It just doesn’t have the ring of truth.
Especially when it is printed by such a disreputable blogger!

37 up, 1 down

peterwn should know better than this:

Yesterday, while in a waiting room, I half read an article in a North South magazine (I think) about how some women claim to have been psychologically wrecked by hand on knee etc. So it makes me wonder if it is just another smear attack on John Key inspired by that article or similar. His political enemies smeared him right from the time he became National leader. The claims were not outrageous but went along the lines that he was not quite up to being PM etc – as such claims are more likely to be believed than more outrageous claims, then of course claims that he was ‘slippery’ coming later Labour’s polling firm even asked a question about this presumably to gauge whether the ‘slippery’ tag was having a positive or negative effect on people.

23 up, 0 down

Grant:

Interesting too, how this has been put about while the PM is at Gallipoli. Hence, the story will have time to grow legs before he can respond.
The absolute epitome of Key Derangement Syndrome, and I’d wager that John Campbell has already had at least two orgasms since he got wind of it.
Will be fascinating to see how this pans out.

28 up, 0 down

Another lawyer takes sides without any evidence evident – alex Masterly

I have never taken anything that appears on the Daily Blog seriously. Why should I start now?
Anyway the dealings I have had with the PM have always been courteous good natured and polite.

25 up, 1 down

Diversion into history by scrubone:

Interesting to see lefties claiming this will end Key, considering the list of things that Labour MPs got up to. Why, even Field was only kicked out for party disloyalty, not for being a corrupt MP. Benson-Pope still hasn’t answered for taking his BDSM habits into school classrooms, Trevor is still in parliment even though he got into a punchup, and Helen never answered for stealing $800,000 to help with the Labour election campaign.

22 up, 0 down

flipper:

A few things which even some normally level-headed folk here appear to have missed:

1. The “source” ? – Anonymouse!

2. Published by whom, and where?

3. Wife Bronagh is said to have been present.

4. DPS security was present.

5. Others were apparently also present.

Conclusion?

Absolute bullshit!

But in line with the “H fee/Fat Tony” attempt ….. and all the other smeared bullshit.

Strange that it “emerges” when Labour and their shills are seen to have made zero impact on Key/National.

Pathetic.

26 up, 1 down

Nukuleka:

Man= guilty. Woman= innocent.

Don’t bother about facts.

Story of life in New Zealand 2015.

26 up, 4 down

In this case the man has admitted guilt.

Even a more reasoned begininng from Monty turns into a, excuse-fest, minimising the offence and attacking the messenger..

The story is obviously true as Key has through his office admitted to pulling the waitress hair. I do not condone his actions in any respect and believe the actions were somewhat appropriate, but I guess that John Key has been a very regular visitor to the café for several years. There is no doubt a high degree of familiarity with staff at the café.

But there are a couple of things that I question. Firstly the story appearing at the Daily Blog – has Martyn (Martin) Bradbury embellished it somewhat? It would be typical and expected of The left wing blog to certainly embellish the story as much as possible.

Reading body language can be extraordinary difficult. Certainly the first time no reaction what so ever, and reading the story it seems there was no reaction the second time either. I would think that the fact this went on several times there was no obvious sign it was. I think it was on the fourth and final time when she finally made it clear that the “game” (as she called it) was unwanted. Key straight away apologised and gave her a couple of bottles of wine. I am sure the apology would be genuine.

To my thinking and on the basis the apology was indeed genuine that should have been the end of the matter. But sometime later she has run off the Daily Blog, the most left wing hate blog run by hater Martyn (Martin) Bradbury.

Without excusing the behaviour of Key, the waitress should have quickly asked the security guard to ask John Key to stop (and he definitely would have in my opinion). She never really made the objection obvious.

27 up, 2 down

waikatogirl:

This is a ‘Dad Joke’. Dad thinks it’s funny, but everyone else rolls their eyes :)
This happened in the Key’s local cafe with Bronagh and security present.

Apparently it was a year ago and she didn’t make a complaint to her boss. She went to a politically lefty blog and doesn’t want to be identified.

Smells politically like a fish left in the sun!

30 up, 1 down

It wasn’t a year ago and she did complain. Key’s wife is reported to have pointed out the inappropriateness.

Doc:

Whilst I don’t understand how the PM thought that this might be acceptable behaviour, I am astounded that the waitress let this continue for more than six months before saying anything.

“No means No” springs to mind… As soon as she said “stop” he did so, and immediately apologised. To allow unwanted attention to persist for so long without actually saying anything almost seems contrived… (though my judgement here is almost certainly coloured by the fact that she shopped her story to TDB…)

20 up, 0 down

And so it goes on. With a few counter-comments, like radvad:

“Inappropriate” does not cut it DPF. “Creepy” and “stupid” describe his behaviour better.

5 up, 12 down

David Garrett:

Just flicked across to the Herald story which is somewhat more detailed than Stuff. If what she says is accurate – and Bradbury claims to have a sworn affidavit from the soon to be outed waitress – then it happened several times, even after Mrs Key told the PM it was inappropriate. Not acceptable. And more than a little odd, especially if it did indeed happen several times.

And when peterwn accepts the story:

 it is now through normal channels – the current Stuff headline (if it can be believed) indicates the incident is pure fact.

3 up, 2 down.

Few willing to accept facts.

And doesn’t change much through a lengthy thread.