“Just Horsing Around”? More Like Victim Blaming!

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So Key’s managed to make it to ANZAC Day and get out of the country without doing anything else that comes across to the New Zealand public as “weird”.

His handlers (and the collective National Party Caucus) must be breathing one hell of a collective sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, while the Prime Minister might be out of the immediate scandal-ridden frying-pan … he’s stepped straight into an international laughing-stock fuelled fire.

He’s presently in Turkey, inadvertently tarnishing the hell out of one of our most sacred days simply by being there.

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And regrettably, his – and therefore, by extension, our – problems don’t end there.

For you see, while the world was watching our buffoon of a PM, he decided to issue a clarification of his conduct and a sort-of apology.

From the highly appropriate venue of an International Peace Summit in Istanbul.

Truly, his sense of comic timing is impeccable.

In it, Key sets out his belief that instead of his conduct being deplorable, creepy, and a flagrant abuse of his position and power against an ordinary Kiwi worker … it was just “silly” and “having too much fun”.

Why did he do it? What on earth lead him to think this was an OK way to behave in public? Well, he “misread the tea-leaves“, you see. It’s all part of his “pretty casual and laid back” public persona. The one we all like (and voted for) because it’s “good for a laugh“.

But check the next bit.

Instead of acknowledging his own agency in this situation, Key describes his role here as “playing along a bit“. Or, in other words, he didn’t create the situation – he was just going along with the actions of others and got a bit carried away. The implication is: she might very well have been asking for it. He just went where she lead him.

Who could blame a man for “[misreading] the tea-leaves” of a woman’s intentions and accidentally taking things too far? Never mind the fact this woman had previously laid out in coffee-grounds her overt intention to assault the Prime Minister if he persisted in his conduct. That’s apparently a declaration of limits that’s open to being “misread”.

Rather than treat this with the seriousness this episode demands, Key (perhaps unintentionally – he may very well be that situationally unaware) attempts to make light of proceedings by describing his pulling of a pony-tail as “a bit of horsing around”.

Ha-bloody-ha, Prime Minister.

The message from John Key to the ordinary Middle New Zealander is as clear as it is reprehensible.

“You like my ‘fun’ persona. The one I whip out in press conferences to make you want to invite me round for a beer over a barbie. Aren’t I a great guy. Like you! A bit high-spirited, perhaps … but this one isn’t my fault. I was just “playing along” with the waiter and having “too much fun” to realize I’d gone a bit far. I was mislead. I didn’t do this on purpose. We all make mistakes. This one isn’t serious or creepy – it’s just “silly”.”

There’s a second, unspoken bit to match it, which goes something along the lines of:

“But some people don’t like having a Prime Minister who’s “casual and laid back and good for a laugh”. Those bullies in the media, and leftists and feminists who kicked up this whole fuss want me to be dour and serious all the time. They’re anti-hijinks. So now Mr Fun PM’s going to have to go back in his box for awhile. 🙁 You won’t like that, will you. Let’s forget about all of this and move on so Mr Fun PM can come back. 🙂 ”

Regrettably, as the mainstream media continues to build this scandal into a crescendo, they’ll be playing right into the Prime Minister’s hands. We saw the same sad phenomenon during #DirtyPolitics at the last Election. Ordinary Kiwis sympathize with an underdog; and by presenting himself as the victim of an ongoing media beat-up, Key may very well salvage enough credibility and good will with the electorate to avoid having to resign or other serious political fallout.

But to the legion of female voters who’ve previously helped to sweep him into office, it’s likely he now comes across as an altogether less wholesome and less salubrious figure than he did before.

More pointedly, the abominable spectacle of Key’s Minister of Women’s Affairs point-blank refusing to take a stand on the ongoing workplace harassment of a female worker ought to cast in stark relief just how little regard this government evidently has for women.

In Kiwi culture, there’s a tradition of looking out for your mate who goes out to socialize, but inevitably winds up doing something dumb and embarrassing.

Usually, when we think of this, we’re picturing some obnoxiously intoxicated 20something in a dress shirt down the Viaduct being kept out of fights with bouncers and other patrons by his long-suffering mates.

Not since the days of Sir Robert Muldoon has the Diplomatic Protection Squad been effectively charged not so much with keeping the Prime Minister safe from the Public … but rather, with protecting the Public from the ravages of a “hijinks”-prone Prime Minister.

Let’s just all collectively hope he doesn’t pull the tassel on some poor Turkish man’s Fez while he’s over there in Turkey this weekend.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Still no one has corroborated Key’s claims about the hi-jinks that go on at the cafe. He is reported as saying “We have lots of fun and games there, there’s always lots of practical jokes and things. It’s a very warm and friendly relationship. 

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/67949918/prime-minister-john-key-pulled-waitress-ponytail

    Perhaps a reporter could find some staff, or cafe regulars, who can tell us about the practical jokes and fun and games, or does Key just get to keep on saying stuff without anyone bothering to check up whether it’s true or not.

    • Well, I’m a cafe regular and was there (with my hubby) during this weekend. Nothing’s changed. Rosie is still well patronised (we had to join a waitlist), customers are happy, the Rosie staff are happy – it’s still the same atmosphere: light hearted, welcoming, great food and coffee and beverages, very informal. That’s why we keep going back. In addition, there are a few what might be regarded as high profile people there, but they just blend in. That’s just the way it is. Cheers!

      • ah Dora- I’m asking about the “lots of fun and games” and “lots of practical jokes and things”.

        I mean thanks for verifying the ‘warm and friendly relationship’ bit, but when you think about it, a cafe that doesn’t have a ‘light hearted, welcoming’ atmosphere won’t be around for long, so lets just take it that all cafes kinda need that bit to stay in business (Though maybe you could explain the ‘waitlist’ bit- doesn’t sound that welcoming)

        Perhaps you could answer the actual question….. some examples would be helpful. What sort of ‘hi jinks’ do other customers get up to?

      • if i ever go there and over hear some one called dora Ill pull your hair, that will be a lot of fun for you – really I will.
        btw any one that encounters key, can you do him a favour and pull his hair or ear or anything – since he hasnt got a lot of hair, if his security tries anything just say its just a bit of hijinx, I really hope a lot of people do what they want to key as far as invading his personal space now, he’s a fun guy and will really like it, youll be adding to the general merriment nz has become

      • Dora, according to you, everything in the cafe is happy happy happy – with no problems. You can join the list of John Key enablers and defend his behavior all you want. The fact remains that he was abusive and manipulative even when he was told over and over to stop that behavior.
        ===>>> Happy Happy days in denial aren’t we. Cheers ? ! ?

        • 2…4…6….8 who do we appreciate? John Key! John Key! Say it again! wohhhhhhhhhhh John Key!
          You should form a cheerleaders club Dora, you would be the best qualified.

    • On Nine to Noon this morning (28/04) Matthew Hooten said he is a regular at these cafes and no, there is no horseplay as claimed by the PM. Who to believe, who to believe? For once I think Hoots is telling to truth albeit with an agenda.

    • Except he didn’t do that at all. It was more like trying to pin the blame on anyone but himself, and implying that anyone who didn’t see his actions as just a bit of fun (including the waitress) was wrong.

  2. I was shocked to read some of the comments by his supporters. They are trying to sell the idea that he has been set up by the Left! As it has become clear, FJK was aware of the waitresses political leanings, we therefore have the PM, tormenting a supporter of the opposition.

    • what ever her political ideas are have nothing to do with keys behaviour, who really would support a party that has as their leader some one that subjected you to that behaviour – how would anyone view that party under those conditions, I havent heard any national mp speak out against key about this

  3. http://www.ted.com/talks/monica_lewinsky_the_price_of_shame?language=en From someone who was probably one of the first in the world to be so widely subjected to online bullying and victim shaming (and underhanded work by a journalist – coincidence?) Well worth watching as this level of underhanded behaviour from the employer and Key’s “friends” to undermine this young woman who outted him – is just disgusting. I hope they are made to answer for this even more so than the pulling of the ponytail – but sadly we do not live in that corrupt free world currently due to NAtional party and their behaviour

  4. Finding anyone honest in this den of lies where FJK frequents would be like looking for a needle in a haystack so best forget it.

    There was always going to be a bridge to far but we can live with hope someone will finally cough up the facts.

  5. Key in a herald piece said” I don’t think ive lost credibility in the eyes of the public” . “I was just horsing around” ,what for months on end !!!!a complete moron would have known the girl was unhappy about Keys pawing.
    He also said the majority of people are in agreement about sending troops to fight in middle east. how can he be sure of this ,it was his intention to obey Obama whatever people thought.
    We don’t want TPP or TIRSA,but he ignors us.
    If he is so sure of his ground why dosnt he call a general election to validate his comments. Im sure most would agree to that.

    • I think this is the most important point about Key pulling the waitress’s ponytail… it went on for 7 months!!!! The MSM make it sound like it was only a few times but consistently fail to bring this important point up… she was going to deck him if he persisted and told him to stop. I don’t think centre right blogs nor the MSM would have printed this. She was right to go to the Daily Blog.

      • I agree, but in a way, I feel she should have filed charges for abuse instead, right away, and possibly ? ? ? received the justice she deserves. Then also we may have had grounds for kicking him out or calling for an election and letting the people decide. I feel he has far less supporters now since it is obvious that he is a lying sham and a manipulative opportunist. He is like a little kid with not much understanding of the truth and being responsible hiding behind a mask and saying what his handlers tell him to say. Very much like the baby George Dubba Bush junior. Puppets on a flimsy string.

  6. Just horsing around??? Did New Zealanders think last year that they were electing a horse as PM? I don’t even the most rabid Nationalphile would not have imagined that in their worst nightmares.
    We want a proper PM, not a horse or a clown, but a PM who takes his office seriously and doesn’t embarrass his country.
    We currently do not have such a PM and the one who pretends he is should resign, and resign now.

  7. “I’m the probably most casual PM New Zilland has ever had” is not the authentic Key voice. Key is not given to introspection or self-reflection. That was written for him, presumably by Crosby Textor. And of course it excuses nothing. This is not about his personal style.

    • Scarily sounds like David Brent of the office: “You will never work in a place like this again. This is brilliant-fact. And you will never have another boss like me. Someone who’s basically a chilled out entertainer. ”

      Aargh, Ricky Gervais is our PM!

  8. The fact of the matter is very plain in the eyes of the law.

    It is common assault.

    Also in the eyes of the law one doesn’t have to commit the assault multiple times over a 7 month period to be charged.

    Once is enough.

    No matter what spin is put on this the conclusion is inescapable.

    It is common assault.

    A victim impact statement would include ‘ being reduced to tears’…which would include feelings of dis-empowerment , frustration and being bullied.

    The offender could not have not known the affect he was having on the victim. In fact she did all she could to warn the offender but still the offender persisted.

    No amount of ‘ hindsight apologies ‘ can wipe away the fact that what the offender did was common assault – and even if that is attempted –
    the law is the law and is there for a reason.

    Part of that reason is to be impartial.

    And the reason it is to be impartial is to prevent those in a position of power, wealth , political status , fame , physical prowess et al from being able to bully an individual either surreptitiously or overtly.

    Inasmuch as this offense can be seen to be workplace bullying , or common assault, it is still breaking the law. We would do well to remember that fact and not let deflective and diversionary argument detract from this.

    It may even be that there is a political element to this offense….but the primary concern here is that of upholding the law – despite all apologies or spurious explanations ….

    The law has been broken.

    • is the law supposed to apply to everyone even a prime minister, or is he a special case, if so why, what is going on here

    • I agree and I also feel that no matter how much Donkey Jonkey apologizes or what kind of a co-dependent defensive train wreck is behind him, I still wish she would take this to court and finally expose this disgraceful prime minister.
      HE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE TO GET AWAY WITH LYING AND ACTING LIKE AN IDIOT – TOUCHING ANYONE WHEN THEY HAVE TOLD HIM NOT TO, OVER AND OVER FOR MANY MONTHS.
      How immature and unaware can you be ? ? ? ?

  9. My daughter used to work in a well-established Wellington café. She told me that it was frequented by many young and old politicians from all sides of the wheel. She said there was quite a lot of light-hearted banter and jokes all round, but she never received any treatment like what John Key was reported to have done. It seemed that there was an instinctual code of conduct where everyone knew where the line was drawn between familiarity and harassment.
    The refusal of John Key to recognize such boundaries implies a certain arrogance or superior belief that one’s high public profile indemnifies him from public scrutiny. It doesn’t and its time he got off his high horse and started taking seriously the concerns of ordinary New Zealanders instead of acting like a deluded demigod.

  10. I haven’t seen an apology yet. I’ve seen Key tell a story about an apology with his version of events, his version of her reaction to his apology (unworried). There has been no description of the impact, , and instead lots of words to describe his behaviour as warm and friendly. He hasn’t owned it, a judge would see no remorse.

  11. It’s pretty fucken simple, you don’t touch women you don’t know. When they rule ever become a grey area?????

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