Thoughts on Tony Veitch, privilege and righteous anger



Facebook and twitter feeds have filled with righteous anger directed at Tony Veitch and venomous abuse snarled back by Veitchy supporters.

The trigger was a thoughtless ‘joke’ Veitch made about McCaw getting punched in the face during the NZ-France RWC match. This ‘joke’ was construed by critics as the tasteless comments of a wealthy white privileged male who brutally assaulted his previous girlfriend and broke her spine in a vicious attack. This lack of self awareness was compounded by Veitch’s appalling Facebook comment (above) that shows he just doesn’t really ‘get it’. A clever version of what he should have said if he’d had some insight has been doing the rounds…

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 9.10.32 pm

…the backlash by many Veitch supporters to those who are criticising Veitch  has seen the sort of sexism that inspires the burning of libraries. The totally unacceptable abuse directed at those calling out Veitch highlights the very kind of engrained domestic violence culture that seems to have protected his career.


I don’t know if Veitch was making some snide comment about his own personal history of domestic abuse when he commented on the rugby punch, based on his fairly immature Facebook posting, I’d suggest that maybe he isn’t that self aware and was in fact referring to some other incident. Regardless, his history and position of privilege meant that when he was challenged, he and his supporters became ultra defensive and abusive.

No one likes to be called on their privilege. It paints an unflattering picture of ourselves from ill-thought out comments thrown around without consideration. Social media in particular has created a culture where voices rarely heard in the mainstream can give their opinions unedited by the normal level of civility required by face to face contact.

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This means we can be as harsh and blistering as we like.

This ability to say what we like when we like disrupts gatekeepers and rebalances the power dynamics, which is what makes social media so important and special. Rather than flinch and react angrily to these opinions in our social media feeds, people should put aside the righteous anger and understand where that anger is coming from.

This is by no means an easy task, when you face people hell bent on misconstruing anything you say to paint you out as negatively as possible, you need to learn how to block, unfriend or just accept some people are simply mean.


Beyond petty personality attacks, listening tends to be more important than reacting to social media fights.

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who never get justice have every right to see Veitch as the very embodiment of privilege that compounds the pain they suffer.

Transgender activists are furious that they must face rape and violence daily while liberals do little to champion their human rights.

Maori whose experience of colonialism almost resulted in the collapse of their race have every right to question the honesty of the Treaty.

The poor are righteously aggrieved at a political system that empowers and benefits the rich.

Veitch’s embarrassed and juvenile response are the words of a humiliated individual who has been called out and lacks the maturity to understand. The resulting social media flogging  of Veitch won’t provide insight to him, and the social media pile ons may in fact be incredibly counter productive, but it should be a lesson to privileged spectators that the righteousness of that anger has a justification.

If we want progressive change we need to take less personal insult from righteous anger and try to understand why that anger is righteous.

That way we grow.


*PLEASE NOTE: I’ve removed my example in this blog to people who are merely mean as the use of the example has offended some people.



  1. Well this is rather awkward but it appears you accidentally copy & pasted a rant from a previous blog post into the middle of this post. Maybe you need to clear your clipboard inbetween posts to avoid this happening again so that people don’t get the idea that you’re holding personal vendettas – I mean surely you didn’t mean to attack a woman in the middle of your truth-telling about Veitch?

  2. Some people just take Facebook statuses way to seriously as if decisions will be made based on replies made.

    That’s your que to lol

  3. Oh dear. I think you got to the bottom of the issue with the word “maturity”. Veitch uses the term “haters”, Stephanie Rogers is a little more eloquent but far more abusive. Big egos and faux righteousness coupled with media presence seems to generate this narcissism of character. To borrow Jennifers descriptive “unquenchable greed” of their egos.

    • There are only two sides you can take, for or against. Face book and the Internet just isn’t set up to transmit sarcasm or pitch change, eye contact. So we end up with a whole bunch of people confused whether replies are meant to be taken as jokes, rubbish or worst, insults. All of which are extreme versions of ourselves because of the limits.

      But that doesn’t make what Stephanie Rodgers said right in any way.

      • I only mentioned Stephanie because her trade mark comment was quoted on this post. So many other internet egos come to mind.

        The media we utilise on blogs is dangerous as it allows us to be anonymous to a great degree and therefore act in a way we would not face to face. Less anonymous media such as Facebook and tweets also allow us to project ourselves massively out of proportion with reality, as in the case of Veitch. Reading his comments was somewhat disturbing, to me it read “I did the crime but, hey I’m reborn and you should forgive me….PS If you disagree with me you are a hater”. He may be reticent, who knows, but he denies anybody the right to doubt it by labeling them haters.

        • Oh boy. Welcome to the professional era where selling entertainment is the name of the game, and going toe to toe is financially risky.

  4. Tony Veitch will always be on wafer thin ice publically commenting on any violence, especially in a light-hearted way. You would think the bozo’s at Newstalk ZB would have that very thought at the forefront of their management of such a personality.

    That his extreme violence saw him carry on in his public career, much less walk the streets was a tribute to his many conservative colleagues circling the wagons to protect him. The same Newstalk ZB colleagues that were/are a megaphone for the ugly divisive Sensible Sentencing Trust vitriol for any non grammar schooled criminal who dared darken the door of any court. The second chance they felt Veitch deserved was and is never afforded to their straw men nobody’s that they bait their target audience with.

    The same ZB that lost it’s credibility with it’s hollow promo’s such as “hear it as it happens”, “first with the news” ya da ya da, only to be dragged ever so reluctantly to even mention the Veitch violence days after it broke.

    I guess what he did has not been forgotten, rather grudgingly put up with!


    Better we need in the sports world. Ones we can trust to leave their ego at home instead of spewing it all over the show.


    STILL ANGRY YOU ARE HEY ?? VEITCHY !! Watch out for Tony.

    Stephanie – talk about someone who is vindictive and full of herself !
    Martyn is far more relevant than sad sad insecure Stephanie.

  6. So many respond to hate with hate
    just counter productive dont cha think

    some people like tonyv just learn to hide all of their
    failing’s behind that ‘little lost boy but I’m learning’ persona
    underneath it all he is still the same man he was back then
    when push comes to shove.

    He is NZ’s equivalent to chris brown and we will never forget tony v
    and we shouldn’t
    and WOW stephanie how totally wrong can you be!

  7. Would be good to have some context around Stephanie’s tweet for those of us who don’t want to do the twitter thing!
    In terms of Veitch he has never “done the time” so the crime is still there as far as most women are concerned. Women who are looking to him, Julian Savea, Mils, and all the other high profile guys that beat their partners to engage in some meaningful sign that they understand that what they did was wrong and they need to fix it in a public way. Whilst we have a justice system that says violence against women and children is wrong unless you are rich/powerful enough to make it go away we will continue to have one of the worst domestic violence records in the world.

    • Lucy, depends what you mean by done the time. For the record
      Veitch was sentenced to nine months supervision, 300 hours community service and a $10,000 fine with the possibility of having to attend a Stop Violence programme should this be deemed necessary by parole officials.
      Savea was charged over a domestic violence incident involving his partner. The charges were later withdrawn after Savea completed police diversion.
      Muliainas charges were thrown out of Court for lack of evidence.

      The question might be “were the sentences and treatment of these men adequate?” In Veitch’s case I think your rich / powerful enough argument holds water, there is an imbalance of power. If he was Joe Nobody of Tuatapere he might just have deservedly done the time.
      On our having one of the worst domestic records in the world I think not, having checked the record (try being African), which is no excuse for the terrible record we do have.

  8. For the record I will not listen to Veitch on radio anymore than I will listen to other shockjocks on the radio. Especially on talk back, it brings out so many worms from deeply ugly and unholy places that my faith in the essential goodness of my fellow people is somewhat shaken. And that was before Veitch committed his unholy act for which I am deeply suspicious of any contrition on his behalf.

    Switching to the blogs has not improved matters, the whole thing mimics talkback radio with the same personalised nastiness. Pull somebody up for written assualt and battery and the responses are equally nasty as radio. If anything it is more disturbing and the opinions more tenaciously dogmatic and inflexible. Tread with caution.

  9. […] MICKYSAVAGE refers in his post to the weird savaging that Bomber went out of his way to inflict on fellow traveller and professional peddler of outrage Stephanie Rodgers.  It was a weird and gratuitous shot the precise detail of which I am not now going to be able to relate because Bomber has deleted it. […]

  10. Anyone see the most recent 7 DAYS comedy show on TV ?
    They put Tony in his place on that show – big time.

    Tony has been exposed. Slime and spineless.
    We need far better role models with far less egos and denials !

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