Tony Veitch fractured his partner’s spine in four places but still thinks he is the “victim”


*Trigger warning: this post includes discussions around rape and violence against women*

Sports broadcaster Tony Veitch has been the target of “online abuse” and he wants you to feel really sorry for him. After he made a joke during an All Blacks Vs France rugby game about not knowing the difference between a “punch” and a “fist in the face”, he was subject to an online backlash over his ironic comments. A few days ago he updated his public Facebook page with this post in response to the backlash:

tony viech sooo hurtzzzz

Tony paints himself as some kind of unsung hero who has rebuilt his life after surviving what he called a “hideous relationship.” You can lie by omission. What Tony fails to point out in his post is this: In 2005 he beat his then partner Kristin Dunne-Powell so badly that he broke her spine in four places. This was the “hideous relationship” he was referring to. In 2009 he went up against six charges of assault, of which all but one were dropped. He admitted in the court of law to “one charge of injuring his partner with reckless disregard” as Stuff media reported; these were the injuries that resulted in Kristin’s numerous spinal fractures.

I’d like you to take a moment to think about the kind of force which is needed to snap and fracture bone. Marc Otten, a neurosurgeon at Columbia University, said in relation to the force needed to break a  spine, “If you’re talking about somebody with a normal spine, then you’d need tremendous willpower.”  Take some time to think about how hard Tony would have had to kick Kristen repeatedly, in the back, for her spine to give way and splinter.

After beating Kristen he went to bed, leaving her to drag herself around, unable to walk or even reach the phone. When she pleaded with him to call her an ambulance he even refused her this basic help. Before this incident there had already been years of documented sustained abusewhich included Tony violently kicking and punching Kristin. Yet, Tony wants the public to feel sorry for him? He wants to convince you that somehow he is the victim. I responded to his post with these words:

post in response

Tony also negates to tell you he paid almost nothing for his horrific crimes against his partner. He did attempt to buy Kristin’s silence with 100,000 bucks worth of “hush money” and he was ordered by the courts to pay a measly 10,000 fine and got 300 hours of community service. He lost his Friday morning Radio Sport breakfast show after he was convicted but he later regained what he calls his “dream job” and he has continued commentating on sports with a weekly radio spot.

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In 2011 Tony even had PM John Key on his show where they talked about which famous women John would have on his “wish list.” Because shooting the breeze’ with a known violent offender who has shown no remorse and done no restorative justice work, about which famous women he has a “crush” on is totally how a prime minister should behave? John Key, one of the most powerful men in Aotearoa, implicitly publicly sanctioned Tony’s abuse against Kristen by appearing on his radio show. But John’s dismal behaviour should surprise no one as he is well known for “minimising” and pardoning gendered violence.

When the heinous acts of the rapist gang known as the “Roast Busters” made international headlines, John said in response to this group of young men who had been violently gang raping young girls then boasting about it on Youtube, “boys will be boys.” Newflash: behaviour like Tony’s and the “Roast Busters” are culturally taught and therefore need to be challenged, unlearned, and the behaviour patterns disrupted. Violent misogynistic behaviour is not just something young boys will eventually grow out of. We raise boys to adhere to rigid, toxic stereotypes of manhood; collectively and culturally we tell boys the way to become men is to sever some of the most powerful and life saving emotions we have as human beings: compassion and empathy.

Young men are taught that to be vulnerable is to be weak: all these things are directly associated with the feminine. The word “girl” is often used to humiliate and put down boys and men who act in ways perceived as “weak” or “emotional.” Eve Ensler, noted playwright of The Vagina Monologues and founder of One Billion Rising, said in her moving TedX talk,

“I think the whole world has essentially been brought up not to be a girl. How do we bring up boys? What does it mean to be a boy? To be a boy really means not to be a girl. To be a man means not to be a girl. To be a woman means not to be a girl. To be strong means not to be a girl. To be a leader means not to be a girl. I actually think that being a girl is so powerful that we’ve had to train everyone not to be that.”

Toxic stereotypes of masculinity which tell boys and men they need to always be “tough,” that the only emotion they are allowed to feel  is “anger” with maybe the exception of jealousy, all intersect with violence against women. These entrenched ideologies can’t just be palmed off and minimised as some passing adolescent phase or a one off thing. Men like Tony and the Roast Busters are not some aberration, they are a product of a culture that glorifies male power and dominance, while at the very same time glorifying and sexualing the subservience and submission of women. Aotearoa has the higest rates of intimate partner violence in the developed world; this is not just an epedemic it is deeply cultural.

The Roast Busters, like Tony, got away with their crimes; they were given no long term punishments and no jail time. What kind of message do you think this sends society? Other than the very large, clear sign that as a man you can beat, rape, and even kill women and get away with it. My own father sexually abused me as a child, and just like Tony, and exactly the same as the Roast Busters, he served no time for his crimes either. He was ordered to pay a couple of thousand bucks in compensation for what he did. Money, regardless of the amount, could never ever ease the lasting pain he has caused. My Farther, quite like Tony, has gone on in life, in his case to have another family, continuing to live in relative peace and happiness.

So often men who commit unspeakably violent acts against women’s bodies go unpunished, thanks in part to a biased and sexist “justice” system dominated and controlled by white men. These men serve power; their perspectives and their efforts help the powerful, and not the relatively powerless. The lives of women are meaningless in the court of law.

Tony whinged publicly about the “online harassment” he was experiencing via his Facebookupdate because of his ill informed comments, but I doubt it compares to the “online harassment” that was directed at me and anyone else who called bullshit on Tony’s post that described himself as the victim. If you need any more evidence that sexist and abusive attitudes like Tony’s and the Roast Busters aren’t just some aberration but are in fact widespread, here it is. This is just one of the personal messages I received from a man in response to the post I made on Tony’s update:

still going

And of course men lifted photos from my Facebook page and made personal attacks on my appearancepersonal attacks on appaearance

The day after Tony’s “I am the victim” post, Women’s Refuge tweeted this:

directed at me

This is why I need feminism: because every one of those comments was actually directed at me. AsWomen’s Refuge pointed out what they tweeted was only “a few” of the abusive comments being thrown at me in response to my previously mentioned post. Any other women also who stood up to Tony were also called “crazy” or “loony” time and time again; the word “feminist” was endlessly used as an insult, as if fighting for gender equality is some kind of evil that must be outed:
crazy 3

Tony Veitch did not moderate any of these abusive and often misogynistic comments; he stayed silent and allowed them to remain on his Facebook page until he finally took his post down 24 hours later. Please tell me again how he is a changed man and deserves redemption?  I guess Tony only cares about “harassment” and online abuse when it is happening to him. Notably Netsafe has come out in defense of Tony. Stuff reported yesterday that Netsafe Director, Martin Cocker, had said in support of Tony “[People] just become abusive and angry and try to create a public shaming type event out of it, at which point this crosses over from a positive thing to a negative.” Martin has suggested some people had “stepped over the mark” and some of the reactions were born from a “mob mentality.” Martin was not talking about the violent comments directed at any women who took a stand against Tony, he was talking about the “online harassment” Tony allegedhe was facing.

Where is Netsafe’s defence of Kristin? In Tony’s original post he slagged her off: remember that “hideous relationship” comment? Where is Netsafe’s defense of me and the other women who endured the very public online “mob like” attacks from Tony’s supporters? Spoken word poet and writer Hadassah Grace penned a necessary and powerful political essay entitled, “Who the hell is Tony Veitch” which she posted the day after Tony made his post. In it she takes a stand against violence against women and speaks about the serious trauma Kristin continues to endure because of Tony. For her efforts Hadassah received these online threats:


And yes, it gets worse and even more violently abusive:


You want to talk about “online abuse and harassment”?! Try highlighting the threats of violence and rape women who dare have a dissenting opinion in public space have to deal with on the daily. Honestly, fuck Tony Veitch. He has no idea.

In Aotearoa we don’t just give rich white men like Tony a “get out of free jail card” when they beat women over sustained periods of time and break their bones, we celebrate them. We pat them on the back, hand them a beer, watch a bit of rugby with them and say: “Oh well, you only kind of fractured Kristin’s spine and it was a one off, so don’t sweat it bro!”  No wonder Tony thinks he is the “victim” and has done nothing wrong; our society, including John Key and now also the executive director of Netsafe, have collectively reinforced this message. While Tony was busily “rebuilding” his career Kristin’s injuries eventually prevented her from returning to her own job. In Kristin’s 2009 victim impact statement she said,

“Since July 2008, my family and I have been harassed and hunted by some journalists… It feels like there is no end to the spreading of malicious lies, rumors and falsehoods… this has made it difficult for me to regain employment.”

If anyone knows what it feels like to be “harassed” and about the work it takes to “rebuild” your life after massive trauma, it is Kristin. Hadassah Grace writes,

[Kristen] has had to have years of physical therapy and counseling for PTSD. Muscles in her back have permanently atrophied, causing disfigurement. She has ongoing triggers and panic attacks. She has been hospitalized for nervous breakdowns as a result of PTSD.

On the other hand Tony who put his partner in a wheel chair, will not face any life-long consequences for his appalling behaviour, on the contrary; he gets a secure job which puts him in the top earning bracket in Aotearoa – that 10,000 dollar fine he paid is mere pocket change to him.  He has hundreds of thousands of supporters and dudebro cheerleaders who are prepared to defend him via social media till their last, abusive breath. After his “poor me” post Tony gained at least another 2,000 “likes” on his Facebook page. Despite what Tony apparently believes, compared to Kristin and the one billion women and girls who are survivors of rape and violence on this earth, he has not had to “rebuild” shit.

You can read Hadassah Grace’s full “Who the hell is Tony Veich” piece in full here.



If you liked my words you can follow me on twitter, this is also a cross-post from Chloe King’s own blog site Posse. which you can check out here.



  1. I’m sorry you had to be exposed to that kind of vile, moronic abuse, Chloe.
    Reading those comments and knowing such men exist makes me fearful for my daughter’s future.

  2. I see what you mean, Chloe. The culture (which is a misnomer in itself, as ‘culture’ used to refer to more positive aspects of humanity; poetry, art, music, dance, theatre…) of violence against women is highlighted by the comments directed against you.

    The degree of underlying violence is disturbing.

    • Yeah exactly frank, and ‘culture’ like art and dance and film is being eroded because of our focus on profit — if you can’t turn a profit with your creative endeavours it’s seen as useless. We have such an entrenched abusive culture in Aotearoa and it needs to be disrupted and it is certainly cultural…

  3. More than thirty years of neo liberalism has manufactured monsters. And those monsters breed and vote. Therefore, more monsters. ( District court Judge Jane Farish said once during a candid conversation about ten years ago that she personally believed that neo liberalism was a production line for societal dysfunction. )
    By the way ? What has being white got to do with anything ? I’m white and I must say I don’t like my skin colour being used by you to imply that I’m , in some way , to be associated with monsters. Using ill thought out and frankly simplistic racism and generalisations diminishes your valid points in my view. Worse , it polarises the good men of many colours out there who’re just as horrified as you at the way some male monsters of our worthless species have taken the opportunity to show the world just how small their breeding organs are by whacking up the female humans who’ve strayed too close to the aforementioned under developed male breeding organs dangling limply from the likes of Veitch.
    To all men of many colours out there.
    If a female human comes at you screaming and shrieking and flailing about , as can happen , then the only thing one can do is walk away . And if walking isn’t fast enough / Try running, then sprinting ? If they gain on you? Try a powerful motorbike then to the airport for a passenger jet and then , if all else fails ? A rocket . Some female humans can make the idea of living alone on Mars seem positively wonderful. And not just the rich, white ones neither.

    • CountryBoy whilst not every white man gets a “get out of jail card” being white is one of the pillars of priviledge. Brown sports hero’s get a free pass too until they stop entertaining us then they have the book thrown at them.
      If Veitch was Maori do you think he would have the wet bus ticket? There would be editorals from every paper and every red neck that phones in to talk back would be all for hanging! Look at what happened when Sonny Tau was caught with dead wood pigeons as opposed to Andrew Hoare torturing a Sea Lion – Andrew was discharged without conviction – do you want to take bets on whether Sonny will be and he didn’t even kill the birds.

  4. Shocking. Good on you for speaking up!!

    Can you lay a complaint to police about those rape threats?

    It’s scary seeing there are such monsters out there. Including those like Veitch.

    I also feel disgusted about his employer who support his behaviour.

    Also he should have got a jail sentence from the courts.

    Because he is white, and rich he gets away with it.

  5. Absolutely disgusting.

    Makes me ashamed to be a man. Do these men not have daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and aunties?

    • Why should they have to have “daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and aunties” to treat women with respect? Why do we always phrase it this way, as if men can only understand the basics of human decency when it’s someone personally connected to them? And what happens when someone takes this message too literally and thinks “well, she’s not my (daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and aunty), so it doesn’t matter if I’m terrible to her”?

      No. Men need to be taught that women are human beings and are just as deserving of respect as men are – not because they’re some way related, but because they’re /people/, in and of themselves. That’s the fundamental issue here. Too many men don’t see it that way. To them, women are at best second class citizens, and at worst little more than property or chattel. Challenge that perception, and we might start to get to the root of the violence problem.

      • I think the reason it is often put that way is to try to make the abusers and their apologists, try to think about it on a more personal level in the hope that it might make them think twice.possibly over optimistic,but i understand the sentiment

  6. Thank you Chloe
    no matter how many down votes the tonyv fan girlz & boyz give me they can’t take away the fact that I believe you speak the truth about this still abusive man and his abusive virtual friends.

    I bet if their mother daughter sister auntie was abused that way
    they would be singing from a different song sheet.

    If their youngest sister or youngest daughter came home one night
    was totally toasted,
    had been abused because she couldn’t say NO … couldn’t even talk
    even the police couldn’t/wouldn’t stand by her,
    online society thought it was their ‘fault’

    the abusers let off without a “sorry I was wrong” in sight
    and it appeared they had confirmation from society they didn’t do any thing wrong because it wasn’t ‘violent’

    If their mother/sister/daughter was beaten and kicked by their drunk abusive partner who let her crawl around
    till it suited him to get her help

    and If some one had a say on social media about how the abuser
    had not learnt a single lesson, who still continued to have a say online
    and let his abusive virtual friends Try to harass intimidate demean ridicule them

    I bet they would be singing from the Hellfire and Brimstone song sheet

    It is really SAD that most abusers come to a self realisation of
    that ‘Oh No’ moment when they have no more loved ones left to say Sorry to.

    Kia Kaha Chloe

  7. …and this ‘culture’ is also why our ponytail pulling, harassing PM got off Scott free. No accountability and consquences for these people, and the public ‘see this’. They need to be held to account – public figure or not!

  8. Reading some of the comments made towards you (and others) condemning Tonys actions made my stomach turn.

    Its appalling you were subjected to that.

    One thing. I don’t think you needed to say rich white men. Just rich men. plenty of rich non white men get a slap on the wrist as well.

    • ….I don’t think you needed to say rich white men. Just rich men…..”

      Or just men.

      When John Kirwin stood up for mental disease he moved the bar slightly.
      I look forward to other sportsmen or public figures standing up on this one too….waiting….waiting….

  9. I remember when David Cunliffe apologized for being a man in relation to domestic violence. It was one of only a few times that I felt Cunliffe was saying what I wanted to hear … and the likes of Duncan Garner & Paddy Gower ripped him to shreads and mocked him.

    Our violent patriarchy is sustained by men who silence other men who are attempting to address this problem. Dude-opinion-shapers on our radio and TV often exert hyper-masculinity, and I think this is a major part of our problem. I hope our political reporters are happy with what they did to women when they mocked an apology at a Women’s Refuge symposium: violence enablers.

    Makes me sick. And the physically violent act of striking someone often goes hand in hand with months of psychological abuse (threats etc).

    • Yep Cunliffe was dragged through the mud by MSM (and remember the PM had T-Shirts too).

      Cunliffe didn’t even say that either. The strength of MSM is that I don’t even remember what he did say – but it was obviously pro woman and against violent men’s actions and not the negative I’m not proud of being a man.

      Cunliffe is still a bright light in the Labour party – they should use him more and a lot of people are still very sympathetic to him.

      People voted out Labour as they were behaving not Cunliffe. He was the bright light and that’s why he was attacked so relentlessly.

      He does what he thinks is right – and that is what many people like about him.

      Still remember him protecting that 500 year old Kauri, (update owner has reneged on saving the tree and is now trying to get environmental protection removed from MULTIPLE development sites he owns). I’m sure Auckland council will be champing at the bit, to cut it down or make sure the developer is rewarded with ability to profit from the situation.

      It seems the greedy and unethical expect and do win. Including on family violence as well as all the other ways.

  10. Lost some respect for Brendon Telfer (who is one of the very few sports ‘jock’s in this country to consistantly show respect for women and women’s sport etc) when he defended Veitch in his book. Used the same ‘I wasn’t there that night so I don’t know what happened’ excuse as many other people are.

    Veitch is actually a very good sports journo, which is probably the only reason he hasn’t gone overseas even with the system working for him. He is extremely sensistive to crictism however and was very arrogant even before 2008 happened. At least TVNZ have never given him his job back so that’s one employer that took the high road at least.

    • Was Veich also the guy that referred to some non white player as ‘having hands like monkey’s?”

      Also did not realise what the fuss was about over that one.

    • If he has so much ego and arrogance, I wonder what kind of psychopaths are supporting him still and would defend his long lost honour ?

      I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine and the game goes round and round. Good ole boys network. He may be a good sports journo but if he has compromised ethics and seems to be a ego maniac with serious emotional and mental issues, then should we not demand better in our journo world here in NZ ? ? Hey Veechy ! How about an extended ; life long vacation to Aussie, but then poor Aussies ?

  11. It is no wonder we have such a problem with male-instituted domestic violence when we have a PM who thinks that harassing a female café worker is just having a bit of fun or horsing around.
    Sets a great example doesn’t he?

  12. Contrast this with what happens to current or ex-All Blacks who do something similar – they are effectively finished in the sport.
    So why is it that media presenters get the wet bus ticket slap?
    Media personalities apparently think they have demigod status except for cretins like Henry and Hosking who think they are full gods.

  13. However having witnessed years of violence by my father I can only offer my sincerest hope that your life has become better.
    As for Veitch – any man who indulges in sustained aggression of this type against a woman is a coward and a mongrel.
    Hey Veitch – here’s hoping what goes around comes around!

  14. Fuck ’em.
    Lay complaints using the new digital communications harassment law.
    Don’t sit back and get angry, get even, use the legal system. It may not go anywhere but at least stand up for yourself. It’d be a great case to test the law(?).

    • The legal system doesn’t support women when we make complaints of harassment / abuse / rape, anything of a sexual nature.

      The Louise Nichols and Roastbusters cases showed that very clearly to New Zealand women.

      I have zero faith in our police and justice system when it comes to making a complaint of that nature. Zero.

  15. There is no excuse for this kind of violence, regardless of who you are. It just goes to show what kind of society we really have. But, I can’t say whether we have degenerated into this, or that we have been this way for sometime, and have become a little more aware of it.
    Why I say that is because I can still hear my mother telling me as a boy that “Stop your crying – boys don’t cry.”

  16. Well done for this very important piece Chloe!
    It is high time that NZ faced up to its national shame and addressed the institutionalised undercurrents that sanction domestic violence in this country. I have no doubt that the lack of political will and leadership are huge contributing factors in the failure to fight domestic violence in NZ. Just look at our ponytail-pulling PM and our non-feminist Minister for women!
    As appalling as the personal attacks you received are, they prove that your words and the strength of your arguments were more powerful than any punch that these coward misogynistic men can throw at women.I salute your strength. Thank you again.

  17. Tony cares less about what we write and affirm here. He is SO ! wrapped up in his ego and clearly his ethics are not as honorable as he would like others to think they are. I feel sorry for him because his denial and massive power hungry ego defy any kind of respect for a clear spineless abuser.

    Men like him get away with abuse and than act like it was just a bunch of nonsense. Business as usual for Tony. He is another one who should have been put out to pasture instead of offered a job in the media world. We deserve better. Not much healing did he do as we had hoped.
    Boys will be boys and they just pat each other on the back and say ” get over it – I just gave her a little push. ” YEH ! RIGHT TONY !
    He is another one we have boycotted for a long time now and glad we are.

  18. Wow, thank you for taking the time to put this together, just so depressing, but I’m going to show this to my three teenage daughters so they can be very careful to avoid having anything to do with such vile men. The comments and backlash are horrendous – I had thought the woman was paid the money, thanks for clearing that up – not that it makes any difference, what he did was appalling. What he has done since shows him up as the psychopath that he is

  19. You’re a very intelligent and courageous woman Chloe! 🙂 What you’ve exposed here is sickening, a rot in this society which infects everything making us into a cultural and human desert of bleakness.

    Look at the reaction to Eleanor Catton who criticised this government especially Sean (Plonker) Plunkett describing her as a “hua”.

    Also we have become a mean, money grubbing me me society without any sense of common community look at the cruelty of throwing people of benefits leaving them to beg in the streets wretchedly.

    • Land of the Wrong White Clowns
      Anger, apathy and anti-intellectualism in New Zealand

      ” Eleanor Catton is right. The public reaction to her critical remarks about New Zealand (taken out of context, of course) demonstrates exactly what she’s talking about. It’s not even ironic. It’s dismal and oblivious in its predictability.

      She’s been accused of being a ‘traitor’, slammed for ‘ripping off the taxpayer’, and generally judged as an ungrateful ‘hua’. (Note that the accidental symbolism of this word goes deeper than most people realise, given that ‘hua’ is derived from an insult to do with boiling and eating someone’s head, the head being tapu in Māori culture and the centre of the mind and intellect in Western culture.)

      That her comments sparked such a vitriolic response is strongly suggestive of an inferiority complex wound up in an intense desire to avoid recognising the reality of neoliberal capitalism. ”

      ” John Key, the reasonable, chatty, thoughtful leader — a bloke you want to crack open a beer with — mentions the word ‘respect’ several times and says he’s ‘disappointed’. This is respectful on a personal level, but it’s also code for ‘let the stooges do the dirty work’, and sure enough, they are doing it. “

      • “Land of the Wrong White Clowns”

        They probably just think you’re a new New Zealander of Chiknee ethnicity. Cue Mathew Hooten

  20. Speaking from experience ignorant people say well why didn’t she/you just leave? Aside from the fact the victim suffers from severe damage to her mental health caused by exposure to constant verbal abuse and emotional mind-fucking that nearly always accompanies physical violence, WHY THE HELL INSTEAD OF CHOOSING TO BE EVIL DIDN’T HE LEAVE?

    • Women in violent abusive relationships are are their most vulnerable exactly when they try to leave.

      Abusers tell them that if they try to leave they’ll hunt them down and kill them. And the victims KNOW it’s not an empty threat.

      So quite often they don’t leave simply because they want to live.

      But “society” doesn’t care and will heap more venom on the victims of violence than they will on the perpetrators.

      • Allot of abusers do that, Lara, definitely. Others are more insidious with psychological torture – Anger easily, often when you want to go and do something on your own, put you down, “correct” your reality with lies, tell you you’re a bad mother if you are not perfect in their view, nitpick and criticize you – daily, humiliate you in front of others, constantly question your competency, gaslight – i.e hide things that miraculously re-appear when they come home to foster dependence on them – making you doubt your own sanity because you know you looked there – or did you?, restrict your access to money and transportation, incite riffs between your family and friends so you have no other “support system” other than him. These are just a few examples of brainwashing designed to make you believe you cannot cope without them and keep you there, often in a state of fight-or-flight fear and confusion. If you don’t comply with what they want or voice your outrage at being treated badly, that’s when they thump you to get you back in line. If you have kids they threaten to take them legally and because they are cold and calculated they appear level headed and you appear to the outside world a crazy mess, because mental and physical torture will do that to you. People who haven’t lived it have no idea what they are talking about.

    • Libertynz, it’s insidious what happens when you’re in an abusive relationship. It’s harder to walk out than many think and until you’ve been in the position it’s impossible to really understand it.

  21. I am not ashamed to be a man. I am ashamed that wolves in sheep clothing pretend to be men that they are not, thus bringing the real men who treat their women folk with the due respect and decency, who speak out against stuff like this and aspire to be good role models, into disrepute.

    There are many good men out there, who need to take a stand and not be sorry that they stood up when it counted.

  22. Dear Chloe

    I am very sorry that you had to endure this kind of abuse for pointing out that Tony Veitch is a violent and low life ‘man’. Please be assured that not all men are like this, and i personally find those comments disgusting, uncalled for and obviously were written by low life scum. Giving a girl a black eye is bad enough but fracturing her spine? Thats almost attempted murder i would say. Love what you said about how boys and men are raised in this country too true. Keep up the good work x

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