There’s a petition to strip Bob Jones of his Knighthood because he said some pretty derogatory and racist shit in the NBR for Waitangi Day.
Bob Jones has responded by taking defamation action out against the young woman who has organised the petition.
I blogged about his disgusting comments here when they first came out.
Here are my 5 thoughts on the latest developments.
1 – Stripping Bob Jones of his knighthood because he was racist is a tad fascist
Brothers & sisters, we are not a theocracy, we are a progressive liberal democracy. It is not a crime to have a racist opinion nor is it a crime to express a racist opinion. It is ignorant, offensive, petty, dehumanising, immoral, unethical and fucking ugly. But it’s not illegal. Yes, it’s illegal to discriminate based on race, but having a racist opinion and speaking it? We don’t arrest people for opinions
2 – Having a racist opinion isn’t hate speech
Let’s not give Bob’s petty and ignorant rant the kind of significance of actual hate speech. Hate speech is when you are attempting to incite violence against another group of people.
“Kill all the Māori and drive them into the sea”. That’s hate speech.
“Burn all the Chinese businesses and beat them in the street”. That’s hate speech.
“Kill whitey”, well, that’s just smart thinking. I’M JOKING. Calm down.
You get my point right? Hate speech is a serious and terrifying thing that we must always prosecute when it happens, but this bile and cringe worthy brain vomit from a tired old bigot like Bob isn’t hate speech, and giving him the power of actual hate speech is beneath the meaning of the word.
3 – If you wanted to strip Bob Jones of his Knighthood, surely THIS was the reason
If we are to demand his stripping of a Knighthood, then surely the time he goaded a protester into committing suicide and then bragged about how he goaded a fellow human being into committing suicide…
This sort of (always male) behaviour is a regular occurrence in the capital. In the 1980s when long-overdue reforms saw the closure of some isolated, scarcely used post offices, a Nelson region goose turned up in a park opposite my office, surrounded by the standard litter of signs, asserting he was starving to death in protest. I bowled across and nailed him with some impeccable logic. “Why starve to death?” I suggested. “Why not get it over with quickly and commit suicide?” So he did.
One of my daughters working, or more accurately, attending in our office at the time was appalled. “Don’t you feel bad?” she asked me. “To the contrary,” I replied. “Anyone who values their life on the existence of a country post office plainly hasn’t got one. I did him a wonderful favour.”
…was the moment to demand this prick had his Knighthood stripped from him.
4 – That Bob Jones is racist isn’t the issue, that the NBR published it is
Beside the fact that we don’t punish people because they have an opinion we don’t like is the truth that Bob isn’t the problem here. The problem is the NBR. The NBR is the most right wing newspaper in NZ and openly supports the neoliberal agenda. They are an elitist shit rag that provides Jones with a platform, not because they believe in his racist diatribes or are champions of free speech, they give this tired racist dinosaur a column because they think he’s funny. How the NBR have managed to escape the social media rage directed at Jones is the real question and by focusing on this attempt to strip Jones of his Knighthood, we are actually letting NBR off the hook.
5 – How can Bob Jones possibly sue for defamation when he no longer has a reputation to defame?
News that Jones has responded to the petition with threats of defamation are actually the most delusional thing this sad old racist has managed to say to date. Defamation law asks if a reasonable person would think less of the person being defamed. Seeing as Bob is a vicious, nasty, suicide-goading-then-bragging-about-it-fuckwit, nothing the petitioners have said could lower Bob in the eyes of a reasonable person any more than Bob’s own words and ugly behaviour.