MEDIAWATCH: Paedophile rings, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Transphobia & the Martyrdom of Mummy Bloggers – Are the Woke Left the new Sensible Sentencing Trust?




(Crickets chirping).

How about that ‘paedophile ring’ then?

TDB Recommends

Anihera Black allegations: Police find no evidence of paedophile ring
There’s no evidence of a paedophile ring in Tauranga and the woman who made the allegation – and serious claims against her dead husband – is refusing to speak.

Detective Inspector Mark Loper said police had spent weeks investigating claims by Anihera Zhou Black that her former husband Te Awanuiārangi Black was a member of a Tauranga paedophile ring.

Loper said: “Police have been contacted by one person since the allegations were made.”

…plenty of media attention for the allegation and accusation, not so much attention on the no evidence part.

In the post MeToo world where accusation is the new evidential threshold, where any questioning of an accusation is victim blaming and where due process is dead, we are in terrible danger of having social media become the new lynch mob.

I started feeling deeply uneasy about this Black case the moment I read this

Back in the Tauranga hotel, Zhou Black is weeping as she is asked by Stuffto provide evidence for each of the eight names she has provided Stuff alleged to be part of a paedophile ring.

Tiaki-Turi joins the interview by phone. She acts as Zhou Black’s spiritual adviser or matakite – someone considered to possess a supernatural ability to see visions of the future.

Zhou Black is asked why an academic appears on her child-sex ring list.

“He’s a very wealthy man … He knew Awa through that time. I don’t know how long,” she says.

No victim had identified the academic.

“Got anything to add, sis?” Zhou Black asks Tiaki-Turi.

“Um, it’s just a connection that he has with a lot of the people associated to Awa,” Tiaki-Turi offers.

“He’s more a person of interest,” Zhou Black adds.

“He was my Facebook friend up until three days ago and then he has blocked me.”

…a Facebook blocking is evidence of being a member of a Paedophile ring???

Is anyone else reading this?

I had figuratively compared what was going on in this case to the Salam Witch trials of the late 1600s because that was the last time we allowed allegation to be the evidential threshold, but it’s actually literal here when you consider the role of a person who claims to have supernatural powers being the accuser.

I’m sorry, but someone with psychic powers using those powers to claim insight to crimes?

Sexual assault is a blight on our culture and the lack of justice around the many who suffer it is an obscenity but people claiming magical powers to hunt down the guilty can’t be the solution to that problem can it?

The claims of sexual assaults at Russell McVeagh were sold by NewsRoom as less a legal working environment and more a non-consensual orgy at Caligula’s yet the formal review by Dame Margaret Bazley found…

past culture of ‘work hard, play hard’, excessive drinking and instances of crude, drunken and sexually inappropriate behaviour.

…which was a far different situation than what NewsRoom had accused. The outrage algorithms of social media became a lynch mob with no one to lynch after Bazley’s report leading some to bewilderingly attack Bazley???

I’m also struggling with Lizzie Marvelly’s latest column.

Lizzie is an important voice in the NZ Herald and 90% of the time I wholeheartedly agree with her views, but in her attack on Louis CKs return to the stage, I sensed less the reasoned approach she usually adopts to actually being the new Sensible Sentencing Trust.

We’ve seen from the last Justice Summit how much damage the SST has caused and mutated our justice system into. By holding up victim grief and manipulating it, the SST has managed to warp our prisons into the ill functioning revenge camps they’ve become, likewise Lizzie’s attack on Louis CK sounded more like vengeance for a MeToo movement that doesn’t want to loss any power to publicly out and shame abusers than an actual solution.

She claims no one had the choice in the audience to walk away (but ignores he received a standing ovation) and makes herself the judge, jury and executioner in terms of his redemption.

She claims he hasn’t been hurt by his actions.


Public humiliation and shaming are tactics that have been around for centuries and are deeply harmful to those it’s aimed at…

The Problem With Public Shaming
American adjudicators typically look to five goals to justify a punishment: incapacitation, restitution, deterrence, rehabilitation and retribution. Neither incapacitation nor restitution apply to doxxing, since there are no legal enforcement mechanisms. To the extent that those who engage in public shaming think they are satisfying one of the remaining three, they faultily assume that deeply rooted social ills like racism, sexism and homophobia are personal failings that can be remedied through vicious public blowback and a permanent stain on their character.

It’s common to argue that a perpetrator “deserves” to be shamed, but in fact human psychology doesn’t work this way. Many pedophiles, for instance, recognize that that they are inexorably—even biologically—bound to impulses that they themselves loathe. Does the shaming—through public registries for example—cause the pedophile to reform? Unlikely. Does it deter others from engaging in pedophilic acts, or does it drive them to darker corners and sneakier tactics?

Racism is not as tied to biology, but environment can be a powerful antibody to shame. Imagine you are a teenager living with white supremacist parents surrounded by white supremacist neighbors and you get suspended from school because you said something racist. Do you turn inward and examine your sense of shared humanity with brown people, or do you simply become resentful toward those who’ve punished you, perhaps even more sure of your sundry prejudices? Does it even deter you from vocalizing your racism or do you simply channel it through a different medium where you’re less likely to be caught? In March, a racist New York City EMT employee was outed by the New York Post for posting vile tweets. His online supporters countered with by violently threatening the reporter who broke the story, sometimes anonymously, sometimes not. These behaviors are symptoms of a systemic ideological cancer that is highly resistant to shaming because racists are typically proud of their hate.

Which leaves tit-for-tat as the lone valid criterion for public humiliation. But retribution too, is problematic. Consider the announcement of the Sandy Hook episode and the ensuing media frenzy to name the shooter. He was first incorrectly identified as Ryan Lanza, who turned out to be the killer’s brother. Other “Ryan Lanzas” and their friends and families were harassed during the confusion. Reporters are notoriously bad at getting the facts straight during the frenzied moments following a big story, let alone amateur detectives or doxxers. Things get especially hairy when big media publish the identity of alleged aggressors based on unverified claims from untrustworthy sources. Amateur detectives raced against the FBI to uncover the perpetrators behind the Boston bombings on social news site Reddit. They fingered the wrong person, resulting in a misguided witch hunt that prompted Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin to publicly apologize. Such exposure can lead to misguided counterattacks from a faceless troll army. On an Internet where people can so deftly conceal their identities and impersonate strangers, we must be mindful of our propensity for error.

Then there is the permanence problem. Once embarrassing information about a person is online, it’s never going to go away. Imagine, thirty years from now, some potential employer evaluating a candidate based on a thoughtless remark she made as a teenager. The permanence of uploaded information ensures that modern shamings, while obviously milder in severity, can far exceed the scope of the scarlet letter, the most extreme manifestation of which was at least branded on the chest, where it could be covered. Every modern system of punishment attempts to deal in proportionalities. Put simply, the punishment must fit the crime.

Finally, the angry mob problem. Unlike institutionalized forms of punishment, public shaming can spiral out of control, far beyond the imaginations of the media outlets who performed the initial exposure. Vigilante justice is a tricky thing, with online anonymity leading to harsher consequences from a host of far-flung strangers exercising psychopathic levels of schadenfreude. Whose norms are we to enforce? Would Jezebel’s writers be comfortable knowing that the tactics it employed against racist teenagers have been used against abortion doctors?

The rise of the social web may be perceived as a re-villaging, where the permanence of one’s digital footprint behaves as a deterrent, making it seem to some like an ideal time to reintroduce public shaming to reinforce norms. But considered through a historical lens, public shaming begins to look like a tool designed not to humanely punish the perp but rather to satisfy the crowd.

This explains its resurgence. When has the crowd ever been bigger, or more thirsty for vengeance? The faceless Internet, with its shadowy cyberbullies and infinite display of every social ill is scary. And when it slithers its tentacles in a person’s life, we become desperate for some way to fight back—to shine light into the darkness and counterattack those who would victimize behind the veil of anonymity. But doxing, even just naming publicly-available names to channel outrage (or worse) at someone who has violated your norms, is not only an ineffective way to deal, it risks causing more harm than the initial offense. Last year’s trendy rise of media-sponsored shaming is self-righteousness masquerading as social justice. In many cases the targets deserve to be exposed and more, but public shaming does not drive social progress. It might make us feel better, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking we’ve made a positive difference.

…one could argue that Louis CK’s public shaming and humiliation was a punishment far beyond what anyone else found guilty of masturbating in front of work colleagues would pay yet Lizzie seems to want something more permanent and scarring to punish Louis with until she is personally satisfied he’s been punished enough.

Maybe it’s the nature of the virtue signalling outrage olympics on Social Media, something Rachel Stewart notes in her latest column on feminist oversharing that could easily have been called ‘the martyrdom of mummy bloggers‘ where personalised grievance trumps everything else or maybe it’s the result of how easily words on a screen can be twisted into a meaning that isn’t there.

We forget that the vast majority of communication between humans is tone and tone is lost in 240 characters online.

Here’s an example.

A couple of months ago TDB published a press release from a feminist group critical of self gender identification. We have a raw feed section of the blog that grabs press releases and publishes them, the bewilderingly angry backlash by Trans activists that the press release was published was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed on the blog and ended with 3 threats aimed at my daughter!

Ironically I noted on Twitter to the feminist whose press release caused threats to my kid about how the debate was so bitter…

… and for merely noting those threats, I was immediately branded transphobic…


…then I had activists from People Against Prisons Aotearoa take private messages I had sent them on the gender balance of their board and take that private correspondence online…

…the point I was making to PAPA was the vast majority of prisoners are male and could they represent that with a board dominated by woman.

Apparently this was transphobic of me.

(Note to any Government agency or NGO contacting PAPA, be warned they might take private correspondence and do the same to you.)

Beyond me noting threats against my kid from ridiculously militant Trans activists (which apparently makes me transphobic) and asking a Prisoner Rights organisation if they are representing the majority of prisoners, what is my actual opinion on transgender people and their rights?

Well I’ve stated it as clearly as I can

Call me old fashioned folks, but I kinda think the way a human being identifies gender wise is as intrinsic a human right as one’s sexual orientation or one’s race. The whole point of being free individuals in a free society is that you not only have the right to be who you are, but you have the freedom to be who you are.

If we acknowledge that our species is a spectrum within a spectrum, within a spectrum, then the idea that some men would identify as women and some women identify as men and some identify as neither and some identify as both is as uncontroversial as the range of eye and hair colour amongst the human race.

Of course there is a spectrum within gender and those who choose to identify beyond a binary view of it should not only be free to pursue that identity, they should have the same autonomy within society that anyone of us has to pursue that identity.

…believing that gender is a spectrum and that we should respect people how they self-identify and noting the debate is so bitter that I had threats made against my daughter apparently makes me transphobic. The irony here is that the radical feminists who were agreeing with me at the threatening militancy of the Trans activists will be beside themselves with rage that I actually support Trans rights.

I raise this issue because the manner and speed with which my words were twisted into meanings that were not there seems to exemplify all that is wrong with social media and the current woke lynch mobs who aggressively micro-aggression police it.

I’m not suggesting I have any solutions to these new online lynch mobs or how we tackle sexual harassment and abuse (although I think Dave Chappelle’s idea of a truth and reconciliation styled culture shift has a lot of merit) but I get this creepy feeling that the damage the Sensible Sentencing Trust has caused our justice system is simply being replaced with a new group wanting woke vengeance and that the outcome will be as counter productive as the current damaged version.


  1. Classic case of fatigue where somethings gone viral and backing it up becomes a struggle and some one thinks they’ve got to solve everything themselves. And when you get wild allegations that’s when it starts hurting and play with some ones mind and maybe there isn’t any trust and maybe there isn’t any integrity to knock off some criminals. So let’s not try and solve stuff by ourselves. There are people doing good things but the challenge is sustaining it.

    Media have got a lot to answer for. This was never a story. All the action was in all the inaction from authorities. These events outlined in the above blog isn’t a natural disaster like an earthquake. They’re man made catastrophe created by the system. There’s still a bit of feudalism and the only way to survive in feudal societies is to behave in away that leaders behave because there’s always somebody thats waiting to come and jump on if you fall off an leaders bandwagon of power and they need to consolidate that and stay in positions of power as long as they can and there’s a tendency to be a little ruthless or a lot ruthless.

    So in terms of prices and rhetoric because narrative always follows price. We are back to 1930’s levels of Great Depressions prices and political rhetoric that proceeded the crash. So inequality has become an issue again, migration has become a major issue again, tax cuts are also losing its ability to stimulate the economy. Already in New Zealand we are hearing consensus calls from economists and commentators for deficit spending and progressive taxation. We’ve been here before.

  2. The fact is that everyone in our culture is messed up to one degree or another and we all need to own up to our personal dysfunction. Unfortunately politics is all about pointing the finger at out groups and doesn’t seem to encourage things like personal development. We need some leadership on this issue in the same form as ex-racists who tell their story of their journey from being hard core racists to seeing the error of their ways.

    Maybe some ‘ex-woke vengeance seekers’ could come forward to publicly tell their story -to tell their journey about how they came to see they were hurting other people because a need for vengeance had crept into the entirely just desire to deal with social justice issues.

    I don’t imagine many readers of TDB will still be left reading thsi comment by now and those that are will laugh at me for calling this a real issue but I used to use Christians and Christianity as an out group and loved mentally collecting ‘evidence’ of their sins. I didn’t make a lot of noise about it but admitting to myself that I was doing it was a minor step in my growth as an individual. From what I see going on at the moment there are a lot of people being confronted with the opportunity for similar personal growth who aren’t quite recognising the moment 🙂

    All it took was some friendships with a few Christians to break down my beliefs. Once you get to know people well the subtle nuances of normal human relationships make rigid ideas impossible to hold on to.

  3. Witch trials, ufo sightings and abductions, mass hysteria, Communist witch hunts, Maori spiritualism gone crazy, general oversensitivity…my own theory is these things explode when people are feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

    Some people decide to self harm.
    Some people decide to try and harm anyone that unhappily comes into their field of vision.

    And seeing as the Salem witch trials occurred during the absolute worst weather of the entire Little Ice Age, maybe these current bones of contention are the result of deeply suppressed angst about the coming Global climate Change Apocalypse? Hey, why not?!

    • @siobhan: Really good comment. The climate horror, the negative effects of globalisation, the endless garbage spouted by world leaders, the wars, slaughtering and subsequent suffering and dispplacement of millions, the battiness of social media, none of these make for any sense of security or certainty. Few people ar able to wangle for themselves a secure job and home even if they get themselves in even greater debt to obtain a higher qualification than the one they are already in debt for.
      I don’t use social media but the twitter examples that Martyn Bradbury shows suggest to me nothing short of derangement. It doesn’t surprise me though, that people are going mad. For many there is nowhere else to go.

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