Nicola Owen and Paul Brown
All decent New Zealanders are celebrating over the news of Paul Henry’s resignation. Henry resigned in the face of growing outrage over his racist comments. TV bosses and the PM originally stood by Henry. This shows their unwillingness to stand up to bigotry.
Socialist Aotearoa was right to lead a protest of anti-racist activists outside the TVNZ studios last week following the racist remarks made by Paul Henry in his interview with Prime Minister John Key on Monday 4 October, and to call for him to be sacked.
Henry asked Key if Sir Anand was "even a New Zealander".
Henry then went on to ask Key about his next choice of Governor General: "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time? Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"
This response by TVNZ was wholly inadequate. People have a right to their own opinions, but Henry is a paid employee of a state subsidised TV company. Our taxes should not be used so that this right-wing bigot can pedal his racist filth on national TV.
This is not the first time Henry has used his TV show to abuse other people. Henry gave a half-hearted apology earlier this year for disablist remarks he made about singer Susan Boyle and the Indian Government have lodged a formal complaint about racist remarks he made to an official of that Government. Each time he uses his position of power to make racist, sexist or disablist comments, he helps to legitimise every playground and workplace bully.
The bosses want to set New Zealanders against each other by creating a false distinction between “real” and “other” New Zealanders. TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis originally said that Henry speaks for most New Zealanders. This is not the case. In schools and workplaces up and down the country, people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, men and women, straight and gay, disabled and non-disabled people work side by side. By contrast, Henry represented the racist bullying bosses who seek to divide us.
Across the country, workers were appalled and angry at Henry’s remarks.
Socialist Aotearoa calls on all unions to continue to be vigilant to keep racism off our screens.
Workers will not be divided by racist scum like Henry. United we stand, divided we fall.