Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Digging a deeper hole

Yesterday afternoon, racist TVNZ presenter Paul Henry issued the usual non-apology "apology" for his questioing the citizenship and moral worth of non-Pakeha New Zealanders. He didn't apologise for being offensive, just for having caused offence. In other words, he accepts no responsibility for his actions, and instead blames his critics.

Today he topped that with an on-air "apology" which again minimised his behaviour ("I certainly didn't intend to sound racist"), then insulted and denigrated Roma. For those who don't realise, "gypo" is a perjorative, akin to "nigger". And while he claimed to be half-Roma, it was contrasted in a way which made it seem like that was something to be ashamed of ("the truth is much, much worse than that"). In effect, Henry "apologised" by saying

The Governor-General is a very distinguished man, and I am just a nigger.
That's not an apology. Its not funny. Its just more racism.

According to the Dim-Post, there will be protests outside TVNZ's Auckland and Wellington studios at 17:00 today. If you think racism doesn't belong on state TV, then go along and let TVNZ know what you think. And while you're at it, contact Heritage Hotels - Breakfast's main advertiser - and let them know that their sponsorship of Henry's racism tarnishes their brand, and that you won't be using their services if it continues. TVNZ has made it clear they employ Henry to be outrageous because he's good for ratings and advertising. If we want it to stop, we need to change that equation.