Canadian duo public speech ban raises controversy

Jonathan Mitchell

Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson says death and rape threats have been directed at her after comments she made on social media.

The MP posted on Facebook on July 7, 2018 supporting Auckland mayor Phil Goff’s decision to ban two controversial Canadian speakers from Auckland Council venues.

Mayor Intervenes

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who are known for their far-right alternative views on everything from feminism, gender and immigration to Islam, were set to speak at the Bruce Mason Centre on August 3.

However, Mr Goff said that the venues should not be used to stir up ethnic or religious tensions and Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux would not be speaking at any Council venues.

Vile threats on Facebook

Marama Davidson said ‘vile’ comments about death and rape were made by supporters of the Canadian pair on her Facebook post.

“Quite a lot of tears from supporters of the two…some quite vile disgusting death threats to me, my children…some rape threats and people just calling me the most disgusting names and abuse you could probably imagine.”

She deleted the comments straight away because she did not want the wider public to get offended by what was written.

Complaints to Police

But she was now trying to recover the messages so she could give them to the Police.

Jonathan Mitchell is a Journalist at Radio New Zealand.

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Event Organiser says decision is a blow to democracy

The following report by RNZ Journalist Emma Hatton was published on July 6, 2018:

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who are best known for their far-right alternative views on everything from feminism, gender and immigration to Islam, were set to perform at the Bruce Mason Centre on August 3, 2018.

Auckland Live which runs the centre as well as the Auckland Town Hall, Aotea Centre and Civic Centre, tweeted the event had been cancelled because of security concerns.

The event organiser said the decision was disappointing and a blow for democracy.

Misinterpretation alleged

David Pellowe from Axiomatic said Mr Goff had the wrong idea about what the pair wanted to talk about.

“He has misrepresented the purpose of the events as to stir up ethnic and religious tensions. He has misrepresented them as views that divide rather than unite. It is very sad for democracy and for debate. It does not mean that we should ban them,” he said.

However, Human Rights Criminal Law Barrister Craig Tuck said the pair should be allowed to come to New Zealand and talk about their ideas.

“There is a lot of their sort of talk worldwide at the moment and that is attracting debate, people are getting educated on the issues and that is not probably a good thing. This sort of discussion is alive whether we like it or not.”

Mr Tuck said dangerous ideas were not the same as dangerous people.

“You have got people annunciating political and social views but they are not specifically coming to New Zealand to commit crimes, they are coming to New Zealand to spread ideas – however hateful they may be. They are undeniably racist but it does not mean that we should ban them.”

Muslims worried

The Islamic community voiced their opposition to the visit last month.

New Zealand Federation of Islam Associations President Hazim Arafeh said it had written letters to the Immigration Minister, Minister for Ethnic Communities and the Human Rights Commission asking for Lauren Southern to be denied entry.

“[She] abuses her right of freedom of speech. She’s just going to give a talk in which she’s just going to insult all of us,” Mr Arafeh said.

“I don’t think insulting Muslims comes under free speech, that’s an abuse of freedom of speech.

“I’m talking on behalf of 50,000 to 60,000 Muslims in New Zealand who are going to face a very hard time by all the comments she is going to make.”

A petition with more than 1500 signatures has also been launched on change.org appealing to the Immigration Minister to deny Lauren Southern entry.

However, Ms Southern, who is a journalist, activist and film-maker, said that she should be allowed to enter New Zealand.

“As soon as there are people who want to shut down free speech and freedom to come and even visit your nation just because of a differing opinion you can tell you have got the bug of progressivism,” Ms Southern said.

Indian Newslink has published the above Reports and Pictures under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz. The above Reports are highly edited versions. For full text, please visit www.indiannewslink.co.nz

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Photo:

  1. Lauren Southern (Photo: Supplied to RNZ)
  2. Marama Davidson (Photo: VNP/ Phil Smith)

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