Canadian duo public speech ban raises controversy

Jonathan Mitchell

Wellington, July 8, 2018

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 yesterday morning, 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 yesterday.

“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.

“Yeah I think it is worthwhile just putting on record to the authorities. That could include the parliamentary security – that this threat has been received,” she said.

But the MP was not deterred from using social media after the experience.

“I will speak up because the voices that we want to promote and need for the future of our country and the world are voices who are inclusive and who speak with heart and passion for finding common ground – not voices who wedge us apart.”

Ms Davidson stood by her comments on Phil Goff’s ban and said the Canadian pair should stay away.

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.

Stirring up tensions

However, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff tweeted that venues should not be used to stir up ethnic or religious tensions and that Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux would not be speaking at any council venues.

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,” he said.

“It’s very sad for democracy and for debate.”

‘It doesn’t mean that we should ban them’

Human Rights Lawyer’s views

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’s a lot of their sort of talk worldwide at the moment and that’s attracting debate, people are getting educated on the issues and that’s 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 doesn’t mean that we should ban them.”

He said debate needed to happen in an educated and thoughtful way.

Mr Pellowe said it was too late to try and organise a new venue but they hoped to still host an evening with Ms Southern and Mr Molyneuax for New Zealanders via the internet.

He said those who had purchased tickets for the event at the Bruce Mason Centre would get a full refund.

Earlier this year, Ms Southern was banned from entering the UK on the grounds of her involvement “in the distribution of racist material in Luton,” according to the BBC.

‘She’s just going to insult all of us.’

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.

Left-Wing Ideology

“The bug of this almost very totalitarian left-wing ideology which will not end well for you.”

She said herself and Mr Molyneux would talk about a range of issues affecting New Zealand.

“Immigration, western culture, the preservation of western culture and largely the infectious liberal or far-left ideologies that are coming and working their way into our media and why they will lead to the economic, social and political fall of our nations.”

Ms Southern said what she had to say was not hate speech.

“[Hate speech] is just a fancy word to describe speech that is unpopular during that day and age,” she said.

“A few hundred years ago, I wouldn’t be able to question the divine rule of whatever God is in my land, I wouldn’t be allowed to be pro-gay or pro-mixed race marriages, today it’s you’re not allowed to be anti-mass migration, you’re not allowed to question crazy LGBTQ politics.”

‘Anti-immigrant, anti-refugees… anti-feminist’

Paul Spoonley

Massey University far-right expert and pro vice chancellor Paul Spoonley said some of what the pair say was considered hate speech.

“Some of the things that Molyneux has said about apartheid being a white survival policy and not a racial supremacist policy and then attacking some of the people who say it is something else … some of the things they say are really quite direct and would be very hateful to a number of communities,” Mr Spoonley said.

“They are a part of a broad coalition of people who at their soft end would be pro-Trump but at the hard end – which I regard both of these being – very white supremacist or believe in the racial superiority of white people, they believe that immigration undermines countries.

“They’re very anti-immigrant, anti-refugees and they’re anti-feminist.”

The Alt-Right Community

Mr Spoonley said there was an alt-right community within New Zealand but it was small.

He said banning people entry to New Zealand would need to meet a high threshold and the decision warranted a public discussion.

An Immigration New Zealand spokesperson said they were aware of the two Canadian nationals and was assessing whether any action needed to be taken under the Immigration Act and Immigration Instructions.

Mr Molyneux heads the organisation Freedomain Radio, an online group that was described as a cult.

Mr Molyneux has been contacted for comment.

Indian Newslink has published the above Reports and Pictures under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

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Photo Caption:

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