18 June 2018
Fundraiser launched for filmmakers’ defence fund against Bob Jones
Community campaigning organisation ActionStation have launched a Givealittle fundraising campaign in support of filmmaker and mum Renae Maihi.
Earlier this year, Maihi launched an online petition that gathered more than 70,000 signatures asking Parliament for the removal of business mogul Sir Bob Jones’ knighthood.
The petition followed a now-removed National Business Review column in which Jones proposed a “Māori Gratitude Day” in place of Waitangi Day where Māori would serve non-Māori out of “gratitude for existing”.
The column was widely described as “racist” by many, including a National Party MP. Last week, the hashtag “#BobJonesIsARacist” was also trending as people took to Twitter to express their views.
Jones is now suing Maihi for defamation. He also sent Waikato University Professor Leonie Pihama a ‘cease and desist’ type letter for a Tweet in which she described Jones’ column as “racist”.
As Andrew Geddis, Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago, points out on Twitter, “The targets of both [of Bob Jones' threats to sue for defamation] have been Māori wahine who speak out strongly on te tino rangatiratanga. Yet if you want to go looking for people who have called Bob Jones a "racist", you can find lots of examples.”
If Maihi loses the suit, she could have to cover Sir Bob’s legal fees.
“We think that’s wrong and have launched a Givealittle crowdfunding campaign to tautoko (support) Renae.” says ActionStation Director, Laura O’Connell Rapira.
“Bob Jones is one of New Zealand’s wealthiest men and he is throwing huge sums of money at this fight. Renae is a grassroots filmmaker and mum. We must show her our support.”
ActionStation supported Maihi for the petition delivery to Labour MP Kiritapu Allan in March.
You can visit the Givealittle fundraising page here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/legal-fund-for-renae-maihi