CONSIDER THE very public humiliation of Today FM talkback hosts Leah Panapa and Miles Davis. One moment they are defending the right to describe women as pregnant and dismissing a Gender ideology that insists that we can now only talk of 'pregnant people'. Less than twenty four hours later they are offering up contrite apologies for what Stuff, displaying its usual bias, describes as a 'toxic on-air rant'.
Panapa had previously commented that 'Sometimes I think this is how I’m gonna lose my job – because I would refuse to read out the words ‘pregnant people’. She was obviously well aware of what might be coming down the line. Behind the scenes, Mediaworks management almost certainly made Panapa and Davis an offer they felt they could not refuse; apologise or be sacked.
Mediaworks effectively hung Panapa and Davis out to dry. Dallas Gurney, Director of News and Talk, has displayed little regard for the right of the two presenters to express their own opinions. Apparently freedom of speech is whatever Today FM thinks it is. The station's listeners might like to reflect on that.
Gurney also thought he was an entirely within his rights to speak on behalf of Panapa and Davis.
'Once Leah and Miles were made aware of the impact of what they said, they were devastated about those they have hurt,' he declared.
Really? Who did they hurt exactly? And what does he mean when he says they were 'hurt?' It is more than likely that Gurney has made this all up, and Panapa and Davis aren't going to be disagreeing with their boss anytime soon. And none of their colleagues, like Tova O'Brien and Duncan Garner, have come to their defence.
Dallas Gurney and Mediaworks may well have been worried they would lose accreditation with Rainbow Rick if they did not act to shut Panapa and Davis down. Launched in 2013 Rainbow Tick operates on its own assumption that it speaks for the entire country on matters of gender. The 'Rainbow Tick' is the certification an organisation receives if it is deemed to encourage gender diversity in the workplace.
Mediaworks is a Rainbow Ticket approved organisation having received its certification in 'diversity and inclusion'. But, as critics have pointed out, most organisations practice such 'diversity and inclusion' anyway - without having to be formally approved and watched over by Rainbow Tick.
And Rainbow Tick has demonstrated that it is more than willing to use accreditation as a baton to beat organisations over the head with when they threaten to disobey its orders.
In 2019 it warned that Massey University's accreditation would have to be 'reviewed' if it allowed an event, Feminism 2020, to take place on one of its sites.
The organisers of the event, Speak Up for Women, said it was upset and angry that Rainbow Tick was harassing Massey University to suppress its democratic right to free speech.
O'Brien said that the claims that Speak Up for Women and the Feminism 2020 speakers were transphobic were 'both false and malicious.'
'This is not hate, it is women attempting to assert our rights in what should be a democratic society' said O'Brien. 'Instead, we are being silenced by activists and lobby groups who bully businesses and institutions with threats of withdrawal of ‘rainbow capital’. Well, a ‘rainbow tick’ that is conditional on you silencing lesbians is a pretty meaningless concept, in my opinion.'
At the root of it all is gender ideology, the idea that everyone has something called a 'gender identity', and that this identity is more important than one's biological sex. Once a relatively fringe cultural and academic idea, it has come almost completely dominant to the point that it made its way into the 2023 Census.
Liberals and many on the left have embraced gender ideology because they have mistakenly identified it as 'progressive'. It isn't. The idea that 'woman' and 'man' should be thought of as social categories and not simple descriptors of biological reality is fundamentally regressive.
But such is the climate of opinion, those who dare to oppose the claims of gender ideology are invariably smeared as 'reactionary' and 'transphobic'. This would have been the fate of Leah Panapa and Miles Davis had they not been required to see the error of their ways. They have been ordered by Mediaworks to undergo 'training' with Rainbow Tick where they will be required to be cleansed of their wrong thinking.
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