I recently left The Daily Blog (TDB) after being on board since the launch of the site early this year.
I enjoyed writing for TDB, and loved being in the company of people like Marama Davidson, Julie Fairey, Latifa Daud, James (4) Dann and others.
I did not enjoy being in the company of Chris ‘feminists undermine the greater picture’ Trotter. When he posted this blog about how Grant Robertson effectively manufactures homophobia against him, and anyone suggesting we stop discussing his sexuality is attempting to censor others, it was my final straw.
Trotter’s decision to copy and paste the private Facebook status of Rebecca Matthews, and mention her workplace and union affiliations, was out of line. Not only was he using the Facebook status of someone who isn’t a Party spokesperson in the slightest to illustrate his gay-agenda-laden conspiracy theory crap, he was dropping her employers in it for good measure.
The ironic thing is, I think the vitriol aimed at Jenny Michie was out of line. I don’t think it was a dog whistle, I think it was a disappointed acknowledgement that the Party still has far to go.
But Trotter’s post is lazy blogging, it’s unethical blogging, and frankly, mentioning someone’s workplace is threatening and dangerous blogging.
Bomber, as editor of TDB, should have picked this up. In the least, he should have been receptive to people’s issues with the post, and considered retrospectively editing. He basically should have done anything but respond to people’s concerns with questioning why they wanted to “defend” Rebecca Matthews. Which is what happened when I tried.
I also attempted to raise the issue with Trotter himself, by commenting the following on his post:
Firstly, implying Grant fabricated his own homophobic bullying is cheap, offensive and indicative of someone who loathes “identity politics” with an almost beautifully ironic self-fellating rhetoric. Critiquing people for stooping to new lows and creating divisions while doing the exact same thing. Congrats, you win today’s logic prize.
Secondly, Rebecca Matthews is not a Labour Party member. She is not a spokesperson or portfolio holder for the Party, or any leadership campaign in any capacity.
Several deliberately public discussions on Grant’s sexuality and the Michie issue have occurred on blogs, Twitter and Labour forums by ACTUAL MEMBERS.
Your choice to trawl the private Facebook page of a non-member, quote her online and mention her workplace and employment affiliations is completely fucking unacceptable. It’s creepy, it’s lazy and most of all it’s irrelevant.
If your irrelevance as a political commentator wasn’t already obvious by your refusal to see value in “individual politics” (things that separate people from that fun homogenous group of old, white, straight, able-bodied cis men), it’s obvious by quoting someone’s private Facebook conversation to enable this blog post.
A post in which you accuse someone of imagining homophobia at a university in 1992.
Bomber blocked this comment, and told me it was “abusive”. I’m not sure if he’s read any of the blogs I’ve published for him, but this is totally in line with the tone of many of my more pissed off rants. It’s also nothing compared to Bomber’s own posts half the time.
With an underlying sense that I couldn’t in good conscience continue to be part of a blog that felt publishing the workplace of female activists Chris Trotter disagreed with was fair game, I resigned.
Bomber was disappointed, as was I. The sad thing is, I used to adore Bomber. I would sit up every Sunday night and listen to him on Channel Z with earplugs connected to my radio so my mum wouldn’t tell me off for being up late.
He was the only person that teenage me had heard getting angry about things that mattered. He is pretty much directly responsible for me being an activist.
What I don’t adore is the inconsistency of his posts or the extremity and political naivety in his posts. The latest being a lecture about how Labour shouldn’t criticise the Greens, which descends into a thinly veiled attack on me and the people who were happy to see me resign from TDB because of their lack of respect for Bomber. He’s having a go at Green supporters in a post about how people shouldn’t have a go at the Greens.
I’m so disappointed that my issues with Trotter’s post were dismissed as personality politics. I’m also disappointed a similar thing happened when I raised that his post of a naked Stephanie Key with John Key’s face was really gross, a week earlier. He took it down, but not before telling me people’s concerns with it were just Wellington lefties being jealous of flashy Aucklanders. I have no idea how on earth that’s relevant.
Since resigning, a public speaking gig Bomber invited me to take part in has been rescinded, and it’s clear he feels the people complaining about his posts or behaviour are some kind of pitch fork wielding mob.
I’m not interested in pitch forks. I’m not okay with any kind of personal abuse or bullying. I am, however, always going to advocate for holding the people who supposedly speak for me as a left wing activist in Aotearoa, to account.
I have been held to account, sometimes more brutally than I could imagine, but if the critique is coming from your own camp, ignoring it isn’t an option.
This critique, from what I’ve seen, hasn’t been brutal. It’s been people disappointed and angry at Bomber and Trotter, and people weighing in on a site that holds both good commentary and disjointed extremism. It’s people wanting the loud voices of the left to be better.
Apparently that makes me and others “emerald stormtroopers”. Which is pretty disappointing, because if Bomber is the rebel alliance here, the Republic is fucked.