18 September 2013
Wellington mayoral candidate’s sexism not first offence
Wellington mayoral hopeful, Councillor John Morrison, yesterday apologised for his quip at the opening of the Wellington
Harbour City Rotary Club’s art awards function two weeks ago that has since seen allegations of sexism levelled at him.
Morrison reportedly told the packed charity art exhibition that he would be showering with one of the partially
body-painted models after the show to help wash off the paint. Reports of the event indicate that Morrison’s comments
were considered offensive and highly inappropriate by one identified model and many attendees. Mr Morrison is also
reported to have subsequently defended his comments with “I am a sportsman and we do tend to say stuff like that”.
This display of inappropriate behaviour is not a one-off for Morrison, says Stop Demand Foundation which addresses the
sexual denigration of women.
In 2007, the Broadcasting Standards Authority upheld a complaint against Morrison’s then employer The Radio Network. It
found that a “gratuitous and prolonged” sound track played by Morrison on a radio show, simulating sounds of a woman
having sex with a bull to advertise an NPC rugby final, breached standards of good taste and decency.
In its decision, the Authority considered “that the connotation of bestiality would have been offensive and distasteful to a significant number of listeners”. It also noted that “instead of ameliorating the impact of the soundtrack, the presenter’s subsequent remarks confirmed the implication of
bestiality”. Morrison is reported to have added: “My god is there nothing those people won’t get up to up there [in the Waikato]. I guess if you spend most of your life
looking at the back end of a cow it’s liable to affect you in the long run.”
Stop Demand’s founder, Denise Ritchie, said, “What was further troubling about that incident was that even after the BSA’s decision, the ‘counselled’ Morrison
reportedly continued to maintain his defence of the clip. This raises various ‘red flags’ around lack of insight and
arrogance, particularly on issues of sexism, misogyny and offensiveness to women and men who respect women.”
Stop Demand hopes this latest episode will have a positive spin-off. “These incidents show the true nature of the man,” says Denise Ritchie. “It’ll be up to Wellington voters to decide if a sexist relic from a bygone era is suited for the role of our capital
city’s future mayor.”
Stop Demand calls for action to stop sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexual denigration of women and children.
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