Sir Bob Jones threatens legal action against anti-racist petition

  • 11/02/2018

Sir Bob Jones has threatened legal action against filmmaker Renae Maihi, after she started a petition to have him stripped of his knighthood.

Some 40,000 signatories have reportedly endorsed the  petition, which follows Sir Bob's controversial National Business Review column calling for a Māori Gratitude Day to replace Waitangi Day as a national holiday.

NBR pulled the column, entitled 'Time for a Troll', shortly after it was posted online, but it had already created a public stir.

Ms Maihi, one of eight Māori female directors behind the feature film Waru, insisted Sir Bob should held accountable for his "hate speech", but the feisty former businessman, politician and boxing aficionado has come out swinging.

Sir Bob told RadioLIVE's Ryan Bridge that his column was clearly satirical and he would sue Ms Maihi for defamation.

"For God's sake, if anyone can take that literally, they've got serious problems," he said. "It's basically a mickey-take on issues of the day.

"I will be issuing proceedings against this woman for defamation, because I take particular exception when she uses the word 'hate'. I don't hate anyone."

NBR column
Sir Bob Jones' NBR column. Photo credit: Newshub

In the column, Sir Bob claimed, since there were no pure-blood Māori left, the culture should "bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens out of gratitude for existing".

Ms Maihi told Stuff that it was important to stand your ground and not accept racist rants.

"It's childish to say this is hate speech," insists Sir Bob. "It's obviously facetious.

"Breakfast in bed? Come on, grow up.

"We're going to serve notice on her - obviously I'd be seen as a bully if I sue her for a million dollars, so I'll sue her for, say, $20,000 - and she can have her day in court."

When asked if he feared for his knighthood, Sir Bob dismissed the possibility of losing it.

"I can tell you right now, it's not going to happen. You may as well ask me if I would be upset if my head fell off."