Patrick Gower: I was not 'destroyed' by Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux

OPINION: So Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux reckon they "destroyed" me.

Apparently, Southern "left me speechless", "rekt" me and rendered me "basically a broken man", according to their promoter, Caolan Robertson.

Trust me - I am not broken. And I am far from wrecked.

But, yes, I will admit I was left speechless by Southern.

When I asked her if New Zealand's diversity made it a weak country, she responded by asking me if I would "accept the diverse view that women should be stoned for the crime of being raped".

This is an absurd response. At the time, I was actually struggling to comprehend it. So yes, I was speechless - for around three-and-a-half seconds, as the video shows (although it felt longer when it happened as I struggled to decipher what she was saying).

Because when I talk about "diversity", I am talking about New Zealand as a melting pot.

Patrick Gower was not DESTROYED or REKT by Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux.
Photo credit: Twitter / Stefan Molyneux / Caolan Robertson

To me, "diversity" means a country built by explorers, by people who come here from every corner of the world to make a life for themselves. It means accepting the cultures of others and growing that acceptance through common decency.

To me the concept of "diversity" does not mean accepting the worst of the world's extremes. It means making the best of everything in between.

So I was quite taken aback by Southern's response - which of course was designed to shock. There is nothing clever about this "tactic", it's actually pretty juvenile.

Molyneux's complaint is that I "shut him down" - and I happily admit that too. He went off on a rant, a self-serving monologue with no relevance to the question.

The only reason I did that was because he was deliberately hijacking things, and I was thinking of the audience - there's no conspiracy in that. He had a fair chance to answer the simple question concisely, but he launched into a lengthy lecture instead. I felt he was being disrespectful to the audience, and moved him on.

I am also more than happy to admit that Southern and Molyneux got on top of me. So what? They do that for a living, it's their job.

I hadn't spent much time preparing, I hadn't read their stuff thoroughly and I am happy to admit I don't spend any time thinking about whether different races have different IQs and the like. I was not ready for their intellectual nit-picking - and I never will be. It's not the way I roll.

I never thought they should have been blocked from speaking, I think censorship is a last resort.

And this was not a debate where I was out to 'win' or 'lose'. I was not debating them, I was interviewing them. 

Patrick Gower says diversity is not accepting the worst of the world's extremes, but making the best of everything in between.
Photo credit: Newshub.

The reason for their interview was because their event had been shut down - that is a news story and I am a journalist. We extended Southern and Molyneux the courtesy of an interview about that. But they chose to take that courtesy and twist it.

From the moment they arrived at Newshub, I had a feeling what was coming. They just had a very confrontational vibe, which was a bit scary - it is not the Kiwi way.

They weren't very interested in being interviewed by me and they did not debate me - they went after me in a machine-gun speed verbal attack. I found their way of doing that at times absurd and disrespectful.

That's my opinion - and they do believe in free speech, don't they?

Patrick Gower is Newshub's National Correspondent