OPINION: I'm writing this to explain why Newshub ran footage of a man depositing half a pig's head at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch.
The man was Phil Arps, the year was 2016, and his aim was to offend and intimidate Muslims. The footage, which was sourced relatively easily by our reporters from a dark nook of the internet, shows Arps packing the pig's head with cabbage in a box marked 'Fiji' and leaving it at the mosque door. Arps and another man give a Nazi salute before walking off.
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I know Newshub will be criticised for running this video. We will be accused by some of playing into the hands of the supremacists, and doing it cynically for our own gain.
My judgment is that showing the video is necessary.
I can tell you there is a subculture of white supremacy in New Zealand. I can tell you that this subculture is disturbingly entwined with internet culture and that it seems to be in the process of metastasizing, moving online to offline. I can say any number of troubling words. They are just words, and sometimes words on their own have little power.
But if you see and hear the man yourself, everything changes. You register his particular arrogance, his big-bellied strut, you see his ludicrous 'white power' salute and comic offsider, and realise that, amazingly, he is for real. The man has found through the internet enough fellow believers to bring his feeble ideology into the world.
You pay attention. Without your attention, the story is pointless.
This is a matter of degree. We have only run a section of the Arps footage. We cut the part where he smears pig brains on his hands and lips before his trip to the mosque. We cut the majority of the anti-semitic bile we found online.
We have run what we think we need to make you pay attention and understand that white supremacy is alive and dangerous in this country. In this decision we are supported by many Muslims, including the leadership of the Al Noor Mosque and the President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.
These Muslim leaders have been concerned about people like Arps for many years. While they have kept their mosque doors open, they have left themselves exposed to danger. Arps wrote 'Fiji' on the box because the Al Noor Mosque was collecting food to send to the victims of Cyclone Winston that had just devastated the country.
Not all offensive videos can be avoided. Sometimes it is necessary to overturn rocks and look steadily at what's underneath. Over the next week, Newshub's National Correspondent Patrick Gower will continue the investigation.
Hal Crawford is the Chief News Officer at Newshub.