Safety Warehouse owner Andrew Thorn doesn't regret fake $100,000 cash drop

Thorn says he has been portrayed as a "villain" by the media ever since.
Thorn says he has been portrayed as a "villain" by the media ever since. Photo credit: Newshub/John Murphy

The owner of The Safety Warehouse says he doesn't regret the fake $100,000 cash drop, calling the event "well-intentioned".

More than 1000 people gathered at the promotional event at Auckland's Aotea Square last Saturday, where The Safety Warehouse said it would give away $100,000.

The online store advertised the event as a "live cash giveaway" where "actual money will be flying from the sky". 

Most of the money turned out to be discount vouchers made to look like $5 notes, with Thorn's face on them.

The fake $5 notes.
The fake $5 notes. Photo credit: John Murphy

The company was widely criticised after anger, confusion and violence broke out in the crowd. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called on organisers to apologise

While Thorn, 28, said he did not regret the cash drop, he does regret people's reaction to it.

"The intention was to bring joy," he told Stuff. "The event was a complete cash loss. There was no profiteering from it. It was purely to give back."

Thorn said he had been portrayed as a "villain" by the media ever since. 

"I'm not a tinfoil hat wearer, I'm not a sociopath, I'm none of those personalities, hand on heart I can say I'm not. There's a 'bring Andrew Thorn down' narrative in the media. I don't understand what public interest there is in my previous stuff on the backbone of the Safety Warehouse's storm that's come out. But here we are."

In 2016, Thorn allegedly tried to run a former business associate down in his car. He was charged with assault with a blunt instrument, driving in a dangerous manner and failing to give information about a driver. He was ordered to pay the woman $2500, Stuff reported.

In the last six years, several companies associated with Thorn have been removed from the Companies Office register - a few even placed into liquidation.

The Commerce Commission has launched an investigation into whether representations about the $100,000 cash drop breached the Fair Trading Act, which prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct.