Best of Newshub Sport 2018: Sonny Bill Williams blasts Heather Du Plessis-Allan over Pacific Islands 'leeches' remark

This story originally ran on September 19.

All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has become the latest high-profile figure to take aim at radio host Heather Du Plessis-Allan for her controversial comments regarding Pacific Islanders.

The Newstalk ZB host called Pasifikas "leeches" on New Zealand in response to Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern's decision to visit Nauru.

"They are nothing but leeches on us. The Pacific Islands wants money from us," she told listeners earlier this month.

She referred to the island as a "hell hole" and said it was not worth a Pacific Forum Leaders' Meeting, because the Pacific Islands "don't matter". 

On Wednesday, Williams took to social media to voice his thoughts on Du Plessis-Allan's "bigoted remarks".

"It's disheartening to see that in 2018 we're still dealing with people in the media who think it's okay to make such bigoted remarks," Williams wrote in a Twitter post.

"I don't care what the 'context' was - calling Polynesians 'Leeches' is not okay - period."

The 34-year-old continued with a reference to South African-born Du Plessis-Allan's own immigrant background.

"Heather Du Plessis-Allan, I trust NZ has been good for you since you migrated here."

Du Plessis-Allan moved with her family to New Zealand, from her native South Africa, when she was 12 years old.

Williams joins Hollywood actor Sam Neill in a growing chorus of outrage directed at Du Plessis-Allan.

"How far can you take offensiveness and utter stupidity?" Neill tweeted on Tuesday.

Michelle A'Court, Oscar Kightley and Tim Lambourne have also denounced the journalist's choice of words.

It's prompted a string of support from Williams' followers on Twitter.

"Wholeheartedly agree SBW, some have extremely narrow minded opinions and thoughts, to come from someone in the media is totally unacceptable," wrote Iain.

"Exactly she needs to remember that this country has been a pacific island nation for thousands of years including its indigenous people," added Kaniela.

Others accused the part-time boxer of misinterpreting Du Plessis-Allan's comments.

"You don't care about context? Huh?" wrote user Dr. Gonzo.
"The quote is a political comment, aimed at the governments of Pacific nations.

"Her opinion is we give too much money. Her opinion is not controversial.

"Her opinion is not about any individual pacific person." 

Du Plessis-Allan defended her comments and insisted she was referring to the Pacific Island governments, not its people.

"I will double down on this," she said on-air. "I do not regret what I said, because I was not talking about people living in this country or the people themselves."