Not in my name, Paul Henry

Paul Henry must go - TVNZ is culpable if it nurtures this culture of bullying any longer

Paul Henry is a bully who should be fired forthwith. His latest insult aimed at the Governor General is an insult to all Indians, and to all New Zealanders of whatever background who don’t wish to be identified with such racist abuse.

His employer, TVNZ, should also be held to account for their ongoing defence of the indefensible.

The statement by TVNZ spokesperson Andi Brotherston yesterday, widely reportedthat "he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud" assumes that all of us want to be identified with Mr Henry’s attitudes.

Far from it.

I suspect the vast majority of us, from whatever part of the political spectrum, do not want to be associated with his ongoing abuse of women, people with disabilities, and people from ethnic backgrounds other than Mr Henry’s own.

It is a disgrace that no-one in a politically powerful position appears to be calling for his sacking.

John Key was with Mr Henry yesterday when he made his remarks about Sir Anand Satyanand. Why didn’t he immediately leave the studio and make a statement calling for his dismissal?

And where is Labour leader Phil Goff on this? Does Henry have such power that even some of the most influential people in the country are worried that either they won’t get a return invite to Breakfast or that they’ll be subjected to vitriolic abuse themselves?

TVNZ’s ongoing defence of Henry every time he mounts an outrageous insult on yet another guest seems to be that he pulls in the ratings.

Indeed he does, but I’ll bet you anything that there are any number of other people who could take on Henry’s job on Breakfast tomorrow and quickly build a similar audience in this juicy spot.

Interesting, provocative current affairs television does not need to make fun of women, ethnic minorities, or people with impairments to be successful.

I’d be delighted to apply for the job myself, and I’m sure there’s be many others who’d happily queue for the chance to give Henry’s ratings record a run for its money.

One of the worst aspects of Paul Henry’s carry on is that he is purely and simply a bully.

There are huge problems with bullying in our schools, homes and workplaces.

Unionists with whom I work tell me that there is an epidemic in workplace bullying, particularly against the most vulnerable people, for example migrants; people on short term contracts; and beneficiaries who are being forced into low paid, part time work.

This bullying by bosses often takes the form of derogatory comments about the way people look – so similar to Henry’s shameful attack on Stephanie Mills from Greenpeace last year.

This culture is fed by public figures who insist that bullying is just a bit of a joke.

Invariably when unions challenge bosses over this behaviour they’ll say they are only joking.

Henry doesn’t say what the rest of us are quietly thinking – he says what the bullies believe.

No one should have the sort of power Henry has to intimidate and abuse the comparatively less powerful on television, over and over again.

If he was replaced by someone competent, within a week most of the population would have forgotten who he was.

TVNZ needs to make up its mind whether it wants to be a reputable public broadcaster or a clone of Fox News.