I've been watching this issue unfold since it was first announced by the publicity and promotions company Markson Sparks! that they were bringing World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Mike Tyson, to Australia and New Zealand in November 2012 to speak about his life. Tyson is reported to have said, "I'm so excited to be visiting Australia and New Zealand for the first time. I have lots of friends there and look forward to meeting all my fans."
Sorry Mr Tyson but lots of people don't like you. Or what you stand for.
Normally convicted rapists wouldn't get a visa into Aotearoa/New Zealand
but National MP for Waimakariri, Kate Wilkinson, had decided to allow
for a dispensation for Tyson, but this dispensation was revoked on the
3rd of October after the youth charity which originally backed his
appearance at the Auckland event no longer wanted to have anything to
do with the visit. The promoters [apparently determined to inflict us
with this unrepentant rapist] applied for a new visa after a second
community group, the Manakau Urban Authority, said it would support the
application in exchange for him talking to at-risk youth.
I'm fascinated (in a horrified way) with this take on Mike Tyson by one Michael Woods who writes,
"he has done the emotional and spiritual reconstruction to the extent
that his misdeeds are now seen as the missteps of wayward youth ... a
time period which perhaps lasted a decade or two longer than the average
tenure as a teen troublemaker."
Rape described as a misstep of wayward youth? Really? I would think
describing rape as an act of brutal violence a more realistic appraisal.
I think Metiria Turei (co-leader of the Greens Party) states the position perfectly for New Zealand women.
She says, "When Maori men endorse an unrepentant rapist like Mike
Tyson, it hurts women. [Former Labour MP] John [Tamihere] and [Urban
Maori Authority] Willie [Jackson] should be standing up for their
sisters, mothers, and daughters and fighting to keep Tyson out. Tyson
has repeatedly denied the rape he was convicted of in 1992 and
continued to reveal hateful, misogynistic views about women. As
recently as two months ago Tyson spoke about calling his one man show,
which supposedly details how he has turned his life around, Boxing,
Bitches and Lawsuits. He has joked about Sarah Palin being raped."
Turei further argues, "When Maori male leaders tell
young Maori that men like Tyson are role models it puts young Maori
men, and the women they care about at risk. One in four women suffer
sexual abuse and Maori women are even more at risk. John and Willie
should be standing up for their sisters, mothers, and daughters and
fighting to keep Tyson out. The Green Party believes
in restorative justice, the ability for offenders to acknowledge the
harm they have done and turn their lives around [but] Tyson has
repeatedly denied the rape he was convicted of and reveals himself as an
angry, violent man."
I'd like to make these points.
There are a lot of people out there in the world who do bad things to to
other people, get convicted, and then get rehabilitated. I get that. I
believe in rehabilitation. Most of the time I don't think enough is
done to rehabilitate prisoners. But let's get just the rules clear. Mike
Tyson got a dispensation purely because he is famous. Metiria Turei's
statement makes it very clear that the jury should still be out on
whether Mike Tyson is truly rehabilitated and repentant. It doesn't
sound like it.
Another thing. I am quite sure we have plenty of rehabilitated criminals
in our own country without bring some other country's rapist in. To
motivate our youth. Words fail ...
Oh and by the way, Tickets to attend this awesome motivational
speechifying from Mike Tyson were going to cos $69NZ. So our wayward
Kiwi youth were going to have to have plenty of dollars to spare had
this ridiculous charade gone ahead. Which it isn't, thank goodness. The
second visa application has been denied.