Oh dear. A complaint of sizeism – by the look of it – has been lodged with the Auckland Council.
It has been prompted by Councillor Linda Cooper calling some bloke a “judgmental little c**k” in a Facebook exchange of views about this weekend’s Pride Parade.
Actually, Alf strongly suspects the asterisks have been put into one of those four words because someone at Stuff doesn’t have the balls to stick to the word “cock”. Or (come to think of it) maybe it was “cask”?
Whatever it was, the word “little” was obviously deeply troubling to someone. Cooper clearly ought to have described the bloke as a bloody big judgmental cock (or cask, or c**k) to escape a fuss.
Furthermore, and regardless of whether asterisks were used in the original Facebook comment, Cooper’s own fragility has been exposed.
Alf makes this judgement with profound disappointment based on the apology she has seen fit to deliver, saying she never intended to upset the gay community.
No doubt this is so, but gays are much too apt to be delicate petals and much too prone to take offence where none was intended.
In this case, events that triggered the apology and the complaint began with a Facebook picture of Cooper accompanied by Alf’s colleagues, Melissa Lee and Alfred Ngaro, in the Pride Parade, which Alf understands is some sort of gay parade.
It so happens those two MPs opposed the the marriage equality bill, as did the member for Eketahuna North.
He has no urge to march in a gay parade but does not see why voting against gay marriage should preclude one’s entitlement to join a march of this sort.
Cooper ventured the view it was brave of the MPs to come out in support of the gays, despite the views of their Korean and Pacific Island constituents.
That’s when some plonker by name of Daniel O’Connor entered the fray, obviously determined to discredit the MPs and deny them a reputation for being bold.
He replied to Cooper that it looked as if the MPs were piggybacking on an achievement they tried to hold back.
Cooper retorted with some bloody good advice, telling him to “get a grip little boy”.
“When you grow up you will realise that life is not black and white. If you ever have the privilege of serving your country you will find it is not easy and difficult choices have to be made. Until then try not to be such a judgmental little c**k.”
What possessed her to subsequently send a statement of apology to media outlets is beyond Alf’s understanding.
“The conversation got heated. I was asking Daniel to desist from being a righteous rooster. That’s all. No anatomical references intended,” she said.
“The essence of this is that the Marriage Equality Bill was rightly passed. Some MPs voted against it. Do we need to persecute them forever for exercising their conscience vote or do we move on happy in the knowledge that the gay members of our community have this equal right.”
O’Connor is not so easily mollified and has said she should have apologised to him personally and not via the media.
He also said he has not complained to Auckland Council yet but intends to.
This puts him plainly in the delicate petals category, in Alf’s humble opinion.
He might not have formally complained to the council – but someone has.
The council confirmed today that it had received one code of conduct complaint regarding Cooper’s comments. “This will be looked into by the chief executive and managed in the usual way,” a spokesperson said.
Section 5.8 of Auckland Council’s code of conduct for elected members states: “Members should treat others, including council officers, with respect at all times. This means not using derogatory terms towards others, or about others, including in public-facing new media;… observing the rights of other people; treating people with courtesy…”
O’Connor is reported to be continuing to question Lee and Ngaro’s presence at the parade (as does Alf, by the way, but for different reasons).
“Why would they be brought into it when there are so many other better people, like Maurice Williamson who made that famous gay rainbow speech?
“It just seems to be more like it’s a photo opportunity and just a place to get free exposure.”
Exposure is a word Alf would have avoided, in a silly fuss about a little c**k.