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Whaledump and Whale Oil - a gay reading

Sun 24 Aug 2014 In: Features View at Wayback View at NDHA

It's been an interesting week in politics as revelations centred on the Whale Oil political blog contained in investigative journalist Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics have been aired, and with the subsequent publishing of some of the Facebook conversations on which the book is based. Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater (Pic: TV3) To save you the unsavoury task of picking your way through the Whaledump of hacked Facebook messaging between National Party-aligned Cameron Slater and his associate Simon Lusk for gay-related content - and the even more unsavoury task of trawling through his historical Whale Oil posts and the comments arising - we've done the job for you. Although the Facebook messages from early 2011 between Slater and Lusk are mostly remarkable for their casual homophobic slurs there are some interesting gay-related bits. One-time Queer Nation researcher/presenter and tabloid paparazzo Jonathan Marshall, referred to in Hager's book as being a friend of Slater, is briefly mentioned as making an enquiry of Slater. More direct but still not earth-shattering is Slater's sending to political fixer Lusk, who Hager portrays as working to manipulate National electoral candidate selections in an ever more socially conservative direction, a link to a posting by politics and religion commentator Craig Young. Referring to Young's highlighting some worrying relationships between National, the anti-gay Christian Maxim Institute and the selection of National candidates, Slater tells Lusk "the homo post on gaynz is beautiful." Slater was a supporter of marriage equality and appears to have no time for religious fundamentalists and social conservatives such as Family First. He spots Young's determination to regularly expose the nexus between religious intolerance, conservative politics and anti-gay initiatives, telling Lusk the next day "my campaign agaisnt teh [sic] god botherers... is growing momentum even GayNZ has taken it up." Young, though, had been commenting on this subject on for many years. Suggesting Young was following a Slater/Whale Oil initiative is drawing a fairly long bow. Enigmatically, Lusk responds: "you have cred now, that fiscally responsible approach to the gay mardi gras... that will serve you in good stead." Later, Lusk asks Slater to "bash this c**t" [asterisks inserted by] with a link to a Greens party blog by Gareth Hughes about the post-earthquakes support provided by Canterbury students and initiated by gay student Sam Johnson. Apparently referring to Johnson, who has political aspirations, Lusk says "sam is a client, he will pay off long term [sic]." It's worth noting that Johnson has now responded that although Lusk had advised him on his community board campaign and had been one of his political mentors the swirling allegations surrounding Slater, Lusk and others as depicted in Hager's book have left him disgusted with politics. And, by the by, 'c**t' is definitely one of the pair's more-favoured and often-used expletives. The very gentlemanly and eloquently pro-marriage equality National MP Chris Auchinvole, who has bowed out of Parliament, makes an intriguing appearance in the Slater/Lusk conversation: Slater: "Does Auchinvole pay?" Lusk: "Not well... need to talk to him..." Moments later, as the pair talk about various election candidates' prospects Lusk reminds Slater to characterise the Labour Party as having too many glbti MPs and candidates. "definitely mention there is no role for straight white males in the modern labour party", he says, and follows up with: "also keep going on about the straight white males missing out on decent list position." Then the conversation drops into using the word 'gay' as a put down, as in Lusk: "i am surprised foss hasn't got rid of his gay ute yet." Further on, when a group of MPs were photographed wearing pink clothing items in support of Pink Shirt Day, a campaign to highlight bullying which started as a campaign specifically against bullying of glbti people, Slater comments to Lusk: "wearing a pink shirt WILL get you bullied." Lusk soon responds: "i wonder if fossys gay ute is an anti bullying protest." Slater: "i'll get a photo of it and colour it pink" Lusk: "no bullying of gay utes" Slater: "Sometimes I despair at the stupidity of our MPs. They are all running around doing photo opportunities wearing silly pink shirts because apparently Pink Shirt Day will stop bullies. A punch in the chops is what stops bullies, or a Casey Heynes body slam, not wearing a gay coloured shirt." Later Lusk, commenting on Labour's ICT telecommunications stance, says: "i cant recall national having a policy or one on pooftas" To provide a bit of context we spent a few minutes looking back through a sampling of Slater's Whale Oil postings. In a March 31 2014 post called “What does a straight bloke have to do to get selected for Labour?” he claimed: “Now before this post gets started I need to clarify that I am not homophobic as I am sure the left will claim. I was one of the biggest supporters of the marriage equality bill and don’t care one bit who someone chooses to sleep with or what sex they are. This post is simply about perceptions and plain facts, with no emotion or otherwise intended.” Slater then lists all the gay candidates and ends with “Without putting too fine a point on it Labour appears to be coming the party of poofs, cementing the belief that they are captured by single interest groups and factions.” While he may be ok with gays and gay issues, Slater's continual macho posturing is liberally seasoned with anti-gay slurs. For example, he says there should be more ads showing gays as parents and “Colin Craig opposed marriage equality, along with other idiots like Bob McCoskrie on the basis that the kids were at risk, and that their world view that a mother and a father was the only valid family unit.” But he uses super-homophobic language all the time, such as calling people he doesn’t like “cocksmokers” Most of it is directed at Rainbow Labour, as in this October 29 2013 post: "Middle New Zealand doesn’t care about how many poofters there are in caucus. They care about how to pay the bills, how to get their kids or grandkids educated and how to set aside some money for retirement." Slater's March 24 2014 posting about trans woman, lawyer and Labour candidate Kelly Ellis is particularly unpleasant. "Labour has a man ban and their candidate for Whangarei has found an interesting way to get around it. You have to admire the commitment to being an MP having the meat and two vege trimmed off to get past the man ban [a reference to Labour's policy of favouring female candidates to correct an perceived gender imbalance in it's MP mix]. Waitakere men will surely flock to vote for this bloke chick candidate. Monaro’s were girls cars anyway, no self respecting bloke would drive one of those, so probably best she handed in her man card in such a dramatic fashion." Kelly Ellis has since responded here But it’s amongst the reader comments on his blog where the homophobia becomes utterly vile, often sickeningly so. Slater is content to leave this kind of material, aimed at gay MP Chris Carter, on show: "I am sick to death of these 2 homo's treating the NZ taxpayers as their own private piggy bank. This c**t and his bludging 'wife' just need to fuck off out of parliament and stop rubbing our noses in their sicko homo lifestyle." And perhaps, just to wrap up, we should remember Slater's comment on Newstalk ZB in August last year regarding Labour leader candidate and gay man Grant Robertson: "“He’s the one who really is the natural leader in this out of this whole lot, giving that he enjoys being stabbed from behind." Jay Bennie and Jacqui Stanford - 24th August 2014    

Credit: Jay Bennie and Jacqui Stanford

First published: Sunday, 24th August 2014 - 9:55am

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