Speak Up For Women's posters taken down

Auckland, 11 February 2019 - Today, campaign group Speak Up for Women has received notification from Phantom Billstickers that their poster campaign calling for public consultation on the controversial Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill will be removed from over 60 sites from Auckland to Invercargill, in a move that is being described as reactionary and anti-free speech.

The media company allegedly received ‘four or five’ complaints from members of the public over the weekend, in response to the posters.

Jamey Holloway, Managing Partner of Phantom Billstickers said “[your] campaign has been accepted in error and will be withdrawn as soon as logistically possible.”

Wellington: Before and after.

Ani O’Brien, Speak Up For Women spokesperson, says: “Jamey’s email came out of the blue this morning, so I called him to discuss his concerns and clarify our position. To Jamey’s credit, he heard us out, but still worried that the campaign was a ‘dog whistle’ for anti-transgender sentiment, as this is what he had been told by the small number of people who contacted him. It is exactly this type of mischaracterisation that we reject in the strongest terms. We are pro women’s rights and are calling for reasonable public consultation on a Bill, currently before parliament, that will impact these rights.”

Speak Up For Women’s posters simply state ‘Fairness. Consultation. Women’s rights to safety, dignity and privacy’ and there has been confusion around what exactly is transphobic about them.

Overseas, similar silencing tactics have been used by trans activists seeking to shut down the voices of women they disagree with. It is part of a concerning culture of no-platforming and bullying private companies with threats of lost business and media attacks.

“It is deeply concerning that a few phone calls from individual agitators intent on smearing our legitimate campaign is enough for a private company to take such drastic action,” says Ms O’Brien.

“It is crucial that when legislation is contentious like this we have robust discussions and democracy is allowed to work. Silencing tactics are underhanded and unacceptable. We call on those who wish to silence us to instead join us in discussion. We also call on our elected MPs to take control and facilitate these discussions.

  1. This is bloody outrageous and is exactly what is happening in Britain. Free speech in NZ, fine if you aren’t talking about women.

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  2. This is outrageous. So posters advertising a public meeting for women to discuss legislation that may adversely affect them is pulled because a handful of mischief makers deliberately misrepresent its purpose to the billboard company. Phantom Billstickers should have ignored the complaints after talking to Speak Up for Women. It’s about time that the Prime Minister took an interest in this issue, seeing that its her government’s inept handling of this issue that has led to the need for women to do the policy analysis of Self ID for themselves.

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  3. 1984 comes to New Zealand.

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  4. This is so similar to what is happening in the UK: a poster giving the dictionary definition of “woman” was deemed offensive and removed.

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    1. The person who complained about the UK poster is currently visiting NZ. What a coincidence!

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  5. Having concerns about a piece of legislation is a quite separate issue to the needs of the trans gender community. No one asking for more consultation has any animus towards them even if the trans activists and some female MPs would have it otherwise.

    Solidarity from the UK where women are encountered similar problems trying to speak out for their rights.

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  6. Here in UK you can’t advertise where a meeting to discuss the impact of self-id, on women’s prisons, refuges, changing rooms, is going to be held. People get reported to the police for expressing their opinions. Thankfully, the press are beginning to pick it up and people are seeing sense.

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  7. Wasn’t a contract signed? Aren’t they, the billboard company, in breach of contract.

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  8. It’s a clear case of men bullying and oppressing women, like they’ve always done.

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  9. This is not even offensive? It seems like our government is allowed to just not enforce its own laws. Arent women suppossed to have human rights? If women arent even allowed to inform the public we are in serious trouble. Has anyone except womens groups ever been silenced like this?

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  10. I understand phantom is a so called private company.. Yet I also know their posters appear on public owned spaces (bridges over and surrounding railways alongside public pathways and parks etc) so does this mean phantom have some kind of deal with our councils and if so… How can they reasonably say their business is private or for that matter alienate campaigns that are in the public interest?

    If our council is leasing this space (public) what is the criteria phantom must follow?

    The politics of space is becoming increasingly heated…

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  11. Ironic that a campaign to promote fairness, consultation and women’s rights has been unfairly shut down, without consultation and effectively removing women’s rights to speak up. This is poor judgment from Jamey Holloway. Reinstate now.

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  12. […] for the Speak Up For Women campaign in New Zealand have been removed  after a handful of complaints about what the transgender community thought of them. Campaigners […]

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  13. Sponsors are listed on their website. NZ’s women should write to all the sponsors and loudly boycott their products until the posters are reinstated. I have the list, am starting now. Spread the sponsors list around on social media.

    Canterbury Uni is vulnerable to pressure at the moment – if your kids are due to start there but have a choice, send them somewhere else.

    Women are always the first to lose rights in any conflict, and it will stop if we are prepared to do what it takes to maintain our rights and freedoms.

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  14. A bloody disgrace.

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  15. Are you bloody kidding me. This is an atrocious act of censorship & an affront to our right to freedom of speech – as well as being yet another blow against women in the fight to retain our hard-won sex-based rights,in this Orwellian battle against the TRA movement’s war on women. I’m sickened by this.

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