Ali Mau vs Woman’s Day

February 18th, 2010 at 1:27 pm by David Farrar

I didn’t blog previously on Woman’s Day outing Ali Mau, as frankly I thought it was distasteful and didn’t want to publicise it further. I did comment on the Journz mailing list which discussed the issue, as follows:

I think the decision to out Ali Mau is regrettable, and part of a slippery slope which points the wrong way.

I accept that if someone is in the public eye as a celebrity, then who they are dating will make the media. But when that information doesn’t just reveal who they are dating, but a sexual orientation that is not yet public, I think it should not be published unless there is hypocrisy etc. I prefer people to reveal their own sexual orientation, not have the media do it for them – especially when they may have children etc. Her kids may now have to put up with teasing at school from classmates that their mum is a lesbian.

If Ali was going to come out anyway, then it is a different matter, but as Dean said I would not want to be an editor approving such a story unless I was certain.

A few people have said they broadly agreed with my stance.

Now since then Ali has hit back at Woman’s Day with force, as reported here by Stuff:

High-profile Television New Zealand presenter Alison Mau has struck out at a magazine editor she says hired a “creepy” paparazzi photographer to stalk her children, friends and family.

Today, on TV One morning show Breakfast, Mau addressed her recent tabloid coverage during a regular slot on the show dedicated to reviewing the weekly New Zealand gossip magazines.

Holding up the latest issue of Woman’s Day magazine – opened to a story titled “Alison Mau’s sleepover” – Mau questioned when the magazine’s editor, Sarah Henry, would leave her family alone. …

Mau then said some people had said she was “fair game” because of her public profile.

“But, here’s my question, now that they’ve run this story, I have a question for Woman’s Day editor Sarah Henry and her offsider Catherine Milford.

“Perhaps you’d both be kind enough to let me know when this, when this kind of thing, will stop?

“Just give me an idea when the dogs will be called off and me, my friends and my family can go about our business without having creepy guys in Corolla station wagons following us around?

“I hope that’s a fair question, if you’d like to comment at all, being our breakfast viewers, or pose the same question, drop us a line or send it direct to Sarah Henry at Woman’s Day, she’s on shenry@acpmagazines.co.nz”

The TV show then ran Henry’s email address on screen.

And below is the video of the Breakfast show:

Now I have no problem with Ali striking back. In fact I admire her for doing so, and all strength to her. Woman’s Day deserve to be called out for what they did.

But I do have an issue about whether TVNZ should be assisting Mau with her campaign. They not only flashed the e-mail address up on the Woman’s Day editor on screen (would they do that for anyone else) for people to fire hate mail off at, they also covered the story on Close Up that night. And again, I ask if they would have done that, if one of the protagonists didn’t work for them.

So again to be clear, I have absolutely no issues with Ali Mau hitting back, and wanting to use whatever opportunity she has. Good on her. But I do think TVNZ needs to be cautious about its role in this.

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