Wellington, Oct 11(ANI): Maori political leaders have called on broadcaster and Urban Maori Authority chairperson Willie Jackson to stop supporting former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, since doing so would put women at risk.
The 46-year-old American was due to come to New Zealand to perform a show in Auckland in November but Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson cancelled his visa after Life Education Trust withdrew its support.
Maori leaders believes Tyson is not the right idol for their kids to follow, as his misogynist thinking spreads toxic messages about women, which in turn endangers their safety.
Tyson was barred from New Zealand after being sentenced to six years in prison for the 1991 rape of 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room, and he continues to deny the crime.
Jackson has said he would support Tyson if he visited a South Auckland marae and spoke to young Maori there.
However, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said Maori men needed to stand up for Maori women, and "not support an unrepentant misogynist who has had a rape conviction coming here to talk to young Maori men about how they should run their lives."
"He is not a role model and I am dismayed that Maori men would support Mike Tyson to come here... at a time when violence against women, particularly Maori women, is very high," Stuff.co.nz quoted Turei, as saying.
Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples, who is a White Ribbon ambassador against male violence, also agreed Tyson was no role model, and said: " I do not want Mike Tyson telling our kids that the way he deals with his serious crime of sexual violence is by blaming the victim." (ANI)