'Gay' just means 'weird': Key

Prime Minister John Key says "gay" just means "weird" and he had no intention of offending anyone when he used it on a radio show last week.

Mr Key is under fire for using the word "gay" to rib a radio host last Friday, the same day he levelled an internationally reported insult at footballer David Beckham.

Mr Key jokingly criticised a red top worn by presenter Jamie Mackay in an interview on The Farming Show.

"What you're wearing is an absolute disgrace. You parade yourself as some sort of centre-right interested community leader and you're in the red," he said.

Later in the segment he described Mackay's top as "gay" in an exchange about golf.

"You're munted mate. You're never going to make it. You've got that gay red top on."

The comments have been ridiculed on Twitter, with comedian Guy Williams saying "John Key is quickly becoming to New Zealand what Borat was to Kazakhstan."

Other Twitter users said the use of "gay" as an insult made Mr Key appear homophobic.

Today Mr Key said he used the term "gay" to mean "weird".

He said he picked up the term from his children and had no intention of seeming homophobic.

Asked at his post-Cabinet press conference whether he was homophobic, Mr Key said: "No, I'm voting for gay marriage, I'm hardly homophobic - I led the charge on it."

Mr Key agreed it was an unfortunate use of words but said: "a hell of a lot of people would use it and the common use of it is in the Oxford dictionary".

"Young people use it all the time, I don't think too many people would be offended by it. If someone is I apologise for it," he said.

Also during the Farming Show interview, Mr Key also took a swipe at hip hop group Home Brew for criticising him during their acceptance speech for best urban/hip hop album at the New Zealand Music Awards last week.

"These people are idiots. They turned up on the red carpet with a goat that then managed to relieve itself or whatever on the red carpet. What idiots," he said.

Mr Key courted controversy over reports he branded David Beckham "thick as batshit" while speaking to a group of students at Dunedin's St Hilda's Collegiate.

He has refused to confirm or deny insulting the football superstar.

However, British media have picked up the story.

Beckham's London-based media guru Simon Oliveira - who also oversees global campaigns for tennis ace Andy Murray and Formula One star Lewis Hamilton - was not impressed.

"It is not worthy of comment."

- By Hayden Donnell and Kate Shuttleworth


Cool with the kids

John Key has made a faux pas for an adult. Trying to use teenage lingo, to ingratiate oneself with young people, only brings contempt from the same people. Just ask young teachers, who have gone down this road....to their cost.

Wrong end of the stick

I should have made my point clearer Sparrowhawk. It was simply that political successes are never reported nearly as widely as political failings. There's always some "crisis" to keep the media busy - last year it was wages vs. inflation, and this year it is "he said, she said, is there a video tape or isn't there a video tape, did he know, didn't he know?".

Far from defending Key's comments, I was adding some balance and perspective to this thread.


Thanks for that

Thank you Rob (Fischer), for putting me straight. I had always thought the expression was, 'As thick as pigsh*t'. Or, as a substitute which passes muster with the PC Brigade, 'Porcine Tutae'.


Which in itself is sad....that we think money is the only criteria for success here.

I am mucking around

Ian, I guess you weren't aware of Key's later comment when you responded to my earlier post. Perhaps you are right. It may be just because he is "as thick as batsh*t" (apparently, it's OK to call people that when you are "mucking around") that he followed up a bullying remark with the quintessential cliche bully's defense, but I suspect there is more too it than that.

What's more important?

Check out this link

Wages are up 2.1% year ending September while inflation was at it's lowest since 1999.

See this link 

The last couple of years have seen the hysterical John Campbell and others harp on about cost of living and wages not keeping up. Now the results are more positive but you don't hear them mention it now. All you hear is "John Key said this, John Key said that..." 

'Mucking around'

In the Herald today Key is reported as telling Firstline that he was just "mucking around" when he made his comments. Keyword search "just mucking around" and "bullying" on google and you get 66,000 hits mostly comments like:

"They were very afraid of being embarrassed if they mistook “mucking around” for bullying. Their fear was that they would be rejected for not “reading” the culture accurately. This, of course, reinforced the bullies to claim that they were “just mucking around” when accosted by teachers, or the occasional brave peer." - Source

"Bully - "I was just mucking around, can't they take a joke?' This is the most common response to bullying." - Source

Really, he ought to go. I'm ashamed that he represents our country to the world. We are better than this. Oh, and for the anti-PC brigade ... if you see nothing wrong with this behaviour, you have a problem.



Not quite on the button

Not quite on the button, Rob Fischer. Our Prime Minister does not sound like a playground bully. He comes across, to me, as 'not all that bright' But then, it's he who is the multi-millionaire, reputedly, not me. So, he satisfies all the criteria for success in the city he represents.


Yeah, me too. But the politicians of the day set the tone for the population that gives bullies in schools the perceived right to harass gay students and make their life hell to the point that they want to commit suicide. So yes, words do harm. Some are strong enough to survive it. Some are not. But for that sort of abuse to be perpetuated by our Prime Minister is not a good step forward top solving suicides or anything else. All it does is give the racists, sexists and all the other bigots an excuse to continue and call it 'joking'.

Ignorance or arrogance

Or both? This man is trying to tell us that he 'picked it up off" his kids?? That a PM would try to say he doesn't know the implications of the word "Gay' circa 2012, then he should go back to school with his kids. I don't believe you would find that word meaning 'weird' in any dictionary. Let's be straight (play on words Mr Key). He just says whatever he likes to whomever he likes and is not interested in the affect or impression this leaves because he is so far above us all, that nothing can touch him (as far as his concerned).

What I fear is that he is right and that the NZ public don't care that their representative in the world is a name calling, arrogant, autocrat who cares about nobody but his bottom line. I guess the next election (too far away) will tell what we are all made of. Our leaders reflect us they say.

Meaning of gay

Helena says "I was forever being told to "Go back to your own country, you dirty filthy foreigner". The comment hurt but hasn't damaged me. "

Your dictionary shows it has two meanings, joyous and homosexual. He was using the latter meaning.

You say it yourself; the comments hurt. Did the Prime Minister of the day say it?

And yes, the country has more to worry about, like the suicide rate of young gay men.

She's a shirt?

"I'm gay and I find it offensive to call something gay when you mean it in a negative sense. it isn't just a word - it is who I am," says QueenZ.  Some-THING is what he used it about, not some person. People who see themselves as things have more complicated issues to resolve than just being offended because the word "gay" has several meanings and can be used in different ways.  Gay = happy, joyous, is that offensive?  Gay = homosexual is apparently the one QueenZ sees as the one true meaning, though for most of last century at least, this was uncommon usage in non-homosexual circles.  Gay = weird, naff, is recent usage but one that has spread from teen jargon to more general usage within the last 20 years tops (at a rough guess).  


And this is ultimately the sort of government we have.

They are control freaks. Their legislation reeks of it.  They don't want a nannny state but they want to legislate like they still are in charge of one.  

The arrogance of this man.  He needs to go.  

Common mistake

Helena is making the common mistake of thinking this is political correctness.  John Key is supposed to be the leader of this country and is supposed to show care and respect for all the individuals who reside here. 

I'm gay and I find it offensive to call something gay when you mean it in a negative sense. it isn't just a word - it is who I am. [Abridged]


Parental guidance?

Rather than picking up the use of the word gay in a derogatory manner from his children, perhaps he should be having a discussion with them about whether it is acceptable to use it in this fashion. By using it this way he legitimises it. [Abridged]


John Key clearly lacks the leadership skills to be prime minister. It appears he no longer wants the job, so he should resign.


Meaning of gay

My Webster's dictionary states the meaning of the word "gay" as follows.  "In or showing a joyous or merry mood.  Cheerfully lively; Given to or abounding in social pleasures; A gay social event; Dissipated; Licentious; Bright or brilliantly coloured."  Informal. Homosexual

There is more than one meaning to the word.

I was born in New Zealand but because my parents were post Second World War immigrants, I was forever being told to "Go back to your own country, you dirty filthy foreigner".  The comment hurt but hasn't damaged me. 

Hasn't this country got more to worry about than stupid political correctness?



Would be a hypocrite

It's certainly offensive but I'd be a hypocrite to criticise him because I have used it as a derogatory term before, as have most people of my generation. Not to say it's OK of course, particularly being broadcast.
However, his comments on Beckham were well founded and I found that hilarious!

Schoolyard bully

I might accept the explanation if Key was refering to something other than an item of clothing that clearly wasn't a masculine enough colour for him. Every now and again he sounds like a schoolyard bully and this is one of them.

He must resign

In a time when young gay people are killing themselves and gay people's rights are under threat here and in other countries, this disgraceful behaviour is the limit.

He must resign. 

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