John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Boycott on club urged after DJ's racial slur

DJ and club owner Neill Andrews has apologised for his anti-Indian Facebook post, but is hitting back at critics. Photo /  Edgeline Photography / www.edgeline.co.nz
DJ and club owner Neill Andrews has apologised for his anti-Indian Facebook post, but is hitting back at critics. Photo / Edgeline Photography / www.edgeline.co.nz

Partygoers are being urged to boycott a nightclub whose owner made racist remarks suggesting some of his Indian patrons were predatory rapists.

The Facebook post by DJ Neill Andrews, who owns Wellington's Famous nightclub, sparked outrage.

It read: "Just because we don't let groups of creepy Indian rapists into the club doesn't make us racist, they also don't buy alcohol.

"Probably so they can be sober enough to tie up the sack and lift the body into the back of their hybrid taxi, while wearing oversized leather jackets and sports shoes."

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said she was disgusted, and urged people to boycott the Courtenay Place nightclub.

ANZ, New Zealand's biggest bank, has said it will no longer hire the DJ.

Andrews, who told the Herald on Sunday that he regretted his outburst, deleted the December 30 post from his Facebook page, but not before onlookers circulated it.

It polarised opinions on blogs and internet forums, where some readers were appalled but others supported Andrews.

Andrews said the situation blew up when the post got away from its intended audience. "I pretty much take the piss out of everything and everyone," he said last night.

But he maintained many nightclubs in Wellington had problems with a minority of Indian men harassing women.

"I make fun of stereotypes and topics that are taboo because it's important that we do talk about these things," he said.

"Yes, I am over the top in the way I do it at times, but it gets the issue and message out there. I certainly didn't want to offend a whole race of human beings and for this I am extremely regretful."

ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick said on Friday the bank had hired Andrews for company parties, but would not do so again.

Dame Susan also gave Andrews a serve.

"I know that the post has been removed and I'm pleased that he's expressed some remorse, but I see a lot of things in my job and that did really appall me," she said.

"The best thing people can do is vote with their feet and not patronise someone like that."

Andrews hit back, saying the last ANZ function he did was boring, and Dame Susan "should probably just stick to hitting a plastic ball around a squash court".

The DJ said boycott threats would backfire on finger-waggers.

"My club is going to be as popular, or more popular, because unfortunately ... it will be a place where people go out of interest to meet 'the racist'."

Andrews said he would meet a local Indian community leader on Wednesday to clarify his position. He said he was also planning an Indian-themed event at Famous soon,

NZ Indian Central Association president Harshadbhai Patel is considering a formal complaint to Devoy's office.

"He has expressed regret but the damage has been done," Patel said. "The comments he made are disgraceful, outrageous."

He commended ANZ for boycotting Andrews.

Andrews said nobody was excluded from Famous because of their ethnicity.

For anyone providing goods or services, discrimination on the basis of ethnicity is illegal under Section 44 of the Human Rights Act.

- Herald on Sunday

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