PR boss Bill Ralston says the storm over Sonny Bill Williams' links to Muslim clerics is a "witch hunt" and "ridiculous".

Ralston, the former high ranking journalist, said BMW would be "basically spineless" if they dropped the All Black star as a brand ambassador.

He believed people should have the right to associate with others of their choice without persecution.

Speaking to NewsTalk ZB's Rachel Smalley, Ralston believed SBW would lose his BMW position.

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BMW reviewing ambassador deal with Sonny Bill Williams after complaints about his links to controversial Muslim clerics

The clerics are described as controversial, and one has extreme anti-gay views.

Listen: Bill Ralston on Early Edition with Rachel Smalley

Ralston said: "It is kind of a nightmare for a company like BMW...they are in for a storm here either way. They will get it in the neck from Sonny supporters and people who disapprove what Sonny is about.

"A large company like BMW is paranoid I suspect but it is ridiculous. You can't condemn someone because they have met someone who you or I don't agree with.

"For all we know he also knows someone who is a friend of Donald Trump. What kind of world do we live in?"