A New Zealand reviewer who wrote a film critique that repeatedly uses the word n****r says he used the taboo term intentionally but is not racist.

The review of the film Dope, published on Rip It Up magazine's website last week and written by editor Andrew Johnstone is being harshly criticised online for its use of the word to describe stereotypes of African-American people.

The short review, titled "Dope is a Hip Hop film about what it means to be a N****r" uses the word a further five times in its article.

Though used in recent times as a non-derogatory term of endearment amongst African-American people, the word is widely viewed as taboo due to its history as a racial slur.


Readers are calling the article and Johnstone "racist" and are appealing for it to be removed from the website.

Publisher Grant Hislop apologised and said the intention of the reviewer was to raise issues that the film explores as well as exploring the taboo that surrounds the word.

"We recognise that the intentions of the article have been misconstrued and taken out of context and apologise for any offence caused.

"The writer is not bigoted and is in fact an avid promoter of equality in all areas of our community."

He said the review had appeared on the site unsubbed "in its raw form".

In the review, Johnstone wrote: "Secondly, and most importantly, what is a N****r? According to popular culture, a N****r likes bling and deals drugs, is armed and dangerous and usually drives some sort of ostentatious vehicle with rap music blaring from the massive speakers set in the doors.

"Actually, a N****r is just like a white person: a range of personalities and temperaments that transcend stereotypes, a point that film makes over and over."

Johnstone rated the movie four out of five stars and described it as a "feel good movie about black kids who are not stereotypes".


In the comments section under the article, Thomas Allen Morrison wrote: "The trailer for this film makes me really want to see it. The review however made me die a little bit on the inside."

Ivy Rossiter said: "This is horrendously offensive."

Pele Kama was one of many others demanding the article be edited or removed.

Johnstone told the Herald that the use of the word was intentional but that he is not racist.

"I'm a very liberal open-minded person and one of the least racist people you could meet, I know that is a bold statement but I just think a number of keyboard warriors have got the wrong end of the stick and created a bit of a situation."

The use of the word in the review was in line with a key theme of the movie, he said.

"The word is totally appropriate in the context of the movie. The movie is about the word n****r in popular culture and what it means, who is allowed to use it and how it is used."

Mr Johnstone, who is of Polynesian descent, said the review was in line with Rip It Up's position as a liberal, progressive publication that aimed to challenge New Zealanders views on controversial topics.

The move Dope has a rating of 7.5 starts out of 10 on IMDb, where it is classified as a crime comedy-drama.

It is a coming of age film about a high school student from a tough California neighbourhood trying to get into the prestigious Harvard university.

It was released at the Sundance Film Festival in January and has received wide praise from critics.

Mr Johnstone said he was considering adding a note to the review clarifying the intent behind the use of the controversial word.