Sean Plunket: Please don't hate on Iris

Opinion 18/02/2019

By Sean Plunket, Magic Afternoons host.

OPINION: I've been having trouble getting to sleep for the past few nights. It has been a crazy time since an interview I did last Wednesday with an Auckland Peace Group activist called Iris.

If you haven't heard it this message isn't for you so don't worry about it.

The upshot of the interview was that Dr Jordan B Peterson posted the interview on social media and joined me live on air for an hour on Thursday. He was a thoroughly engaging and engrossing interview subject and due to the fact that he has a massive following on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube both interviews have now been seen maybe a million times or more and commented on by around ten thousand people.

Much of that comment has been personally denegrating of Iris, indeed my own news organisation ran a headline along the lines of "Watch Sean Plunket Destroy Peace Activist".

I didn't set out to destroy Iris it was my job to interview him and test some pretty extreme claims he had made about Dr Peterson.

I did my job and because I have conducted tens of thousands of interviews in my three decades plus as a broadcaster I'm getting pretty good at it. I suspect Iris had never been interviewed live on air before.

A lot of the comments have been very spirited and made accurate observations about the tactics employed by certain political activists and groupings, some of them were very complimentary about my conduct for which I am very grateful and most are utterly supportive of Dr Peterson.

But some of them are nasty, spiteful and hateful towards Iris as a person.

Having been the subject of a few social media pile ons I know what that can do to a person. Jordan Peterson is, as I said on the project perhaps the most hated man on the internet (actually now I think about it President Trump must be).

But we are both used to being in the public eye and professionally hardened to the good and bad of public opinion.

The internet has provided us all with the ability to make comment and pass judgement on the views, statements and actions of others, often without much thought as to the impact our words might have on the individual concerned.

I wouldn't have conducted my interview with Iris any other way but could I ask those who see it to play the ball rather than the person.

Iris I hope you are ok.

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you."


This post originally appeared on Sean Plunket's Facebook page. Sean Plunket is host of Magic Afternoons, weekdays from 12-3pm.