Sir Bob Jones has hit back at an online petition calling for his knighthood to be stripped by saying he wants to sue the woman behind it for around $20,000 and told a mainstream media outlet that "we will have a lot of fun with her".
He is reported to have said that he plans to sue Renae Maihi over the definition of hate speech. He is reported to have told a mainstream media outlet that he 'would have fun with her'.
The petition created by Renae Maihi was motivated by a column Jones wrote for the National Business Review (NBR), in which he called for an annual 'Maori Gratitude Day'.
The article received a huge backlash online was quickly pulled by NBR.
Jones told a mainstream media outlet that he wrote a "perfectly factual thing", and that, "It's not racist".
However, despite the legal threat Renae Maihi is standing her ground.
She told Te Kāea, “That's inappropriate, that is again disrespectful, implying that I am a thing to be played with and I'm not playing I'm very serious I'm taking this seriously I'm behaving very professionally, I'm not making slanderous comments about any racist people or anyone. This campaign is about unity, solidarity and saying that this type of opinion and this negative hate speech we don't accept here in this country or in the world.”
Maihi told Te Kāea that she hasn't been contacted by Sir Bob's legal team however she's had an overwhelming amount of support since the news of the legal threat this afternoon.
The petition has over 40,000 signatures and continues to gain momentum. Maihi is now seeking legal advice and is planning the next step in regard to the petition.