This week the bats*** really hit the fan. As our anti-bullying campaign Stop the Hate continues, it was perhaps timely for the Prime Minister to provide a couple of examples of unacceptable put-downs.
Both were reported by global media, one was even remarked upon by Gandalf the Grey himself.
Much has been made of David Beckham's intelligence - or perceived lack of - since he first came to prominence in the English football and showbiz scenes.
John Key is perhaps not the first to compare its consistency with that of faecal matter, and he won't be the last.
But his reported remark that Beckham is "thick as bats***" doesn't, and shouldn't, sit well with New Zealanders.
Forget for a moment that he supposedly said it at a school. Forget for a moment that it's an incredibly rude thing to say about someone. Forget also the correct term is probably "pigs***" (Bats*** has always been reserved for particularly boring targets, not thick ones). What is important here is who is doing the, er, mud-slinging.
All leaders of nations undoubtedly have many choice words in their repertoires for insulting people, but most would reserve those for private settings. Public figures are more public than ever thanks to technology - and post-Teapotgate John Key should be more aware of that than anyone.
The most disturbing thing about the Key-Beckham incident is not that our leader thinks a top sportsman is stupid, it's that he reportedly said it out loud. In doing so he has not only opened our country up to international ridicule, but he's also made it "okay" to call people thick, to be the bully.
The second incident saw Mr Key upset many by telling a radio host his red jersey was "gay".
It may have been done in good humour, but by crossing that boundary - in a radio interview of all places - Mr Key is again normalising a term of abuse and encouraging bullying. Kids may use the term "gay" all the time - but that doesn't make it right.
Even if we accept the explanation that he meant "weird" there's a disturbing lack of awareness of the inevitable fallout.
Plus, once again we're starring on the global stage for all the wrong reasons - especially since Hobbit actor Sir Ian McKellen weighed in.
The fight against bullying in all forms is hard enough without the Prime Minister adding to the problem.
What do you think?
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