4 Oct 2015

Rip It Up Magazine causes outrage with racist article

1:25 pm on 4 October 2015

New Zealand music and entertainment magazine Rip it Up has caused a storm of outage after publishing a film review using a racist slur.


Dope Photo: YouTube

The review of a American movie called ‘Dope’ was published on its website and on Facebook under the headline: "Dope is a Hip Hop film about what it means to be a n*****".

The Facebook post and online article have recently been deleted after a stream of angry comments built underneath it.

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Photo: Unknown

The article was written by the magazine’s editor, Andrew Johnstone,  who used the N-word five times in his review, Stuff reports. 

“...what is a N*****?” writes Johnstone.

“According to popular culture, a N***** likes bling and deals drugs, is armed an dangerous and usually drives some sort of ostentatious vehicle with rap music blaring from the massive speakers set in the doors. Actually, a N**** is just like a white person: a range of personalities and temperaments that transcend stereotypes, a point that film make over and over.”

People have taken to social media to share their disgust, with “Rip It Up” now a  trending topic on Twitter in New Zealand.

Dope debuted at at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in January where it was described as “a critical hit and audience favorite”.

Malcolm Adekanbi, the main character of the film, is played by actor Shameik Moore who Johnstone describes as hanging out with his geek friends and "clumsily" navigating the "mean streets of his neighbourhood, streets occupied by that other kind of n***** the dangerous kind of lore."

Rip It Up’s publisher Grant Hislop has responded to the backlash  in an article on the website.

He acknowledges the piece “caused controversy and offense in some sectors”, and said the review of ‘Dope’ was published without going through the usual subbing process.

“The writer is not bigoted and is in fact an avid promoter of equality in all areas of our community. One only needs to read other articles we are publishing to qualify this.”

Hislop referred to the magazine as “liberal” and “progressive” before listing topics they have previously covered like TPPA and animal welfare.

Ironically, Hislop uses the N-word again while justifying Johnstone’s use of the word.

“The intention of the reviewer was to raise the issues that the film explores as well as exploring the taboos that surround the word “n*****” which is used throughout the film.”

Hislop said the intentions of the article were taken out of context and apologised for the offense caused, but not everyone accepts the apology.