Lynda Tabuya has finally bowed to pressure to remove the video she posted and shared on Facebook of a child being brutally beaten after several days of defiance that has badly damaged her public standing.
It would have gradually dawned on the Great Temptress that she was on a hiding to nothing by continuing to ignore the directive to Fijians from the Online Safety Commission not to share the video. Her antics in Room 233 that have brought her global attention largely haven’t been covered in the Fijian mainstream media. But the spectre of the Minister for Children defying the Commission and wilfully invading a child’s privacy has been a bridge too far and even Tabuya’s cheer squad at the Fiji Times has allowed comment that has been highly unflattering of someone who is obsessed with her public image.
When you read the letters to the editor in both papers today, you’ll notice that the decision by the mainstream media not to cover the sex and drug scandal that will see the Minister up before a People’s Alliance disciplinary inquiry on Monday doesn’t mean that people don’t know the details.
Maca Bola of Suva uses the word “brutal” – from one of Tabuya’s leaked text messages – that has entered the lexicon in Fiji and is now being widely used in all sorts of contexts, including around the grog bowl. “Bro, that’s a brutal mix!” is just one story that has reached the ears of Grubsheet. And the ubiquitous Rajend Naidu of Sydney asks what the Minister could possibly be smoking to defy the Online Commission’s order – a reference to another leaked text from Room 233 of Lynda Tabuya telling Aseri Radrodro that she has “plenty of weed”. So just because they haven’t seen or heard any of these references in the local media doesn’t mean the Fijian people don’t know every detail of the sex and drug scandal.
The Minister has obviously been advised that in the countdown to a very awkward appearance before the PAP disciplinary committee on Monday, she doesn’t need the added burden of a public relations inferno that isn’t being ignored in the local media and that was always going to burn her. Social media is full of accusations that Lynda Tabuya seized on the child’s plight to create a distraction from the sex and drug scandal. So the Fijian people aren’t stupid, even if their media often treats them that way. With the increasing exception, it must be said, of the Fiji Sun, which is leaving Fred Wesley and his team at the Fiji Times wallowing in mediocrity and irrelevance. Who’d have thunk.