New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared to have indicated that her country’s opposition leader was a “Karen.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared to have indicated that her country’s opposition leader was a “Karen.” During a heated debate on hate speech in Parliament, she made a veiled allusion to Judith Collins, the leader of the center-right National Party, being a “Karen,” which elicited shouts of amusement in the chamber and on social media.
The word “Karen,” which has gained popularity on social media, refers to entitled women who grow agitated and angry when things do not go their way. Ms. Collins had taken to Twitter to express her opposition to proposed revisions to New Zealand’s hate speech legislation. She wondered whether “naming a middle-aged white lady a ‘Karen’ is now a felony under Jacinda Ardern’s law?”
During the discussion, Ms. Ardern stated that she disagreed with the comment, adding, “As it happens, I also disagree with the member’s [Collin’s] Twitter post, that somehow it would become unlawful to call someone a ‘Karen.'” “That is just wrong, and I apologize that this implies that the member (Judith Collins) will not be protected from such a lawsuit under these laws.”
Ms. Ardern’s comments were met with laughter or applause from other members of Parliament. According to CNN, even Ms. Collins had a “tight-lipped smile.” Ms. Collins then tweeted, “Apparently attacking women for either being called Karen and being middle-aged white women is allowed, under Jacinda Ardern’s new legislation.”
In the year 2020, the term “Karen” became widespread. According to CNN, this was primarily due to “the cultural power of Black Twitter, as well as the anger over racial injustice that spilled out during the Black Lives Matter protests.”
When it comes to viral slogans, New Zealand’s Parliament is no stranger. In 2019, Chloe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old politician, told an elder legislator, “OK boomer,” after being stopped during a climate change speech.
Other lawmakers were perplexed by her response.