New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Suggests Opposition Leader Is A "Karen"

The term “Karen” became popular in 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Suggests Opposition Leader Is A 'Karen'

Jacinda Ardern has been the prime minister of New Zealand since 2017. (Image credit: Reuters)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears to have suggested that the opposition leader of her country was a “Karen”. During a heated debate on hate speech in Parliament, she made a subtle reference to Judith Collins, also the head of the centre-right National Party, being a “Karen” and caused howls of laughter in the chamber and outside on social media. “Karen”, a term that has become popular on social media, is used to refer to entitled women who get upset and aggressive when things don't go their way.

Ms Collins had tweeted against the proposed changes to New Zealand's hate speech laws. She questioned if “calling a middle-aged white woman a ‘Karen' now be a crime under Jacinda Ardern's law?”

Ms Ardern replied during the debate that she disagreed with the statement, adding: “As it happens, I also disagree with the member's [Collin's) statement on Twitter, that somehow it will become illegal to call someone a ‘Karen.'”

“That is absolutely incorrect and I apologise that it means these laws will not protect the member (Judith Collins) from such a claim.”

Other members of the Parliament either laughed or applauded at Ms Ardern's statement. According to a report in CNN, even Ms Collins had “a tight-lipped smile”.

Later, Ms Collins tweeted again on the issue, saying, "Apparently insulting women for either being named Karen and/or for being middle aged white women is fine, under Jacinda Ardern's new law."

The term “Karen” became popular in 2020. The CNN report states it was mainly “thanks to the cultural force of Black Twitter, and the frustrations over racial injustice that boiled over during the Black Lives Matter protests”.

The Macquarie Dictionary had even declared it as “Word of the Year 2020”.

When it comes to New Zealand's Parliament, it's no stranger to viral phrases. In 2019, Chloe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old politician, had told an older lawmaker “OK boomer” after she was interrupted during her speech on climate change. Her response had baffled other parliamentarians. 

Ms Ardern has been the prime minister of New Zealand since 2017. After the mosque shootings in Christchurch in March 2019, her government in New Zealand plans to introduce very harsh penalties for those who incite or normalise discrimination or hatred.

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