NZ radio star Heather du Plessis-Allan laughs at 16yo climate activist Izzy Cook over Fiji trip


The mother of a 16-year-old New Zealand climate activist has lashed out at a radio host who mercilessly mocked the teen after she admitted to flying to Fiji for a holiday.

Rose Cook, the mother of Wellington school climate strike organiser Izzy Cook,  penned a furious reaction after hearing her daughter give the phone interview at the family home.

‘I listened in horror as my 16-year-old daughter had a phone conversation with someone who appeared to be bullying her, laughing at her, and talking over her,’ Ms Cook wrote for Kiwi website The Spinoff.

Izzy Cook, a 16-year-old school climate strike organiser from the New Zealand city of Wellington, found herself on receiving end of merciless mockery after admitting she flew to Fiji on a holiday

Under the heading of ‘Heather du Plessis-Allan should be ashamed of how she bullied my daughter’,  Ms Cook said the popular radio star who interviewed Izzy did not give ‘a sh*t about climate change’. 

Ms Cook accused Du Plessis-Allan of staging a ‘gotcha’ moment ‘to discredit her (Izzy) personally and derail the conversation about climate action’.

During the interview, Izzy tells Du Plessis-Allan she thinks it would be a good idea if flights were only allowed for ‘approved events’.

‘Am I allowed to go to Fiji, is that necessary?’  Du Plessis-Allan asks.

‘In the current climate crisis I don’t think that’s necessary,’ Izzy replies.

New Zealand radio star Heather du Plessis-Allan has been accused of bullying 16-year-old climate activist Izzy Cook after laughing at her uproariously during a radio interview

New Zealand radio star Heather du Plessis-Allan has been accused of bullying 16-year-old climate activist Izzy Cook after laughing at her uproariously during a radio interview

‘When was the last time you were on a plane?’ Du Plessis-Allan asks, seemingly innocently. 

Izzy gives a hesitant reply. 

‘Hmmm… I’m not sure… a few months ago to be honest,’ she says.

“Where’d you go?’  Du Plessis-Allan presses.

‘Fiji,’ is the resigned reply.

Du Plessis exclaims ‘Izzy!’ and breaks out into squeals of laughter.

‘Izzy, don’t you care about the climate Izzy?’ she asks once her mirth momentarily subsides.

‘Of course, I care about the climate,’ Izzy replies strongly.

Twitter users respond to the posting of an article by Izzy's mum, Rose Cook, who was left fuming at the treatment of her daughter

Twitter users respond to the posting of an article by Izzy’s mum, Rose Cook, who was left fuming at the treatment of her daughter

‘Not enough, you went to… you… went… to… Fiji,’ Du Plessis-Allan manages to get out in-between fits of raucous laughter.

In between the guffaws, Du Plessis-Allan manages to address the very silent Izzy. 

‘Izzy, come on mate!…. Are you serious?… Are you serious Izzy?… You went to Fiji?’ Du Plessis-Allan gasps.

‘Are you serious Izzy?… Are you still there?’

Izzy interrupts. 

‘It’s pretty ironic but to be honest it’s not really a trip I wanted to go on but I can’t really get out of it,’ the teenager says as Du Plessis-Allan continues to chortle in the background.

‘Why’d you go?’ Du Plessis-Allan interrogates.

‘Because my parents wanted to go. I didn’t want to go,’ Izzy replies.

‘Are you embarrassed your parents did that to the planet and then forced you to do it as well?’ Du Plessis-Allan asks.

‘Of course I am not embarrassed,’ an adamant Izzy replies.

‘Did you have a terrible time?’ Du Plessis-Allan fires back.

‘Not really…’ Izzy replies before being cut off once more by Du Plessis-Allan’s screams of laughter.

‘Izzy… I am sorry… mate… listen you’re such a champion, I think you’ve got a brilliant future ahead of you and are you doing another strike soon,’ Du Plessis-Allan manages to say between barely containing her giggles.

‘Yeah, well we’ll look to,’ Izzy replies.

Unusually for Twitter there was even some agreement breaking out between commenters

Unusually for Twitter there was even some agreement breaking out between commenters 

‘I will talk to you again, I might get you back on the show,’ Du Plessis-Allan says before once more collapsing into laughter. 

Ms Cook, for one, did not share Du Plessis-Allan’s amusement.

She confirmed going to Fiji was her idea and Izzy only came reluctantly.

Ms Cook believed Du Plessis-Allan had pounced on her daughter after looking at Izzy’s Instagram page and seeing the Fiji trip.

‘Our young people are genuinely terrified about the world they are inheriting,’ she wrote as she outlined how ‘incredibly hard’ her daughter worked to promote her cause

‘That is what matters.

‘Heather du Plessis-Allan became a mother this year. I hope that no-one ever speaks to her child the way she did to mine.’

Those commenting on Twitter under The Spinoff’s posting of Ms Cook’s article were divided on whether Du Plessis-Allan’s interview was fair.

Izzy Cook was forced to admit to holidaying in Fiji (stock image) after saying such flights were not necessary in the 'current climate crisis'

Izzy Cook was forced to admit to holidaying in Fiji (stock image) after saying such flights were not necessary in the ‘current climate crisis’

‘Precious. The girl was put forward to front an agenda, and now there is outrage because she failed and got mocked,’ one comment read.

‘Treating kids as the fount of all knowledge like Greta may not be correct. At 16 I am sure that we didn’t know much about anything.’

Greta is a reference to the globally renowned Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who began the worldwide school climate strike movement.

The comment drew an angry reply.

‘But she didn’t fail at all,’ the Twitter user wrote.

‘She’s a courageous and committed young woman. If you believe climate change is an agenda, I hope you or your family live well away from where there will be floods, fires, droughts, hurricanes and famine, because it’s not stopping any time soon.’

Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg began the worldwide school climate strike movement

Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg began the worldwide school climate strike movement

One user said Izzy needed to expect such question after taking a public role.

‘Buy the ticket, take the ride. If you want to take society to task you can expect some robust questioning. The author and her daughter are hypocrites,’ the user wrote.

However, another commenter condemned Du Plessis-Allan’s behaviour.

‘There is robust questioning and then there is what HDPA did, a juvenile display of mockery and laughter at the expense of a child,’ they wrote.

There was a bit more nuance and even, rarely for social media, some slowly emerging consensus in one exchange.

‘She wasn’t bullied. She was mocked for her hypocrisy,’ a Twitter user wrote.

‘It is a bit of a fine line when you’re talking about kids, to be fair….,’ another replied.

‘To be fair… kids shouldn’t be used as props in propaganda campaigns,’ a different commenter chipped in. 

‘I completely agree,’ the second commenter replied.

‘Although I do wonder to what degree a politically aware (but naive) 16 year old can claim to be manipulated by a parent. In this case I agree the mother has done this, but not without some degree of responsibility from the child. We’re on the same page.’ 

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