What our readers are saying


I am writing in absolute disgust about an article you printed about Jeanine Tuivaiki last Sunday.

I live in Auckland, New Zealand and I have never met Jeanine or her family, but this insensitive article has reached the shores of New Zealand.

Not only is your newspaper fill of incompetency, but to show a picture of the death and write terrible comments about Jeanine's characteristics just shows the state of the world today.

I urge you to make a formal apology to Jeanine's family over your insensitive comments made, rather than your follow up article of - And if you're offended by it still, we apologize!! That is not an apology.

Wake up Samoan Observer and start being a newspaper that is full of truth and honesty. 

Show some dignity and be proud of all your Samoan people, not just a selective few.


Desiree Pretty



Like many others, Im shocked and outraged by the Samoa Observer's disgusting "journalism" re Jeanine T. Its deeply shameful that our country's own newspaper would demonstrate such a lack of respect and compassion towards one of our fa'afafine sisters, not only to display her in that way but also to misgender her. 

I've admired and respected the Observer's work in the past, in particular your commitment to supporting writers and nurturing storytellers of all ages. 

But your article yesterday was so out of character and bitterly disappointing. You wrote about Jeanine like she wasnt a person, like she was an animal?! 

It lacked empathy, compassion and any semblance of 'basic' human decency. Im not a journalist so I cant comment on all the journalism ethics that surely must have been violated. 

As a Samoan Im confused as to how anyone at your paper thought this article was okay? Since when do we as a country and as a people - put photos of our deceased displayed in that most vulnerable way on the cover of our newspapers? 

Since when do we as a culture and a community - talk about our fa'afafine sisters in such a dehumanizing callous way? 

Please listen to the many who are hurting as a result of your article. Great harm has been done here and I ask you to please take meaningful steps to try and make amends. Some suggestions:

1. Print a full front page retraction and apology. 

2. Go to Jeanine's family and apologize in person. Find constructive ways to help them in their time of sorrow.

3. Get your team some training in how to report on LGBTQI people and issues. Training in basics re alleged suicide.

4. Give FLO free coverage and ongoing space in the paper to run awareness campaigns and articles etc.

5. Meet with SFA and other LGBTQI organizations so you can learn how to do better. 



Personally, I was deeply distressed by the image/article posted on the front page of the Samoa Observer on Sunday 19/06/2016. As an adult I fail to comprehend the purpose, the public good. And now this image is stuck in my head! After reading the content, I am even more dismayed.

Furthermore I am deeply concerned about the children and youth that will see the image... in their homes, or while in shops, or just lying around somewhere. What sense will they make out of the image? What will get stuck in their heads and hearts?! What contribution to suicide awareness or human compassion does this piece provide? 


Dr Rachael Dempsey

PO Box 9243, Apia Samoa

+685 7266046


Please remove this article or edit 


This is extremely offensive to, not only the LGBTQ community but many of the public. Including me. I'm not part of the LGBTQ but am a huge supporter and this is outrageous. You would demean this woman and her struggles by misgendering her?? Using incorrect pronouns?? Words hurt, and not being recognized as who you are inside and being told you are defined by your genitals in this day and age is appalling. Coming from a culture that celebrates the third gender; fa'afafine, this is so disappointing. I love reading about the advances and affairs of the Pacific Island community and our people on your page but this is.. something else.

I do hope someone reads this and seriously considers the effect this article could have on many people struggling with their sexuality. Take into account the harsh reality they face every day when they are denied what we as people yearn for. Acceptance.

Would you enjoy being ridiculed for your height? Or the colour of your skin? No. Because we can't change that. It's how we are born. You should treat everyone with the same respect. 

I look forward to reading more accurate articles in the near future.


Lekisa Tauasa


Hi there. I wanted to message about ur front page piece on that poor ladies suicide. I have stewed over this all day, I was in shock at the absolute disregard for the individual, the family, friends, the public, possibly the church and the lgbtq community. I just hope there is an apology coming the absolute least you could do for the grieving family and friends and also to try mend your rapport with the public. I also hope there is some investigation into how something could be published like that and some appropriate disciplinary action. Also perhaps some retraining or upskilling for any other below par journalists to restore some integrity to the papers news reporting. It would be reassuring to know what the newspapers intended actions are. 

Regards, Trudi


Hello Samoa Observer, 

I am writing to express my disappointment in a recent news article that you published that is beginning to go viral on the internet. Screen shot of said article soon to follow. First of which that you would lack the basic human empathy to respect the life lost in a disturbing photo that you published on the front page of your newspaper. Secondly that your reporters confirmed that the deceased was a transgender individual and blatantly ignored that fact by misgendering HER! There are ways to report the news to the public full of integrity for the truth and compassion for others. 

It doesn't matter whether you are L G B T Q Cis, or otherwise. Everyone deserves a bit of respect. Please consider publishing a retraction. Thank you for your time. 

- Donato Fatuesi


I'm very disappointed with the publication of the picture of that person hanging from a church beam. Why did you feel the need to do that? It is disrespectful and shows the lack of humanity in the photographer and editor. Please don't publish these kind of images again. Very very disappointed as I'm a strong supporter of Samoa Observer.

Monalisa Une

Don't know what the motives were for putting up that picture of the deceased in this morning's paper, but a bit of respect could've being considered for her family and friends; unless the family agreed to put it up. This is unethical and poor publicity.God bless!!


O fea le ava fatafata ma le tofa ia te outou to have put the picture up? O fea le alofa and just pure common sense? YOU ARE WRONG THIS TIME SAMOA OBSERVER. so not cool :(

Diane Sparkes

Where is the Love!

This kind of reporting is reminiscent of that 40 years ago,

it is beyond belief and has no place in 2016. Reporting of this kind is but one reason that has caused so many transgender people to see suicide as the only way out.

For a country that claims to be Christian you show the World

your true selves, uncaring for the living e specially those marginalised by society who do not meet your ideals of normal.

But the total disregard of the Dead is abhorrent; whoever wrote this story even worse the editor responsible for its publication definitely

needs to look at the words of Christ.

Love one another and do not judge!!!

In case you have not seen it Journalists throughout the world use this reference when writing about transgender issues. 

See Link below.



Whoever wrote this article should be ashamed of themselves. It is a disgrace. To insult a woman who was already in such despair that she took her own life is the lowest of the low. Shame on you.


Monalisa Une

Don't know what the motives were for putting up that picture of the deceased in this morning's paper, but a bit of respect could've being considered for her family and friends; unless the family agreed to put it up. This is unethical and poor publicity.God bless!!

Samoa Observer

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