An excerpt from the performance of the Paul Taylor Dance Company was shown at the conclusion of One Network News broadcast on TV One on 25 November between 6.00–7.00pm.
Kristian Harang complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that the item, which he said showed naked men, breached acceptable standards of decency and also was offensive to children who might have been watching.
TVNZ responded that all of the dancers, both men and women, were wearing patterned tights. It noted that ballet tights were part of the normal attire for both classical and modern dance performances. In the circumstances, it concluded that no standards were relevant.
Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s decision, Mr Harang referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
For the reasons given below, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
The members of the Authority have viewed a tape of the item complained about and have read the correspondence which is listed in the Appendix. On this occasion, it determines the complaint without a formal hearing.
An excerpt from a modern ballet company’s performance was included as the final item of One Network News which was broadcast on TV One between 6.00–7.00pm on 25 November.
Kristian Harang complained to TVNZ that as the item showed "clearly naked men, or at least …their naked backsides", it breached broadcasting standards. He noted that the broadcast was during prime viewing time when many children would have been watching and would have led them to believe that this type of behaviour was normal. He contended that the item breached standards G2 and G12 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.
TVNZ assessed the complaint under the nominated standards. They require broadcasters:
G2 To take into consideration currently accepted norms of decency and taste in language and behaviour, bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs.
G12 To be mindful of the effect any programme may have on children during their normally accepted viewing hours.
In its response, it noted that all of the dancers had been wearing patterned tights, and noted that ballet tights were part of normal attire for both classical and modern dance performances. In the circumstances, it concluded, neither standard was relevant.
When he referred the matter to the Authority, Mr Harang said it did not matter what TVNZ said, but he distinctly remembered having seen "naked backsides". He repeated that many children would have been watching who would have been offended.
TVNZ’s brief response reiterated that there had been no "naked backsides".
Having viewed the tape of the item, the Authority finds that Mr Harang was mistaken in his recollection of the item. The dancers were all wearing patterned tights and, as TVNZ observed, such attire is normal for dancers. In those circumstances therefore, no standards were breached. The Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
For the reasons set forth above, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
3 February 2000
The following correspondence was received and considered when the Authority determined this complaint:
1. Kristian Harang’s Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd – 25 November 1999
2. TVNZ’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 9 December 1999
3. Mr Harang’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 10 December 1999
4. TVNZ’s Response to the Authority – 20 December 1999