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Hall and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2010-169

Members

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Mary Anne Shanahan

Complainant

  • A Hall of Auckland

Dated

29th March 2011

Number

2010-169

Channel/Station

TV One

Broadcaster

Television New Zealand Ltd


Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Extreme Male Beauty – reality series about a journalist trying to achieve the perfect male body contained male nudity including genitalia – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency standard

Findings
Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – nudity was matter-of-fact and not designed to titillate – consistent with AO classification and 9.30pm time of broadcast – contextual factors – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1]   An episode of Extreme Male Beauty, a reality series following a journalist and his journey to have the perfect male body, was broadcast on TV One at 9.30pm on Wednesday 15 September 2010. In the opening sequence, which recapped some of the things the journalist had already done, he was shown with his genitalia outside his trousers, and explained that a particular contraption had made his “winkle” bleed.

[2]   The programme was preceded by the following visual and verbal warning:

This programme is rated Adults Only. It contains surgical scenes that may disturb, and language and nudity that may offend some people.

Complaint

[3]   A Hall made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, arguing that the journalist “exposed himself publicly” which was “indecent, offensive,” and breached broadcasting standards.

Standards

[4]   TVNZ assessed the complaint under Standard 1 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which provides:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

Broadcaster’s Response to the Complainant

[5]   TVNZ argued that to constitute a breach of Standard 1, the broadcast material must be unacceptable in the context in which it was shown, including the programme classification, the time of broadcast, the programme’s intended audience, and the use of warnings.

[6]   The broadcaster noted that on this occasion, Extreme Male Beauty was classified Adults Only and restricted to screening after 9.30pm. The programme was preceded by a written and verbal warning, it said, which “gave notice that the programme contained adult material including surgical scenes, language and nudity”. TVNZ considered that the title of the programme and the footage and voiceover in the opening minutes also gave a clear indication of its likely content. It noted that the journalist was not the only example of male nudity in the programme and series, and considered that nudity would have been expected by viewers of the programme.

[7]   TVNZ pointed out that the Authority had previously declined to uphold a complaint about nudity, in which it found that the nudity was “matter-of-fact and non-sexual, and [that] the spirit of the programme was intended to be uplifting rather than salacious or titillating”.1

[8]   Taking into account the programme’s target audience, the timeslot, and the context of the nudity subject to complaint, TVNZ concluded that the programme did not breach Standard 1.

Referral to the Authority

[9]   Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Miss Hall referred her complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. She maintained that the journalist exposing himself breached broadcasting standards. Miss Hall disagreed that the programme’s title and introduction gave a “clear indication” of its likely content.

Authority’s Determination

[10]   The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[11]   When we consider an alleged breach of good taste and decency, we take into account the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, the relevant contextual factors include:

  • Extreme Male Beauty was classified AO
  • it was broadcast on TV One at 9.30pm on a Wednesday
  • the programme’s adult target audience
  • its title suggested the type of material it might contain
  • the programme was preceded by a visual and verbal warning for “nudity that may offend some people”.

[12]   In our view, the nudity subject to complaint was presented in a matter-of-fact manner, and was not designed to titillate. We consider that the programme’s title and its premise – a journalist striving to achieve the perfect male body – as well as the pre-broadcast warning for nudity, were adequate to alert viewers to the type of material the programme might contain. Furthermore, it was broadcast at 9.30pm, an hour after the Adults Only watershed.

[13]   Taking into account the above contextual factors, we decline to uphold the complaint that the programme breached Standard 1.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
29 March 2011

Appendix

The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1                  A Hall’s formal complaint – 23 September 2010

2                 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 17 November 2010

3                 Miss Hall’s referral to the Authority – 27 November 2010

4                 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 10 February 2010


1Hutt and TVNZ, Decision No. 2009-103