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Haverland and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-070 (14 November 2018)

Members

  • Judge Bill Hastings (Chair)
  • Paula Rose
  • Wendy Palmer
  • Susie Staley

Complainant

  • Harriet Haverland

Dated

14th November 2018

Number

2018-070

Programme

Body Fixers

Channel/Station

Bravo

Broadcaster

MediaWorks TV Ltd

Summary

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a promo for Body Fixers, which included a brief shot of a woman exposing her hairy lower stomach area to a team of beauty therapists. The complainant initially complained to the broadcaster that the promo showed a man exposing his pubic hair. The Authority viewed the promo broadcast at the date and time identified by the complainant, and was satisfied that the promo showed a woman lifting her shirt to expose her lower stomach area, rather than a man pulling down his pants to show his pubic hair. The Authority nevertheless went on to consider the promo against the good taste and decency standard, finding that, in the context of a programme about beauty therapy, the fleeting shot of lower stomach body hair was unlikely to cause undue or widespread offence and distress. Upholding the complaint would therefore represent an unjustified and unreasonable limit on the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency  


The broadcast

[1]  A promo for Body Fixers, broadcast during Tabatha Takes Over, included a brief shot of a woman exposing her hairy lower stomach area to a team of beauty therapists.

[2]  The promo identified in the complaint was broadcast on Bravo during Tabatha Takes Over, between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, on 17 July 2018.

The complaint

[3]  Harriet Haverland initially complained to the broadcaster that the promo showed a man exposing his pubic hair, which she claimed was distasteful and pornographic, particularly when the promo did not include a warning.

[4]  MediaWorks responded that the promo, broadcast at the date and time identified by the complainant, showed a woman’s lower stomach area, and did not show what would typically be considered pubic hair. The body hair was shown in the context of beauty therapy and the promo did not contain any sexual material or nudity.

[5]  Ms Haverland referred her complaint to us for investigation and review, on the basis that MediaWorks did not respond to her complaint. She argued that MediaWorks had not provided the correct clip and that the promo she had seen featured a man exposing his pubic hair, not a woman, and that this was rude and unexpected.

[6]  With the broadcaster’s permission, we provided to the complainant a copy of the promo that the broadcaster confirmed had been aired at the time identified in her complaint. After viewing the promo, Ms Haverland maintained that, in the promo she had initially seen, a man had exposed his pubic hair to a seated group of three men.

[7]  We asked MediaWorks to clarify whether this particular promo was the only promo for Body Fixers that was shown around the time of Ms Haverland’s complaint, as it appeared that she may have seen a different promo for the programme. We also confirmed that Tabatha Takes Over was broadcast on Bravo on the date identified by the complainant, using the TV Guide listings.

[8]  MediaWorks liaised with Bravo’s promo scheduler, who confirmed that the promo provided to the complainant was the only promo for Body Fixers broadcast on 16 and 17 July 2018 on Bravo. There was no promo for Body Fixers broadcast on 18 July. On 19 July, a promo for another episode of Body Fixers was broadcast at around 4pm in the afternoon (not between 7.30pm and 8.30pm during Tabatha Takes Over, which was not broadcast on this day).

Our findings

[9]  We carefully viewed the promo provided to us by the broadcaster, which it has submitted corresponds to the date and time identified in the initial complaint. We are satisfied that the promo shows a woman lifting her shirt to expose her lower stomach area. It does not depict a man pulling down his pants to show his pubic hair. We have reached this conclusion as the shirt that is lifted is the same shirt that is worn by the woman sitting on the couch in the prior scene. It is possible that Ms Haverland may have been mistaken about the date and time of the broadcast, or about what she had initially seen in the promo. Either way, we are not in a position to make a finding on the content described by Ms Haverland as it does not correspond to the broadcast identified in her complaint.

[10]  For completeness, we have, in any event, considered whether what was broadcast in the promo breached the good taste and decency standard (Standard 1). This standard aims to protect audience members from listening to or viewing broadcasts that are likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards.

[11]  The shot of a woman’s body hair was fleeting and showed the woman’s hairy stomach, rather than her pubic hair, in a matter-of-fact and non-sexual way. The promo contained some other fleeting shots of people’s hair, facial hair and other unusual features. The promo was shown between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, which is in the PGR timeband. It was clear that these images were shown in the context of a programme about beauty therapy makeovers and that these individuals had approached the programme wanting these features to be addressed.

[12] The promo as broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine community standards, and we have concluded that no actual or potential harm was caused by the broadcast that would justify limiting the important right to freedom of expression.

[13] We therefore do not uphold the complaint.

For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.

 


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judge Bill Hastings
Chair
14 November 2018  

 


Appendix

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

1      Harriet Haverland’s formal complaint – 19 July 2018
2      MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 16 August 2018
3      Ms Haverland’s referral to the Authority – 17 August 2018
4      MediaWorks’ confirmation of no further comment – 5 September 2018