BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Doorey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-088 (1 March 2016)

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Paula Rose
  • Julian Doorey
Seven Sharp
TV One


[This summary does not form part of the decision.]

Seven Sharp featured an interview with singer Robbie Williams, during which he referred to his desire to be a naturist and said he had a small ‘cock’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this comment was distasteful. The comment was at the low end of the spectrum of sexual material and was not outside audience expectations of Seven Sharp, which is an unclassified current affairs/entertainment programme aimed at adults.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency


[1]  Seven Sharp featured an interview with singer Robbie Williams. On the subject of his wish to be a naturist, he said:

I always said to my past girlfriends, it’s not a small cock, I’ve just got massive thighs, and it’s an optical illusion. And it’s not true – it is quite small. So if I just had an extra inch-and-a-half I’d be a naturist, but it isn’t and I’m not.

[2]  Julian Doorey complained that this comment was distasteful, sexualised and unnecessary.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the good taste and decency standard as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The programme was broadcast on TV ONE at 7pm on 9 October 2015. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the broadcast threaten current norms of good taste and decency?

[5]  The good taste and decency standard (Standard 1) is usually concerned with broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.1

[6]  Mr Doorey argued that in terms of good taste and decency, audiences ‘did not need to hear about the length of Robbie [Williams’] penis’. He noted that as the segment was pre-recorded, it was unnecessary to feature in the broadcast and could have been excluded. Mr Doorey considered the interview was sexual in nature, as Mr Williams allegedly referred to his penis four times as well as to sex and sexual satisfaction.

[7]  TVNZ noted that Seven Sharp is aimed at an adult audience and screens in PGR time. It did not consider that the comment or interview as a whole was overtly sexualised, as there were no references to sex or sexual acts. TVNZ maintained that Mr Williams’ comment related solely to his apparent wish to be a naturist and his physical attributes. It acknowledged that the complainant found the comment in question offensive, but considered that because it formed a small part of the interview and was not contrived, the conversation would not have offended a significant number of viewers.

[8]  When we consider a complaint under good taste and decency, we take into account relevant contextual factors, which here include:

  • Seven Sharp is an unclassified news/current affairs/entertainment programme
  • the time of broadcast at 7pm, during the PGR timeband
  • the adult target audience of Seven Sharp
  • audience expectations of Seven Sharp.

[9]  Seven Sharp is known for taking a non-traditional, entertainment-based and sometimes risqué approach to current affairs, and often includes material that members of the audience may find questionable or challenging. Additionally, Robbie Williams is a public figure well-known for his mischievous, suggestive and unpredictable persona.

[10]  We understand that Robbie’s reference to penis size would not have been to all viewers’ taste. However, we think the comment was at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of any sexual references or innuendo. The statement was in response to the interviewer’s question about Robbie’s apparent wish to be a naturist. It was evidently intended to be humorous, rather than titillating, and did not contain any explicit sexual references. The relevant exchange formed a small part of the four-minute interview, and any sexual implications did not dominate the broadcast.

[11]  Overall we are satisfied the comment would not have offended a significant number of viewers and did not threaten standards of good taste and decency in the context of a current affairs/entertainment programme screening in PGR time and aimed at an adult audience.

[12]  Accordingly we find that the broadcast did not breach Standard 1.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
1 March 2016



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

1      Julian Doorey’s formal complaint – 11 October 2015
2      TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 6 November 2015
3      Mr Doorey’s referral to the Authority – 10 November 2015
4      TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 8 January 2016


1Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-112