BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Hind and TVWorks Ltd - 2010-040

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Tapu Misa
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Complainant
  • Peter Hind
Number
2010-040
Broadcaster
TVWorks Ltd
Channel/Station
TV3 # 3

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Nestle New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker – baking competition – contestant exclaimed, “Oh my ring went into the cream!” – host replied, “Usually it’s the other way round” – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency and responsible programming

Findings
Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – comment was fleeting and unclear – programme broadcast in AO time – not upheld

Standard 8 (responsible programming) – rest of the material was acceptable in a G programme – comment would have gone over the heads of child viewers – correctly rated G – screened outside of children’s viewing times – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1]   An episode of Nestle New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker was broadcast on TV3 at 8.30pm on Thursday 25 February 2010. The five remaining contestants were asked to bake a tart and a pie which would be evaluated by the judges. As the contestants were racing to finish their dishes within the timeframe given, one female contestant exclaimed, “Oh my ring went into the cream!” to which the programme’s host responded, “Usually it’s the other way round.”

Complaint

[2]   Peter Hind made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the host’s comment breached standards relating to good taste and decency and responsible programming. He argued that the remark was “a tasteless gay sex double entendre” that was in poor taste, offensive and inappropriate within a G-rated cooking programme.

Standards

[3]   Standards 1 and 8 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice are relevant to the determination of this complaint. These provide:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

Standard 8 Responsible Programming

Broadcasters should ensure programmes:

  • are appropriately classified;
  • display programme classification information;
  • adhere to timebands in accordance with Appendix 1;
  • are not presented in such a way as to cause panic, or unwarranted alarm or undue distress; and
  • do not deceive or disadvantage the viewer.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[4]   TVWorks stated that it had considered Standards 1 and 8 together. It 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 time of broadcast, the target audience, the programme’s classification, and the use of warnings.

[5]   The broadcaster noted that the programme was rated G because it did not contain any material that was likely to harm or disturb children and the hour-long show primarily focused on the contestants’ baking. It noted that the comment subject to complaint was “the only innuendo contained in the episode”. TVWorks maintained that:

[6]   The innuendo was of such a nature that it is unlikely children would have understood it, firstly because in order to do so they would already have to have been exposed to the terminology used in the double entendre in another environment, but also because it took a certain level of sophisticated thinking to take the cognitive steps required to rearrange the sentence and gather its second meaning.

[7]   In addition, TVWorks said, there were no explicit, vulgar, or commonly used sexual euphemisms in the comment, and “the comment was not prominent in the din of the busy kitchen”. It considered that the contestant had reprimanded him good-naturedly and the pace of the programme quickly moved on.

[8]   The broadcaster argued that the comment could not be definitively characterised as referring to homosexual sex, which was the way complainants had interpreted it. It considered that not all viewers would have interpreted the comment in that way. Even if it did refer to homosexual activity, TVWorks said, it considered it was the same as any other sexual innuendo of the same level.

[9]   TVWorks said that it accepted that if the programme contained frequent instances of similar double entendre, it would have required a PGR rating. However, it argued that “in this case where the comment was isolated and in a programme scheduled at 8.30pm, and where the production did not linger upon it in any way, it agrees with the appraiser’s rating of G.” It considered that 8.30pm was a timeslot in which more sophisticated programmes targeting adult audiences were broadcast.

[10]   TVWorks concluded that the programme did not breach Standard 1 or “the relevant standards”.

Referral to the Authority

[11]   Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Mr Hind referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He argued that TVWorks had ignored his contention that the programme breached Standard 8.

[12]   Mr Hind noted that broadcasters were required to consider the use of a warning if programme content may offend or disturb a number of viewers. He therefore considered that TVWorks’ arguments with relation to children were irrelevant. He said that as an adult he found the host’s comment offensive and contrary to the rest of the programme’s content. Mr Hind argued that “a G-rated programme should not deviate from the standards, irrespective of its timeslot”. He also contended that the programme’s producers had deliberately left a “pause” after the host’s remark in order to emphasise the double entendre and give viewers time to understand the comment.

Authority’s Invitation for Further Submissions

[13]   The Authority invited the broadcaster to make submissions on Standard 8 given that it had not explicitly addressed it in its decision. TVWorks emphasised that it had considered Standards 1 and 8 together because they both took into account the same factors and both related to the concerns raised by Mr Hind.

Authority's Determination

[14]   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.

Standard 8 (responsible programming)

[15]   Standard 8 requires programmes to be correctly classified and screened in appropriate time-bands. Nestle New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker was rated G (General) and broadcast at 8.30pm. The G classification is defined as follows in Appendix 1 of the Code:

G – General

Programmes which exclude material likely to be unsuitable for children. Programmes may not necessarily be designed for child viewers but should not contain material likely to alarm or distress them.

G programmes may be screened at any time.

[16]   In our view, the host’s comment was barely audible and its meaning was oblique; many viewers would not have understood the double entendre referred to by the complainant. Furthermore, we consider that the comment would have gone over the heads of child viewers under the age of 14 years. It was a fleeting, throw-away line which was said as the contestants hurried to finish their dishes, and which was not dwelt upon.

[17]   We find that the rest of the programme material was suitable for a G-rated programme, and do not consider that it should have been rated PGR on the basis of one brief comment which would not have been understood by children.

[18]   Accordingly, we decline to uphold the complaint that the programme was incorrectly classified in breach of Standard 8.

Standard 1 (good taste and decency)

[19]   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:

  • Nestle New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker was broadcast at 8.30pm

  • the programme was rated G

  • the programme’s adult target audience.

[20]   As stated above, we are of the view that the programme’s G classification was appropriate. While the host’s comment may have been tasteless, we consider that the majority of viewers would not have found it offensive given that it was fleeting and its meaning was oblique. Taking into account that the programme was aimed at adults and broadcast in AO time, we find that the comment was acceptable in the context in which it was shown, and we decline to uphold the Standard 1 complaint.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
1 June 2010

Appendix

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

1.          Peter Hind’s formal complaint – 1 March 2010

2.          TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 4 March 2010

3.          Mr Hind’s referral to the Authority – 7 March 2010

4.          TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 23 March 2010

5.          TVWorks’ response to the Authority’s request – 20 April 2010