BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Perrett and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-092 (1 March 2016)

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Paula Rose
  • Jasmine Perrett
Paul Henry
MediaWorks TV Ltd
TV3 # 4


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

During the course of a panel discussion on Paul Henry about cruise ships, the participants briefly talked about penis enlargement. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this discussion was ‘vulgar’ and inappropriate for a time when children could be watching television. Paul Henry is aimed at adult viewers and the conversation, which was brief and inexplicit, did not go beyond audience expectations of the programme and its presenters.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests


[1]  During the course of a panel discussion on Paul Henry about cruise ships the participants briefly talked about penis enlargement.

[2]  Jasmine Perrett complained that this discussion was ‘vulgar’ and inappropriate for television, especially at a time when children could be watching.

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

[4]  The segment was broadcast on TV3 at 8.25am on 8 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 breach broadcasting standards?

[5]  As Ms Perrett’s complaint raises similar issues under the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards, we have addressed these standards together.

[6]  The good taste and decency standard (Standard 1) is primarily aimed at broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.1 The children’s interests standard (Standard 9) requires broadcasters to consider the interests of child viewers during their normally accepted viewing times – usually up to 8.30pm. The purpose of the standard is to protect children from broadcasts which might adversely affect them.2

[7]  Ms Perret considered the penis enlargement discussion to be ‘vulgar’ and inappropriate for live television, especially when children could be watching.

[8]  MediaWorks argued that the penis enlargement conversation was humorous and did not include sexual material, and therefore would not have alarmed or distressed child viewers. More generally it did not consider the concept of penis enlargement, discussed in a light-hearted and inexplicit manner, to be inappropriate for a news and lifestyle programme targeted at adult viewers.

[9]  The relevant section of the discussion was as follows:

Panellist 1: I was wondering if I could segway into penis enlargement, from the cruises – so is there any kind of cruises where you get plastic surgery, because I’d like to come back to the ‘junk in your trunk’ which [Paul Henry] alluded to... but I’m not sure I can make that segway but I’ve kind of got there anyway.
Paul Henry: I think going for a cruise is the sort of thing you do with the money you would otherwise spend on a penis enlargement.
Panellist 2: Maybe after you’ve had the enlargement, that’s kind of the place you’d go to... test drive it.

[10]  When we consider a complaint about good taste and decency or children’s interests, we take into account relevant contextual factors, which in this case include:

  • the time of broadcast at 8.25am, during children’s normally accepted viewing times
  • Paul Henry is an unclassified news/current affairs/entertainment programme
  • presenter Paul Henry’s well-known provocative and outspoken style
  • the adult target audience of Paul Henry
  • audience expectations of Paul Henry and its presenters.

[11]  We acknowledge that the subject matter discussed during Paul Henry – penis enlargement – would not have been to everyone’s taste. We are also cognisant that the broadcast occurred within children’s normally accepted viewing times. However, in context, we are satisfied the conversation did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency and that the broadcaster adequately considered the interests of children.

[12]  Viewers can reasonably expect a variety of content from Paul Henry and its presenters, including material that can be challenging and pushes boundaries. The conversation subject to complaint was relatively brief and did not actually go into any detail about penis enlargement. It contained some innuendo, for example a panellist saying that cruises were the place one would go to ‘test drive’ a penis enlargement, but was not in any way explicit. After the three comments outlined above in paragraph [9], the discussion quickly returned to the more benign topic of cruise ships. While somewhat risqué, we do not consider that a significant number of viewers would have been offended by the discussion and it did not reach the necessary threshold to find a breach of broadcasting standards.

[13]  The complainant was also concerned about the impact of the broadcast on any children who may have been watching. Child viewers are not the target audience of Paul Henry and are more likely to be drawn to programming on other channels aimed at younger viewers. The Authority has also previously noted that there is an expectation of adult guidance and discretion when viewing unclassified news and current affairs programmes with children.3 In the case of any children who happened to be watching, we do not think they would have been alarmed or distressed by the nature of the conversation, which was unlikely to have been fully understood by them.

[14]  Accordingly, we do not uphold the complaint under Standards 1 and 9.

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      Jasmine Perrett’s formal complaint – 9 October 2015

2      MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 4 November 2015

3      Ms Perrett’s referral to the Authority – 23 November 2015

4      MediaWorks’ response to the Authority – 14 December 2015

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

2 E.g. Harrison and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-066

3 Bracey and Ee and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2013-084