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In this section of the website you can search all our decisions from 1989/90 to the present. The decisions appear in descending order.

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351 Results

Supreme Sikh Society, Kalgidhar Sports Club & Majinder Singh Bassi and Planet FM - 2018-040 (24 August 2018)

The Authority has upheld one aspect of a complaint from three complainants about a segment of Punjabi talkback programme Panthic Vichar, broadcast on community radio station, Planet FM. During the programme, host Kuldip Singh made a number of allegations against the complainants, regarding use of grant money and cheating or ‘unjust’ behaviour at a kabaddi tournament. The Authority found that the host’s comments reflected negatively on the complainants and as such, they should have been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of the complaint. The Authority acknowledged the limited resources available to the broadcaster, but reminded it of its obligations under the Broadcasting Act 1989 to receive and consider formal complaints through a proper process, including where the broadcast subject to complaint is in a language other than English. The Authority did not make any orders.

Upheld: Fairness. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Privacy. No Order.

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Parlane and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2018-017 (21 May 2018)

During the talkback programme, Overnighter, host Garry McAlpine invited listeners to call in to discuss the issues facing New Zealand in 2018, one of which was the upcoming cannabis referendum. Mr McAlpine strongly expressed his view, throughout the programme, that cannabis should be decriminalised for medicinal and recreational use. A number of callers, including the complainant, expressed their views on the subject, with some supportive of, and others opposed to, Mr McAlpine’s views. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this programme was in breach of broadcasting standards. Talkback radio is known for robust discussion, and broadcasting standards recognise that it is an opinionated environment, with hosts granted some latitude to be provocative and edgy in the interests of generating robust debate. This programme in particular featured genuine discussion on an important issue in New Zealand. As such, the harm alleged to have been caused by the complainant did not outweigh the host’s, or callers’, right to express their opinions as part of a talkback discussion about New Zealand’s future, even if some listeners might have disagreed or found those views distasteful.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Law and Order, Good Taste and Decency, Fairness, Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration   

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Neumegen and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2018-014 (8 May 2018)

A segment on Polly & Grant for Breakfast featured the hosts reading out and discussing a list of countries referred to as ‘the last places on Earth with no internet’. The list was long and included countries such as India, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The list was evidently sourced from an online article that contained relevant information about the countries listed having internet user penetration rates of less than 20%. That information was omitted during the broadcast, and created an impression that the countries listed had no internet. The Authority nevertheless did not uphold a complaint under the accuracy standard. The Authority noted that the accuracy standard only applies to news, current affairs or factual programming and found that it did not apply to this light-hearted, entertainment-based programme. The Authority noted that, while the information broadcast was incorrect, the hosts’ discussion of the relevant countries did not contain the malice or invective required to encourage discrimination or denigration, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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Foreman and NZME Radio Ltd - 2018-012 (18 April 2018)

A segment on The Country featured the host interviewing The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern not long after she began her term as Prime Minister. Towards the beginning of the interview the host asked the Prime Minister, ‘Do you wake up and say to yourself, “Holy shit! I’m Prime Minister!” and have to pinch yourself?’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the host’s comment breached community norms of good taste and decency and was discriminatory. Taking into account relevant contextual factors including low level of offensive language used, the light-hearted tone, and audience expectations, the broadcast did not threaten community norms of good taste and decency, or justify restricting freedom of expression. There was no malice or condemnation underlying the host’s comment, so it did not reach the threshold for encouraging discrimination against any section of the community.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency. Discrimination and Denigration

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Richards and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-006 (28 March 2018)

An episode of the satirical series Go Ahead Caller, in which host Ken Oath ‘equates our majority government with those in some other countries where socialism failed’, featured a phone call from a fictional caller, who used the word ‘shit’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast and the use of this word breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that the use of the word complained about was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, in the context of the broadcast. The Authority also found that, given the satirical nature of the programme and audience expectations, the broadcast did not threaten community norms of good taste and decency, or justify restricting freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Johnson and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-003 (28 March 2018)

An item on Morning Report featured an interview between presenter Kim Hill and a seismologist from GNS Science, following a 4.3-magnitude earthquake the previous night. At the beginning of the interview, during a discussion of the seismologist’s initial reaction to the earthquake, Ms Hill said, ‘WTF’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term ‘WTF’ in this broadcast was unacceptable and a breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that, taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the nature of the programme, audience expectations of RNZ and Kim Hill, and the fact that the offensive word implied was not explicitly stated in the broadcast, the use of ‘WTF’ did not threaten community norms of taste and decency, or justify restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Sandbrook and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2017-096 (16 February 2018)

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

The song ‘Fire Water Burn’ by the Bloodhound Gang was broadcast on The Rock FM at 5.45pm on 25 October 2017. The song contained the word ‘motherfucker’, which was partially censored, and also contained lyrics such as, ‘but if I crashed into Uranus I would stick it where the sun don't shine’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the song, in its edited format, breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that the censoring could have been more effective in disguising the word used, and that some of the lyrics may offend listeners. However, the Authority found overall the song did not reach the threshold for finding a breach of good taste and decency taking into account the context, including audience expectations of The Rock and rock songs, and the longstanding popularity of this particular song. Therefore limiting the right to freedom of expression was not justified in this case.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Cherry and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2017-077 (16 November 2017)

During The Edge’s afternoon show Jono, Ben & Sharyn, host Jono Pryor referred to a particular television channel as ‘the wanker channel’. A complaint was made that Mr Pryor’s use of the term ‘wanker’ was inappropriate and offensive. The Authority found that, taking into account relevant contextual factors including The Edge’s target audience, audience expectations of Jono, Ben & Sharyn and the nature of the explicit language used, the comment did not reach the threshold required to justify limiting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

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

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McCraw and Puketapu Radio - 2017-075 (27 October 2017)

The song ‘(I Wanna Be) Your Underwear’ by Bryan Adams was broadcast on Puketapu Radio at 11.20am on 18 August 2017. The song contained lyrics such as, ‘I wanna be your lipstick when you lick it’ and ‘I wanna be your underwear’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast of this song was in poor taste. While it acknowledged that the lyrics were crude, the lyrics were in the nature of sexual innuendo, did not contain any explicit language and were similar to the innuendo contained in the lyrics for many rock or hard rock songs. The Authority reminded the broadcaster of its responsibilities under the Broadcasting Act 1989, particularly regarding the expectation for broadcasters to retain recordings of all broadcasts for 35 days.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Esler and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2017-068 (16 November 2017)

An interview was broadcast on Afternoons with Wendyl Nissen with a journalist, about an article she had written regarding the upcoming perjury trial of the secret witnesses who testified in David Tamihere’s murder trial. During the interview the journalist discussed the discovery of one victim’s body, saying, ‘you think of a body turning up… it’s really… bones. The trampers who found [the] body actually stepped on it before they saw it.’ Ms Nissen replied: ‘So there was a crunch’, adding, ‘– sorry to be disgusting’. A complaint was made that this comment was ‘disgusting, disrespectful’ and ‘in poor taste’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the good taste and decency standard, finding that Ms Nissen’s immediate apology after the comment, and other contextual factors, mitigated any potential harm or distress caused by the comment, and it did not reach the high threshold necessary to find a breach of the good taste and decency standard.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Matthewson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2017-060 (21 September 2017)

During a talkback segment on Sportstalk, the host Mark Watson criticised northern hemisphere sports media and the British and Irish Lions rugby team. The host made provocative statements about the Lions team who were at that time touring New Zealand, saying, among other things, ‘hopefully you get smashed’. The host then engaged in a heated discussion with a talkback caller about northern hemisphere rugby and rugby media. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the host’s comments undermined broadcasting standards. The comments made, while critical and provocative, did not exceed audience expectations within the robust and opinionated environment of talkback radio, and particularly on Radio Sport. The Authority noted that the free and frank expression of opinions is an important aspect of the right to freedom of expression, and is valued in our society. Mr Watson was entitled to express his opinion, even if it was critical or if others disagreed, and his comments were not so offensive that they reached a level which warranted the Authority’s intervention. The Lions team and its supporters are not a section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applies, and the balance standard was also not applicable to this particular segment.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance

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Graham and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-049 (4 September 2017)

A radio play, Playing with Fire, was broadcast on RNZ National on 22 and 26 February 2017, around the time of the Port Hills fires in Christchurch. The play followed a family as they were evacuated from their home in rural Canada due to a forest fire. The focus of the story was the struggling relationship between married couple Judy and Arnold, and its effect on their son, Daniel (who was described as having learning difficulties). The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast of this play, around the time of the Port Hills fires, was in poor taste. Programme selection and scheduling decisions were ultimately at the discretion of the broadcaster, and the Authority recognised the high value of the fictional work in terms of the right to freedom of expression. The Authority noted that while the play featured one scene that might have been challenging for listeners affected by the fires, this scene was brief and clearly sign-posted, and did not reach the threshold necessary to find a breach the standard.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Waqanivala and Radio Voqa Kei Viti Aotearoa - 2017-046 (28 November 2017)

During a Gospel Hour programme on Radio Voqa Kei Viti Aotearoa, a Fijian language station, the announcer used the term ‘iTaukei’ in her greetings to listeners, which the broadcaster submitted referred to the indigenous Fijian population in New Zealand and elsewhere overseas. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the term ‘iTaukei’ meant ‘owner’ in English (and therefore referred to New Zealand Māori), and that use of this term caused division and unrest amongst the station’s Fijian listeners. The Authority found that, while the announcer’s use of the term may be seen by some as divisive and politically-charged, it was not offensive, incorrect or discriminatory to an extent that would justify the Authority intervening and finding a breach of broadcasting standards, and as a result limiting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression. The Authority however reminded the broadcaster of its obligations under the Broadcasting Act 1989 to receive and consider formal complaints through a proper process, which did not occur in this case.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Privacy, Fairness 

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Smith and NZME Radio Ltd - 2017-042 (4 September 2017)

A panel segment during Larry Williams Drive discussed a recent High Court action brought by Phillip Smith against the Department of Corrections (Corrections), in which Mr Smith argued that his freedom of expression had been breached by Corrections staff preventing him from wearing his toupee. At the conclusion of the panel discussion, Mr Williams stated: ‘I say Janet, solitary confinement 24/7, dark room, with his toupee, with a little bit of waterboarding just to make it interesting’. The other panellists laughed, with one commenting, ‘You’re a hard man, Larry’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint from Mr Smith that this comment suggested he be subjected to an act of torture, which was in poor taste, and that the comment was likely to incite violence against him. The comment was clearly framed as a hyperbolic exaggeration of Mr Williams’ views for effect, and not a deliberate suggestion that Mr Smith actually be waterboarded. In the context of the broadcast, the Authority considered audiences were unlikely to have taken the comment seriously, and it was unlikely to have encouraged or motivated prisoners to act violently towards Mr Smith.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order

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Winquist and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-037 (30 June 2017)

An interview was broadcast on Saturday Morning with a British comedy writer and producer. Following a discussion about causing offence to audiences, the interviewee recalled his time as a radio host and a complaint he received from the Bishop of Oxford about a crucifixion joke. He could not remember the joke, and the presenter invited listeners to ‘…send in a series of very funny jokes about the crucifixion to see if we can approximate it’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the presenter’s remark was against common decency and offensive to Christians. The remark was not intended to trivialise or make light of the act of crucifixion or the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and did not reach the threshold necessary to encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, the Christian community.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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Cochran and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-032 (24 July 2017)

An item on Checkpoint reported on the final stages of a court case in Auckland, known as the ‘Dome Valley’ kidnapping, in which a young woman was kidnapped, beaten, sexually violated and left to die by a group of her former friends. The reporter outlined the events of the kidnapping and the item featured segments of the victim giving evidence (with her voice disguised) via audio-visual link from another room in the closed court. The reporter and the victim outlined her assault and injuries in some detail. No audience advisory was broadcast. The Authority found that, while this item had high value in terms of the right to freedom of expression, and was in the public interest, a brief audience advisory should have been broadcast to enable listeners to decide if they wished to listen to the detailed, violent content included in the item. While the Authority supported the broadcast of an item that gave voice to the victim, the segment contained descriptions and details that were disturbing in nature and potentially upsetting for listeners, particularly those who had suffered similarly and any children who may have been listening. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the law and order standard. 

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence

Not Upheld: Law and Order

No Order

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Lee and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2017-030 (24 July 2017)

During a segment on Jay-Jay, Dom & Randell, the show’s hosts asked callers to submit a ‘corny joke’. A caller submitted the following joke: ‘What’s the hardest part about cooking a vegetable? Trying to fit the wheelchair in the pot.’ Before the caller delivered the punchline, one of the hosts (who believed he knew the joke), asked his co-hosts to switch off their microphones so they could discuss it. The hosts also spoke to their producer, asking whether it was appropriate to air the punchline to the joke. After some deliberation, they decided to allow the joke to be broadcast. The hosts reacted to the punchline by saying, ‘No! No! That’s a terrible joke!’ and ‘That’s not a joke!’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the segment was in poor taste and discriminatory. While the Authority found the joke to be offensive and distasteful, taking into account the context of the broadcast and the reactions of the hosts, it did not consider the material reached the threshold necessary to find a breach of the good taste and decency standard. The broadcast of the joke also did not amount to hate speech or vitriol intended to encourage the different treatment, or devalue the reputation of, people with disabilities as a section of the community.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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BL and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2017-025 (9 August 2017)

During Jay-Jay, Dom & Randell, the hosts discussed their conversation with a guest the previous day who was described as a successful voice coach, and who gave tips about putting on a ‘sexy voice’. One of the hosts prank called two phone sex chat lines and spoke to the operators to see whether they used a ‘sexy voice’. One of the operators he spoke with was the complainant, who discussed practical aspects of the service, including how calls were conducted and paid for. A distinctive sound could be heard in the background of the call. The Authority upheld a complaint from the operator that this broadcast breached her privacy and was unfair. The combination of the extended audio of the complainant’s voice and the background sounds meant that she could be identified by people beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about her phone sex chat line business. The complainant was also unaware she was being recorded and did not consent to the broadcast of this information. This resulted in a breach of her privacy and was also unfair. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of BL’s complaint.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness

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

Orders: $2,000 privacy compensation; $1,500 costs to the Crown

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Parlane and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-023 (16 June 2017)

An item on Checkpoint discussed the return of a child after she went missing off the coast of New Zealand with her father. Extensive media coverage reported that the pair had sailed to Australia on a catamaran and that the family was involved in a custody dispute, with proceedings pending under the Care of Children Act 2004. The item aired after the child had been located and featured an interview with the child’s mother, who discussed her fears for her daughter’s safety, and their reunion. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item breached the child’s privacy and treated her unfairly. The information discussed during the interview was in the public domain at the time of broadcast, and the topic was treated sensitively and respectfully by the interviewer. There was also an element of public interest in the child’s welfare and her being found safe. A number of other broadcasting standards raised by the complainant were not applicable or not breached in the context of the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Privacy, Fairness, Balance, Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy 

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Wilkinson and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-012 (15 May 2017)

An interview was broadcast on Saturday Morning with a Swedish historian and author. During the interview, the presenter allegedly quoted former Finance Minister, Sir Roger Douglas. At the end of the item, the presenter also read out negative and critical comments from listeners about the interview. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the presenter’s statement, allegedly attributed to Sir Roger Douglas, was inaccurate, and that reading out the comments received was offensive. The statement was not a material point of fact in the context of the item and would not have affected listeners’ understanding of the item as a whole, which was focused on the views and work of the interviewee. Further, listeners were unlikely to have understood the statement to be a direct quote from the former Finance Minister, and would not have been misled. In the context of the item and the programme, the comments read out by the presenter, while critical and expressed in strong or provocative language, did not reach the threshold necessary to breach standards of good taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency 

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Singh and Radio Virsa - 2017-001 (27 October 2017)

In June, October and November 2016, Sikh radio station Radio Virsa broadcast four programmes in Punjabi on 107FM. The programmes included host and talkback commentary about a wide range of issues. The Authority received a complaint that these broadcasts contained threatening and coarse language and themes, and offensive statements were made in relation to a number of named individuals in the Sikh community, including the complainant. The Authority found that aspects of these broadcasts were in breach of broadcasting standards. The Authority was particularly concerned that offensive comments were made about named individuals in the local community, which resulted in the individuals’ unfair treatment and, in one instance, a breach of privacy. The Authority also found aspects of the broadcasts, which contained comments about women, were unacceptable in New Zealand society and in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the remaining broadcasting standards.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Privacy, Fairness

Not Upheld: Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Alcohol, Balance, Accuracy

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement

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Watson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2016-085 (15 December 2016)

During Kerre McIvor & Mark Dye Afternoons, the hosts had a conversation about tipping in the United States. They discussed a story told by a talkback caller, who said that a church published a Bible pamphlet to be used instead of a monetary tip. One host, who appeared to be reading from the pamphlet, said, ‘Some things are better than money, like your eternal salvation that was bought and paid for by Jesus,’ to which the other host responded by making a vomiting sound. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the vomiting sound made by the host was offensive to Christians and all those who hold religious beliefs. The Authority acknowledged that the host’s reaction would have caused offence to some listeners. However, the reaction reflected the host’s disagreement with the sentiment of the Bible pamphlet and the host was entitled to express this view. In the context of the broadcast, it did not reach the threshold necessary to encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, Christians or those who hold religious beliefs.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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Campbell and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2016-069 (2 December 2016)

During the All Night Programme on Radio New Zealand, the presenter used the expression ‘Thank Christ’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this was a ‘blasphemous expression’ which was highly offensive. The Authority followed its findings in previous decisions that expressions such as ‘Thank Christ’ are often used as exclamations and are not intended to be offensive. It was satisfied that in the context it was used by the presenter, the expression would not generally be considered to threaten current norms of good taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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McDonald and New Zealand Media and Entertainment - 2016-050 (22 August 2016)

An item during a Newstalk ZB news bulletin featured an interview with Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder. The newsreader introduced the item by saying, ‘Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder believes their loss to the Highlanders is the kick up the backside they need…’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘kick up the backside’ was rude, alluded to indecent assault and sexual abuse, and offended ‘community standards’. A ‘kick up the backside’ is a common, colloquial expression in New Zealand, meaning an unwelcome event or action that unexpectedly motivates or inspires. The expression would be well-known to listeners, who would not associate it with indecent or sexual assault. Therefore its use in this context did not threaten standards of good taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency 

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Dickson and New Zealand Media and Entertainment - 2016-047 (22 August 2016)

A regular comedy skit on Radio Sport show The Sauce involved a host impersonating All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and giving ‘top tips’ on various topics. In the segment complained about, the host, mimicking Mr Hansen, addressed the topic of ‘sackings’, stating: ‘…Simply whip your scrot [scrotum] out and just rest it casually on their thigh, buttocks or forehead.’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the segment made light of, and condoned, sexual assault. The Authority found that, in the context of the skit, which was a regular comedy skit broadcast weekly on The Sauce, the segment did not make light of, or encourage listeners to laugh about, sexual assault. Due to its over-the-top, satirical nature, and taking into account audience expectations of Radio Sport and of the segment, listeners would not take the skit seriously or think that the type of behaviour described in the skit was acceptable.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency 

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