Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Video mocking shark attack pulled

A scene from the 'shark party' held on Comedy Central's The Jeselnik Offensive. Photo / YouTube
A scene from the 'shark party' held on Comedy Central's The Jeselnik Offensive. Photo / YouTube

The company that brings Comedy Central to New Zealand screens has pulled a video mocking shark attack victim Adam Strange from its website, and says it regrets any offence the item caused.

US show the Jeselnik Offensive "gives thanks" for the death of Muriwai man Adam Strange with a "shark party". The segment has sparking outrage from Muriwai locals and others.

Viacom International Media Networks, the company that brings Comedy Central to New Zealand, said access to the video on ComedyCentral.com had been blocked for New Zealand and Australian audiences.

The show had not, and would not, air in New Zealand.

"Understandably, the reaction from New Zealanders to this segment of the Jeselnik Offensive has been a strong one. We regret any offence caused, particularly to the Strange family and the Muriwai community," company vice president Rebecca Battie said in a statement.

"We take our responsibility as a programmer as well as the feedback we receive from our viewers very seriously."

Comedy Central US was not commenting on the segment.

In the show, host Anthony Jeselnik is given a lap-dance by a woman in a full shark costume before a photograph of Mr Strange is displayed on a screen behind him.

"But let's not forget the man that made this all possible," he says.

"Smile, you son of a bitch. And that brings this year's total of people killed by sharks - 1, sharks killed by people - 17 million."

Mr Strange was killed as he swam off Muriwai on Auckland's west coast a fortnight ago.

The chairman of the community's Surf Lifeguard Service, Tim Jago, said locals he had spoken to about the video were "disgusted".

"The fact that it's in incredibly poor taste isn't in question. I couldn't find where the humour was in it for a start, so it was pretty lame in that respect.

"I guess the thought that ran through my mind was if a New Zealand comedy act tried to make fun out of something like a high school shooting in America, they'd be on our backs and condemning us straight away."

- APNZ

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