TV3 star attacks Jews

By Rachel Glucina, Joseph Barratt, Barry Clarke

David Fane's appearance at a high profile media event shocked his audience. Photo / Herald on Sunday
David Fane's appearance at a high profile media event shocked his audience. Photo / Herald on Sunday

A top TV star unleashed a racist outburst at a high-profile media event this week - claiming that "Jews were expendable".

David Fane, one of the creators of bro'Town, told an audience including Jason Gunn, Mike Hosking, Kate Hawkesby and John Tamihere, that "Hitler had a right" and HIV sufferers deserved to be "roasted".

Fane, who is best known for film and TV roles including Outrageous Fortune, Sione's Wedding and Radiradirah, also hosts a breakfast show on radio station Flava.

His employers at the The Radio Network and TV3 were last night ducking for cover, with both refusing to apologise.

Fane made the tirade on Wednesday night at the inaugural Radio Roast at the exclusive Northern Club in Auckland.

He said: "You are the worst motherf*****s in the world, you agency guys," referring to advertising bosses in the audience.

He said: "I want to eat you, but I won't because I don't want to get HIV. Would you roast an HIV person? You'd roast them because they're expendable. Like the Jews. Hitler had a right, you know.

"You've all got f****** Aids, c****!"

The outburst has sparked outrage in New Zealand's Jewish community and among Aids health advocates.

New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman demanded that Fane and his employers apologise.

He said the speech had parallels to Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic outburst in 2006.

"It is a very anti-Semitic statement," said Goodman. "While we wish to preserve the rights to freedom of speech he went over the line."

Goodman said the comment was heightened by the fact Fane was a role model.

"He is entitled to hold his own opinion and if this is what he truly believes, he should just keep his mouth closed."

Goodman said the council may demand action from The Radio Network if Fane failed to apologise, particularly if he was there in a work capacity.

"We would very much like to see an apology ... and a genuine one," he said.

New Zealand Aids Foundation executive president Rachael Le Mesurier said Fane's comments would have caused widespread outrage.

"I was aware there are a few individuals out there that hold prejudices like this. I think what he said would offend most New Zealanders.

"There is no place for prejudice against people living with HIV, homophobia, or anti-Semitism, in New Zealand," said Mesurier.

"I would assume he is getting advice recommending he apologise quickly."

Fane later denied he was anti-Semitic and said "some of my favourite friends are Jewish", including film director Taika Waititi.

Waititi, who has a Jewish mother, refused to comment.

Fane's boss at Flava, The Radio Network chief executive, John McElhinney, also refused to comment, as did TV3 publicist Nicole Wood.

Fane did not respond to requests for comment last night and there was no one in at his home in Pt Chevalier.

In 2005, former Labour MP John Tamihere sparked controversy when he said he was "sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed" in the Holocaust.

He added that while he found the Holocaust revolting, he believed that repeated mention of it was simply used to make people "feel guilty".

- Herald on Sunday

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