Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Fane suspended for tirade

David Fane. Photo / Herald on Sunday
David Fane. Photo / Herald on Sunday

David Fane will have the next couple of weeks to mull over his comments about HIV sufferers and Jews, after being suspended from his radio host job.

The comedian, actor and radio host on Auckland-based Flava 96.1FM was yesterday suspended for the rest of the week for offensive remarks he made in a speech.

Leave he had booked for next week will mean he will be off air for two weeks.

At a media event in Auckland last week, an intoxicated Fane told the audience "Jews were expendable", "Hitler had a right" and HIV sufferers deserved to be "roasted".

On Sunday night, an upset Fane appeared on television to apologise for his behaviour.

He said: "They were dumb words - said by a dumb man. [It was a] stupid, stupid mistake."

Fane's employer, The Radio Network (TRN), yesterday released a statement after company executives had met him to discuss the matter.

As a result, Fane put out two written apologies, one to the New Zealand Jewish Council and the other to the New Zealand Aids Foundation, for any offence he caused.

TRN chief executive John McElhinney said: "David has met with us today and he profoundly regrets his remarks and unreservedly apologises for the offence they will have caused.

"While his comments were made in the context of a roast, what he said in this case was definitely inappropriate and we in no way condone the comments."

Gail Cowan Management - which represents Fane professionally - said last night it would continue to support his acting career.

"Dave made no excuses for his behaviour and is deeply remorseful," a spokesman said. "[We'd] like to leave it at that please and allow the family their privacy."

Aids Foundation executive director Rachael Le Mesurier confirmed last night that an apology had been received.

She said Fane was already well-known within the foundation, as he had many friends who had worked for the organisation and because he himself had put time and effort into promoting its issues.

One of his works included co-writing a play called A Frigate Bird Sings, which dealt with issues that many fa'afafine (transvestites) dealt with daily.

Ms Le Mesurier said: "He has been involved with the foundation, like co-writing a play promoting our issues.

"We would have been really surprised if David really was racist or had feelings like that."

- NZ Herald

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