TVNZ upholds Paul Henry complaints

By Hayden Donnell

Paul Henry. Photo / Greg Bowker
Paul Henry. Photo / Greg Bowker

TVNZ has upheld 1500 complaints against its former Breakfast host Paul Henry.

The company received the flood of complaints after Mr Henry implied Governor-General Anand Satyanand did not look or sound like a New Zealander.

Today it acknowledged those comments were offensive in a letter sent to all complainants.

It upheld complaints on the grounds they breached standards of fairness and discrimination, good taste and decency and denigration.

"The Complaints Committee sincerely apologises to you for the breach of Broadcasting Standards. We understand that you were deeply offended by Paul Henry's comments," the letter said.

TVNZ spokeswoman Andi Brotherston's statement that Mr Henry was simply saying the things "we quietly think but are scared to say out loud" could not be considered by the committee.

However, it recognised that the comment compounded the offence caused.

It also denounced Mr Henry's mocking of Indian Minister Sheila Dikshit.

His repeated mispronounciation of her name as "dik shit" and attempt to make a scatological joke about it breached broadcasting standards, the committee said.

Mr Henry resigned from TVNZ after those comments sparked a diplomatic incident with India.

Complainants now have 20 days to decide whether to take further action with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

TVNZ spokesperson Megan Richards said the company had done all it could to deal with the comments.

"It's hard to see what could be done beyond what has been done. But we'll have to leave it to the BSA."

No further action will be taken against Ms Brotherston, she said.

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