Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Rejection of breast ad complaint 'laughable'

The BSA has not upheld the complaint from Gary McCormick. Photo / Doug Sherring
The BSA has not upheld the complaint from Gary McCormick. Photo / Doug Sherring

Broadcaster Gary McCormick has called for the Broadcasting Standards Authority to be scrapped after having a complaint about a "vulgar'' TV advertisement featuring women with extremely large breasts rejected.

McCormick, 60, complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) over ads shown during the 6pm One News for the documentary 'Real Life: The World's Most Enhanced Woman and Me'.

It showed women with massively enhanced breasts and McCormick complained that it breached standards of good taste and decency, and should not have been shown when children would be viewing.

The ad was "vulgar'' and "crass'', said the father of four daughters.

However, the BSA found the footage, while confronting and unacceptable to some, was relatively matter-of-fact and inexplicit rather than sexual.

"All of the women were clothed, and the promo did not contain any nudity,'' the BSA said.

"The shots of the women and the tone of the promo were not salacious or designed to titillate. Rather, we consider that the promo reflected the tenor of the documentary, focusing on the physiological aspect of getting breast implants of that size, and questioning the motivations behind electing to undergo those operations.

"The complainant has been concerned about these images but we, taking an objective view, do not consider that most viewers would have been offended by the promo.''

McCormick today described the BSA's decision as "laughable'' and highlighted bureaucracy "at its worst''.

"If you have a woman holding giant-sized breasts, wearing a singlet, and bouncing up and down at 5.40pm and 6.40pm when parents aren't forewarned, then there's no point in having a standards authority at all,'' he said.

"Now is the time to formally call for the abolition of the BSA. We're paying them for nothing.

"They are not only toothless, but gumless. They're the prime example of a complete and utter waste of time. It's bureaucracy at its worst.''

McCormick's concerns over the timing of the ads, before the 8.30pm AO watershed, were mitigated by the fact children were less likely to watch news programmes unsupervised, and because news programmes did naturally attract younger viewers, the BSA said.

"The content was not unsuitable for child viewers under the guidance of an adult, and would not have disturbed or alarmed them,'' it said.

But McCormick was left stunned by their conclusions.

"It alarmed and terrified me, and I'm just about the most liberal guy I know,'' the Christchurch radio celebrity said.

"It was disgusting, vulgar, grotesque, and crass.

"I've never made a complaint to the BSA before and went into it, thinking surely we have some standards. Obviously we don't have standards any more.''

The TV shows, which first aired on Britain's Channel 4, examined why some women took breast implants to "extraordinary extremes'' and spoke to "the new contender for the title of the world's most enhanced woman.''


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