Roast Busters scandal: Jackson steps down from Radio Waatea

By Patrice Dougan

Willie Jackson and Sean Plunket. Photos / Michael Craig/David White
Willie Jackson and Sean Plunket. Photos / Michael Craig/David White

Radio host Willie Jackson has voluntarily stepped down from his Maori radio show in the wake of the Roast Busters scandal.

It comes just days after it was announced he would not be back on air with RadioLive for the rest of the year following the outcry over last week's interview he and co-host John Tamihere carried out with a teenager, who said she was a friend of a Roast Busters victim.

Jackson, who has an NZ On Air funded weekly current affairs programme on Radio Waatea, will not present the show for the next few weeks the station said in a statement.

Both Jackson and Tamihere are directors of the station, which was set up by the Urban Maori Authorities.

Radio Waatea said it had "decided editorially to look closely at the Roast Busters issue", which is said it had only covered "superficially" since the story broke 10 days ago.

It said as a national Maori news and current affairs provider it was "obliged to extend our coverage on this issue", but that neither Jackson or Tamihere "will be involved".

The station's general manager Bernie O'Donnell told Radio New Zealand it was "probably not a good time" for Jackson to be on the air, given the fall-out from his RadioLive talkback shows last week.

"We had a meeting and we were all agreed that we needed to make sure that we don't put ourselves at risk with our kaupapa, and so Willie agreed it's best he stand down for a while," he said.

Jackson and Tamihere sparked outrage last week with their interview with 18-year-old 'Amy', which many described as victim-blaming. They were forced to apologise, but after an on-air row in which a guest panellist stormed out and as companies withdrew their adverts from the station, the pair announced on Monday they would not present the Willie and JT Show for the rest of the year.

- Another Radio Live host issues an apology -

Meanwhile, RadioLive host Sean Plunket has issued an apology after he called a sex abuse victim a "moron" and cut her off when she rang in to his show last week.

The presenter made a two-minute on-air apology the day after the interview, and today admitted he had "made a mistake" after facing further criticism.

"...without going into detail, I have in my life witnessed and experienced at a very personal level some of the behaviours which are causing such outrage today," he said in a statement.

"I have carried those experiences with me my entire life and have at times struggled to find positives from them. I know well the difficult choices facing victims of abuse in deciding whether to come forward or stay silent."

The presenter will also be off-air for a while, as he flies to Brisbane for a "long planned" holiday.

Another RadioLive host, Andrew Fagan, earlier apologised after an interview with a caller who described how she was raped as a teenager. Fagan questioned whether the sex was consensual and if she fancied her attacker.

- APNZ

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