Roast Busters: Companies pull ads from RadioLive

By Patrice Dougan, APNZ staff

Willie Jackson and John Tamihere. File photo / APN
Willie Jackson and John Tamihere. File photo / APN

At least four companies are pulling advertisements from RadioLive in further fallout over two of its talkback hosts' discussions on the Roast Busters scandal.

Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have been criticised over the way they interviewed an 18-year-old girl who said she was friends of one of the gang's victims on Tuesday.

They were forced to apologise yesterday but that wasn't enough for some, and today's show saw a guest panelist storm out after a heated on air row.

Now it has emerged that a number of advertisers have withdrawn their support of the show and RadioLive while the pair remains on air.

ANZ, Yellow and Freeview have confirmed they are cancelling their ads on the show, and AA Insurance has indicated the same.

It came after blogger Giovanni Tiso contacted around 30 companies which advertised on the Willie and JT Show yesterday, asking them if they would reconsider their support of the programme.

He has so far received four responses, only one of which, from Countdown, said they were retaining their contract with the station.

ANZ said it was concerned over the reported comments of Tamihere and Jackson and had suspended its advertising schedule on RadioLive until further notice.

"While having freedom of speech is an important part of a well functioning media, it comes with responsibilities. ANZ believes Radio Live has overstepped the mark and as a result is pulling its advertising until further notice.''

Yellow chief executive Chris Armistead said: "We had a small portion of advertising with RadioLive as part of a broader radio campaign. In the current environment we have decided to withdraw our advertising from RadioLive for this campaign.''

Freeview general manager Sam Irvine said the company did not want to be associated with the opinions expressed on the show.

"It's not a viewpoint that's shared by Freeview as a brand so we will be asking that we have our ads on other shows,'' he said.

AA Insurance did not return calls to confirm its position, but in a statement to Mr Tiso said: "In light of the way the interview was conducted and the subsequent apology, we are removing all advertising from this programme pending our full review.''

Countdown said it had not changed its advertising, saying topics or personal opinions expressed "are out of our control'', but said it would discuss the issue with its marketing team.

In a statement, MediaWorks said: "We are not able to comment on clients' advertising campaigns as these details are commercially sensitive, but RadioLive would like to reiterate that we in no way condone the actions of the `Roast Busters' or any violence against women.

"We apologise unreservedly for any offence or distress caused to listeners, clients or others by Willie and JT's interview with Amy.''

Sources at Radiolive said the pair had been called in for a meeting with the station's general manager.

Blogger accuses police of censorship

A blogger is alleging police censorship after his parody of the Roast Busters investigation led to an apparent threat of imprisonment or a fine.

Daily Blog editor Martyn Bradbury said he received an email from police asking him to remove the parody of a police recruitment poster within six hours of him posting it on the site this morning.

The parody poster, which included the police coat of arms and website address, said: "For two years we've known a group of boys have been raping underage girls and posting about them online ... we've sent them all recruitment packs.''

It also parodied the police recruitment slogan, saying: "Get some better rape stories. You can rape as much as you like and we will just say there isn't enough evidence to convict you.''

Police public affairs staff member Campbell Moore emailed Bradbury this afternoon to inform him the post was "potentially in breach of the Policing Act 2008''.

He cited a section of the act that covered the use of the word "police'' in a manner that was likely to lead people to believe the activity was endorsed or authorised by police.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment or a fine of $5000 for individuals, and a fine of up to $20,000 for a group.

Bradbury was astonished by the police response.

"I just think it's farcical that they have time on their hands to threaten blog editors, if the police don't have time on their hands to follow up on a two-year rape allegation. That's just astounding.

"The irony is not lost on me that if I was bragging about rape, they wouldn't have arrested me. But for posting a parody on their complete lack of action on that issue, they're threatening me with six months in prison.''

A police spokeswoman said they asked had asked for the image be taken down because it was "extremely insensitive to victims of sexual violence and offensive to police officers who work tirelessly to help them''.

"The police recruitment story behind the image features a dedicated police officer who rescued a young woman from an ex-partner who sent hundreds of abusive text messages to the woman over a matter of days.

"Police therefore asked that the image be taken down.''

Bradbury said he planned to post the image on the blog again tomorrow.

Studio walkout

Matthew Hooton walked out of the RadioLive interview today after becoming embroiled in an argument with one of the show's hosts and being told to "shut your mouth''.

The writer was a guest on Jackson and Tamihere's RadioLive show discussing the Roast Busters and the fall-out from the scandal, but it quickly descended into an argument when Mr Hooton confronted them about their attitude towards a young woman they interviewed on Tuesday.

The row culminated in Mr Hooton being told to "shut your mouth'' or leave the studio. He walked out to shouts of "get out, get out of our studio''.

Listeners could hear fumbling as headphones and microphones were taken off before the station quickly cut to an ad break.


Hear the end of the interview here:


It came after Mr Hooton claimed the radio hosts were friends with former senior police officer Clint Rickards, who was accused of sex crimes in the 1980s.

Mr Rickards was one of three officers found not guilty in two separate trials - in 2006 and 2007 - and he subsequently resigned from the police in November 2007.

The radio hosts were forced to apologise over Tuesday's questioning of the 18-year-old, named as Amy, who said she was a friend of a victim of the so-called Roast Busters.

The young men bragged online about getting underage girls - some as young as 13 - drunk and having group sex with them.

Mr Hooton was on the show with Matt McCarten as guests on the political panel to discuss the week's events in relation to the Roast Busters.

However, he lasted less then 10 minutes on air before storming out during a heated row with the hosts.

Mr Hooton told Mr Jackson and Mr Tamihere that their interview with Amy was "morally and journalistically cretinous".

Both Mr Hooton and Mr McCarten took the presenters to task for how they carried out their interview, saying they had implied there were "mitigating factors" in the Roast Busters incidents.

"You were saying maybe these girls were a bit slutty," Mr Hooton said.

"What you're not allowed to do as a 17-year-old man is rape a 13-year-old.".

When Mr Jackson tried to say there was "no disagreement" about that, he responded: "Well there kind of was."

Mr Hooton was promptly told to "listen, because you've got to stop this crap".

When Mr Hooton accused the pair of being supporters of Mr Rickards, Mr Jackson told him to "shut your mouth or you'll be out of the studio".

"I'm out of here," he replied, leaving to shouts of "well get out then, get out".

Mr Rickards sits on the board of the Waipareira Trust, which Mr Tamihere is the chief executive of.

When they returned to the airwaves after the ad break they said that Mr Hooton had claimed, before he arrived at the station, that he was going to make a scene while on air.

"He did that, he's left, so that's cool," Mr Tamihere said.

The radio hosts had tried to justify their interview saying it needed to be taken in the context of a three-hour show and not a 10-minute segment, in which they tried to look at all angles, including underage drinking and casual sex among teenagers.

However, comments such as "whether people like it or not, dress comes into it", have not helped the pair online, where social media was full of comments about the show, most unfavourable.

They also questioned parents "in terms of what are we doing with our girls", and having "a 13-year-old daughter who ... sneaks out and has sex voluntarily".

'Stop treating people as entertainment'

The mother and father of Beraiah Hales, an alleged member of the Roast Buster group, say they are horrified with his online bragging.

Beraiah's mother and stepfather spoke to One News tonight for the first time since news of the group - which bragged online about having sex with drunk and underage girls - first emerged on Sunday.

"We don't think that he's really capable of that sort of thing. He can be arrogant and incredibly silly and an idiot, and the bragging sort of thing is really disgusting,'' his stepfather told One News.

Police interviewed 17-year-old Beraiah in relation to a then 13-year-old girl's complaint in 2011, but police later told his mother there was not enough evidence to press charges.

"It's a serious allegation, so I was worried,'' his mother said.

The family told One News that Beraiah, a difficult teenager, was now estranged from them. They had sought counselling and special schooling for him, but he still kept getting into trouble.

His stepfather said Beraiah's online comments were like he was "acting''.

"So for them it's a bit like a reality TV show,'' he said.

"To brag about it and to make the people they've been with feel so small, that's the thing that really gets us. You know, it's not nice, it's just there to shame people.''

Asked by One News what would happen if it turned out her son had done what he was alleged to have, his mother said: "Then he has to suffer the consequences.''

The family has not spoken to Beraiah since the Roast Busters scandal emerged but his stepfather gave him a message on One News: "Don't be so bloody stupid and stop treating people as entertainment.''

Cop's son accused of attack

3 News reported tonight that at least two of the group's victims named the son of a police officer among their attackers.

"They are sick boys who are twisted in the head. They have no respect for themselves or girls. If nothing gets done now, what are they capable of in the future?'' said a 15-year-old girl who laid a complaint in 2011 and will lay another.

She told 3 News last night that police took no action when she laid her original complaint.

Tonight she told the broadcaster that police told one of the boys he needed sexual offending counselling.

"They planned for (the boy) to go to sexual offending counselling, which never happened, which I have just found out. They funded for it but couldn't make him go,'' she said.

One 13-year-old said that in her police interview she was made to believe she consented to the sex. She did not hear from the police again until yesterday, 3 News reported.

Video

Police need 'strongest case possible'

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says he has assured Police Minister Anne Tolley that complaints of sexual assault by the Roast Busters group are being investigated thoroughly and professionally.

"I also welcome the minister's calls for the Independent Police Conduct Authority to look at the actions taken by our staff to investigate the activities of this group, which is entirely appropriate given the level of public interest in this particular case,'' Mr Marshall said this afternoon.

Waitemata District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle would also be reviewing aspects of how the investigation was handled.

"Superintendent Searle and myself have also apologised to the first victim who came forward in this matter in 2011, who did not initially have her formal complaint publicly acknowledged by police this week. However, I am now satisfied that her complaint was very thoroughly investigated, but this case did not meet the evidential threshold required for prosecution,'' Mr Marshall said.

"These cases can be amongst the most challenging and complex for police to deal with. The public rightly expects us to take firm and appropriate action when we become aware of the sort of activity which this group has engaged in, which we also find abhorrent and disturbing. However, we must have the necessary evidence to put these matters before the court.

Prosecuting such matters required a very high threshold and police had only one opportunity to get it right.

"This means it absolutely critical for victims that we have the strongest case possible, backed by the appropriate evidence before we can proceed.''

Mr Marshall said police had come a long way in their treatment and support for complainants and victims of sexual offending but accepted there was still room to improve.

Video

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 31 Aug 2014 03:52:23 Processing Time: 31ms