A radio host shocked viewers of the New Zealand Music Awards last night with a bad taste joke about Jonah Lomu that was passed off as a tribute to the late rugby legend.
But the controversial shock radio host has fobbed off critics of his quip as "clutching at straws".
The awards were held last night in Auckland and screened live on TV3. They saw Nelson pop duo Broods emerge as the night's big winners with four awards, including Best Group and Album of the Year.
Radio host Dominic Harvey was presenting the Tui for Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album with his wife Jay-Jay and The Edge co-host Mike Puru when he told the crowd he'd had the number "11" shaved into his eyebrows.
It was, he said, a tribute to Lomu, the All Black star who passed away from a heart attack at age 40 earlier this week. Lomu played at No 11 and sported the unusual fashion trend early in his career.
Harvey told the Vector Arena crowd that it was the second time he'd had the number shaved into his eyebrows. "That's not just a couple of lines, that's the No. 11, it's a tribute to the big man, Jonah Lomu."
The first, he said, was at the beginning of Lomu's career 20 years ago and had seen his girlfriend at the time "turn the tap off" - a colloquialism for sex - until the eyebrow grew back properly.
As his co-hosts jeered, Harvey followed it up with a brief comment paying respect to the rugby legend, saying: "Rest in peace Jonah".
It was the night's first mention of Lomu, causing groans and eye rolls in the crowd at Vector Arena and even Jay-Jay was seen shaking her head.
Twitter users called it "gross" and "appallingly crass" .
Harvey did received one message of support, which he replied to.
Lomu was later given a proper tribute with a rousing impromptu haka performed by the winner of Best Maori Album, Ranea.
Harvey caused an outcry recently when he posted a screen shot from the Dancing With the Stars final of Chrystal Chenery's crotch.
He removed the photo and apologised but not before it had been slammed as "gross and disrespectful of women".