New Zealand’s most infamous anti-Ambassador Paul Henry has shamed us all once again. On TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning, Henry asked John Key (at 6’30” into the interview) of our Governor General “Is he even a New Zealander” (Satyanand was born in NZ) and could the next GG be someone who “looks and sounds a bit more like a New Zealander”.
I am utterly sick of TVNZ continuing to provide a platform for such a bigoted prick. We’ve now had Paul Henry call Susan Boyle “retarded”, ridicule a woman for having facial hair, go into paroxysms on air calling the Indian Minister of Sport “Mrs Dickshit” (a mispronunciation of her name), and now he’s suggesting our Governor General Anand Satyanand is not really a New Zealander because of his skin colour and accent. That is really offensive, especially on the back of a lot of racist commentary about India from TVNZ’s Paul Holmes.
What does this say to the international community about New Zealand – as a diplomatic entity and as a tourism destination – to have comments like these from TVNZ staff broadcast on our state owned broadcaster? Paul Henry is damaging our international reputation for the sake of a few revenue dollars for TVNZ.
Not only is it morally offensive, it doesn’t add up economically. And then of course there’s the ongoing humiliation and degradation he causes to New Zealanders that Henry doesn’t seem to think deserve any respect. Maybe his bigotry could be defended on free-speech grounds on a shock-jock talkback slot, but not on our state owned national broadcaster.
Of course Henry is a pathological attention seeker so don’t ever expect him to change. He likes and needsto offend people. The people really responsible for this ongoing disgrace are the gutless few at TVNZ, who continue to employ him. When Paul Holmes called Kofi Annan a “cheeky darkie” on his radio show, TVNZ eventually pulled Holmes – but only after Mitsubishi withdrew their sponsorship for Holme’s TVNZ show. Now it’s time for TVNZ to do the right thing and move Henry on. Either that or an organized campaign to petition and boycott companies that advertise during and sponsor Breakfast.
TVNZ said at time of writing that they hadn’t received any complaints and that “[t]he audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud”. Well TVNZ, I’m happy to say this out loud. HENRY IS A DISGRACE TO TVNZ, ITS ADVERTISERS AND ITS VIEWERS. CONTINUING TO EMPLOY HIM NOT ONLY DEMONSTRATES THAT TVNZ MANAGEMENT DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT QUALITY BROADCASTING OR RESPECTING THE BASIC RIGHTS OF NEW ZEALANDERS, BUT ALSO THAT THEY WILL CONDONE ONGOING BIGOTRY FOR A FEW RATINGS POINTS.
DimPost offers sound advice on some other forms of direct action.
Note to interviewee John Key: I know you’re pretty relaxed about racism, seeing’s how you can’t even remember if you were for or against the Springbok Tour, but did you agree with Henry’s racism towards our Governor General? Because you didn’t take any exception to his statements or try pulling him up on his racism. And do you condone a State broadcaster making racist comments, let alone about our Governor General? Because you didn’t take any exception to a TVNZ representative’s statements or try pulling him up on his racism. You just laughed and glossed over it.
UPDATE: Ben Gracewood, Breakfast technology commentator, has resigned in protest at Henry’s ongoing disgraceful behaviour. Good on him for having the guts, I wonder how many others involved with the show will have the same integrity?
UPDATE: Boycott TVNZ until they fire Paul Henry Facebook page