A Broadcasting Standards Authority complaint about Paul Henry's 'moustache gate' has not been upheld because TVNZ handled the matter appropriately.I've got no idea who Tony Brown is, but I can understand the motivation behind his complaint. Frankly I was pretty hosed off that Paul Henry didn't actually contact Stephanie Mills to apologise until after TVNZ said publicly that he had. And that no journo actually bothered to contact Mills to check before just printing what TVNZ said. Still TVNZ did do a lot more than I thought they would. And I would hope that this incident puts Henry on shakier ground if he does something similar again.
On March 25, the Breakfast host read viewer comments that a female Greenpeace worker, who had been a guest on the show, had a moustache. He then added his own comments, while his co-host Alison Mau pleaded with him to stop.
TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards announced in May that the broadcaster had upheld the complaints against Henry because the guest was treated unfairly. It had replied to the around 30 people who complained and apologised. Henry and senior Breakfast staff were counselled.
However, dissatisfied with TVNZ's response, complainant Tony Brown referred the matter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, saying he was "quite unhappy about the pathetic action they have taken as a result of the incident".
Mr Brown considered TVNZ had a duty to make a public apology to viewers.
TVNZ was aware the incident had provoked significant negative publicity for TVNZ, and considered that as sufficient penalty.
"It was also concerned that further on-air publicity at this stage might only serve to re-victimise the woman in question," the authority's finding said.
The authority found that Henry had blatantly breached standards, but did not uphold Mr Brown's complaint because TVNZ's response had been sufficient. It agreed TVNZ would be hard pressed to readdress the matter on air without further re-victimisation of the Breakfast guest.
This is another good opportunity to remind those who haven't seen it yet that what Stephanie Mills was talking about was actually really important and didn't deserve to get overwhelmed by Henry's pettiness.