As Stuff reports, TVNZ has belatedly come to its senses and suspended Paul Henry without pay for his remarks about the Governor-General and his possible successor. TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis said that Mr Henry's remarks were inappropriate for anyone in the company to make.
"I have met with Paul and told him that while his apologies were the right thing to do and that I believe he is sincere in his regret, I still consider his remarks unacceptable for any employee of TVNZ to make. TVNZ is a multi-cultural company that is representative of modern New Zealand's rich ethnic diversity. We give Paul a lot of freedom with the Breakfast programme and he does a magnificent job. But as we have said before, with that freedom comes responsibility. Paul is one of New Zealand's best broadcasters. He is a provocative host who speaks his mind and that is what many New Zealanders like about him. He often pushes the boundaries and that's important in a country that values freedom of speech. But I consider his latest remarks to have well and truly crossed that line. As Editor-In-Chief I have today suspended Paul without pay effective immediately. He will return on air on Monday 18 October. When Sir Anand returns from the Commonwealth Games I will be personally apologising to him."
I do not think the public - or at least that proportion of it that instantly understood exactly how racist and offensive Henry's remarks were - will quickly forget John Key's inability to show the same understanding, and react appropriately to what Henry said to him, preferably by immediately walking out of the studio.
But I also agree with Stargazer - it seems that sexism is not in the same league as racism, and that had Henry stuck to insulting women, those with disabilities and those who do not hold high public office, he would have continued to get away with it. Still, at least even TVNZ (or at least Rick Ellis) did grasp, though very belatedly, and after compounding the offence by saying that Henry voices what "we" think, did finally understand that Henry's conduct was completely unacceptable - though not, apparently, unacceptable enough to fire him.