Thursday, 24 March 2011

Some vindication

While the BSA found TVNZ's approach to the problem "slow but sufficient", they also clearly rejected Henry's attempt at an apology at the time as lacking "substance and sincerity."   The Herald reports that the BSA particularly pointed to the unhelpfulness of Andi Brotherston saying, on behalf of TVNZ, that Paul Henry said stuff "we quietly think but are scared to say out loud". 

This is some vindication for the many many complainants from October 2010, when Henry finally crossed some invisible magical line which only the Establishment seem to be able to see.  Anjum put together a useful round-up at the time of the concerns voiced about Henry's racism and arrogant response online.

I'm still disappointed that Paul Henry was allowed, by his employer and by the many supporters who sadly enabled him, to get to this point.  There were plenty of earlier points at which TVNZ could have stepped in and said "hey, stop the racism, the sexism, the general bigotry, because it's not ok." 

There was November 2009, when we and others called for Paul Henry to change or go, after he called Susan Boyle a retard and was nasty about those with intellectual disabilities; October 2009, when Henry's inappropriate faith-based support of Sensing Murder psychics went totally OTT as he asked Deb Webber, live, about where a missing child was (and shame on her for answering too);  April 2009, when Henry drooled over a woman on air and her dance partner called him a dickhead in response; March 2009, when I first bothered complaining about his prejudiced comments after he belittled a Breakfast guest based on her (totally irrelevant) appearance; not to mention dozens of other remarks and his tendency to just say worse things in his (mis-named) apologies for them.

Props to all those who complained about Henry, some multiple times, through all his ridiculousnesses.  If we hadn't done it be assured TVNZ would not have acted as they did, eventually, and Breakfast could still be blighted by his presence.  And we wouldn't have had some useful, if difficult, discussions about how we want our media to be; free from prejudice and seeking to challenge those with power, not denigrate those without.

Henry is gone, from TVNZ, but he's not forgotten.  He seems to pop up in the newspapers on a regular basis, with rumours of his great new career in the States and gossip column coverage of his trips back to Aotearoa.  And I don't think he's genuinely repentant either.  Seems to me he's sad he lost his job but he's not much sad about anything else.  More he's angry, and feels unfairly treated.  Which perhaps is giving him a little taste of what it's like to be the victim of the kind of prejudice he regularly fomented on his show.  Although most who were his targets don't have the kind of resources Henry has to cushion the blows.

I hope we never see his like again.


Melimalle said...

I have nothing of great worth to add to this because I'm just too tired. But bravo on the picture. It fits the story perfectly!

Phil (Hamilton) said...

Everyone has the right to an opinion and I happen to think that Paul was a great presenter. I didn't always agree with him but he was certainly entertaining.

You talk about the invisible line he crossed but that line is drawn by the minority and does not represent NZ at all. I was watching a Billy Connolly video last night "Live from London" where he talked about NZ being the most politically correct country in the world. We even call a "man hole" a "people hole" so as to not offend woman. Is this really the view we want to show the world.

Live and let live ey. Well that includes allowing people off all kinds, even the so called bigots, to live amongst us without prejudice. If freedom is really freedom this is only fair and I think something we desperately need to counter the enormous PC brigade that claims to speak for the whole of NZ when infact they are very much a minority voice.

stargazer said...

evidence please of anyone using the word "person hole" - and "billy connolly said so" does not consitute evidence.

also, you are now rehashing debates we've already had here, and i'd suggest you go back and read some of the links in the post. everybody has the right to an opinion, but everybody does not have the right to a media platform to abuse others. paul henry clearly doesn't believe in "live and let live", otherwise he wouldn't feel the need to denigrate people on the basis of their appearance, their skin colour or gender.

you say the line is drawn by a minority and then you say that the PC brigade is enormous, therefore it can't be a minority right? that makes the minority those who are the insenstive, callous and without any manners, who like to whine when they get called out on their behaviour.

Phil (Hamilton) said...

My point was not that people here use the term "people hole" but that when visitors to our country can see how strong political correctness has become in NZ then it is time to take a good look and ourselves.

Everyone lives in the world they create around them. Paul Henry was a broadcaster by choice but I do not think you can say he chose to be a broadcaster for the purpose of pushing his opinions. That was just the world he lived in and I think he would have the same opinions if he was a banker or a truck driver. He was also entertaining lots of people with his humorous ways and comments. His so called "bigoted" views are such a small part of who he is as a broadcaster.

Minority groups can also have very strong lobby groups and the PC brigade certainly has that. Fired up by the media who love a good PC story. Also, 9 years of a left wing government has given the PC brigade the idea that they speak for everyone. Well they don't.

You say Paul doesn't agree with live and let live when in-fact you don't either. So you are, by using your own standards, just as bad as Paul Henry so should we all be calling for you to be sacked. I think not as I personally believe you are entitled to your opinion and can voice it as strongly as you want to but calling for people to be sacked is being just as bigoted and you say he is.

Also - just to revisit 1 point. A joke is sometimes just a joke and most people can see that even when they are the brunt of it. Why is it that the PC brigade feel the need to stand-up for everyone. Maybe the people you think you are defending actually like a good joke and think it adds a positiveness to society. I know I do and I am a fat, middle aged man who wears glasses.

Maybe you should let the so called injured people complain for themselves if they choose that it is important to them and stop feeling that you have the moral right to speak for us all.

Julie said...

Phil, the original call, back in November 2009 was for Paul Henry to "change or go". If his bigoted remarks were such a small part of his broadcasting ability then surely he could easily have jettisoned them. In fact Henry managed to not make them at all in other broadcasting capacities, e.g. on Close Up. Yet he persisted. It's common employment practice (in fact it is good employment practice) to outline to someone how they are not meeting requirements and then give them a chance to improve, and support to do so. This was done several times, according to TVNZ (although I have my doubts), to no avail.

What stargazer said, really.

You want to sack me from blogging? Something I do voluntarily, in my own time, and for no financial benefit? That's a bit odd.

As for letting the injured people complain. Frankly I do feel injured when women are unfairly judged on their appearance in the media. And I don't like it when people in positions of power abuse that to denigrate those without power, or with less. And you assume that those who were the direct targets didn't complain. Yet actually one of the key complainants around the "retard" comments was IHC.

Not A Feminist said...

On the flip side to Phil's "PC people are ruining it for me ME ME ME", it's pretty frickin sad that a lot of NZers would rather cling to their offensive words rather than even contemplate how those words might offend other people.

"ME ME ME" indeed.

Melimalle said...

I'd love to meet this PC brigade that we have ruling our country! I wonder if they have a branch in Tauranga? Since you make it sound like there are everywhere, just waiting for the chance to ruin people's right to be offensive and bigoted...

Kate said...

Phil - PC does not mean what you think it means.

Gravey said...

I always wondered who this "PC minority" was. Maybe it is because I am part of it, or am too stupid to see past my own viewpoint.

And Phil - as has been said so many times (if you bothered to read posts on this and other similar forums) a joke is never just a joke. Words are never just words. They always mean something. The fact that they don't mean anything to you doesn't mean the same applies to everyone else.

When someone chooses to become a broadcaster, the required standards of behaviour change. As an indiviudal, if you say something racist or sexist, you are only heard by a few people. It is still damaging, but not that much really.

When a broadcaster does it, it represents the whole country. It is saying it to thousands of people.

And if you need any explanation of why what he did was so bad, you only need look at the comments about it. Look at all the hatred expressed at those of us who express our anger (note the really subtle difference there).

Oh and Phil - surely you aren't suggesting we shouldn't be talking like this, are you? Because that certainly isn't "live and let live".

Let's not forget standard response #12: PC [insert added phrase here] is just something people say in the absence of a coherent argument"

nznative said...

PC or "politicaly correct" is a cover all sheild used by jerks and creeps.

That and wank loaded phrases like "nanny state".

Paul Henry was a slimey national sycophant.

Good riddance to bad rubbish .........

Unfortunatly like that other creep and "anti PC" man tony Veitch he will be back.

To many likers of bullies in this country .......

Carlist said...

Nznative, I wonder if the drug alcohol played a part in any of Paul Henry's rants?

Maybe he has gone to Thailand?

nznative said...

I haven't seen any evidence of Paul henry being under the influence of the drug alcohol while he's actually been on the air broadcasting Carlist.

No, his 'put down ' humour comes from his belief system.

He's drunk on his own ego.