Monday 7 December 2009

Paul Henry must change or go

Thanks to Craig for this idea in comments. Hope it works!

TVNZ have had numerous complaints about Paul Henry's most recent ridiculousness, to them directly, to the Human Rights Commission, and to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. While we don't know yet what their response will be, as Paul Henry's employer, we do know that last time they pretended to take things seriously, but Henry's behaviour has not changed.

But surely we can rely on TVNZ to act responsibly? Despite one of Henry's colleagues distancing himself from the latest gaffe, TVNZ management itself seem to be ok with it all as long as it rates. But perhaps they won't be so happy if their advertisers are unhappy...

What I'd like people to do is to commit to sending emails to five of Breakfast's key advertisers covering the following key points:
  1. Paul Henry frequently editorialises in a manner that denigrates guests, encourages discrimination against marginalised groups, and judges people based on their appearance
  2. Paul Henry's offensive comments are unacceptable
  3. Paul Henry must change his behaviour or be replaced
  4. As an advertiser choosing to buy time during Breakfast your company is supporting his behaviour and I will therefore not be purchasing anything from your company
Here's a standard message you can cut and paste and use if you so choose.
To the CEO/Managing Director,
I am disappointed that you have chosen to advertise on TVNZ's Breakfast show while Paul Henry remains one of the hosts.

Henry's inappropriate and offensive comments towards guests on the show, and other people mentioned in news items, have continued unabated since he was reprimanded for this behaviour earlier this year.

While Henry and TVNZ have claimed that Breakfast is a light-hearted entertainment show it still purports to be a source of news and current affairs interviews, and Henry's denigration of people featured, particularly women and particularly based on physical appearance, is unacceptable to me.

I will not be watching Breakfast until Henry ceases to act in this way, or is replaced. I will also not be spending my money on your products or services while you continue to advertise on a show that features him.
Yours etc,
I've used the subject line "Will not be spending my money with your company while you advertise on Paul Henry's Breakfast show." Not very snappy, but gets the point across I hope!

Please make sure that one of your five emails goes to Heritage Hotels/City Life, as they are the main sponsors of Breakfast. The email to send it to is:
I've noted the following organisations currently sponsoring competitions on Breakfast:
McDonalds - or *
Village Roadshow -
Visit Britain -
FreemanX -
Do let me know if you are aware of any others and I'll add them in to the list.

If you're not sure why you should be so bothered about Paul Henry, here's some links worth checking out:
  • The series of incidents dubbed Moustachegate, which included Henry belittling an interview subject's views on a serious topic because she had facial hair, after she had left, and then continuing to dig further in the media afterwards
  • Josh Kronfeld calls Paul a dickhead after he comments in a drooling fashion about the appearance of Josh's dance partner
  • Paul Henry insensitively encourages telly psychic Deb Webber to get involved in the disappearance of Aisling Symes (a continuation of his general support for the psychics on Sensing Murder in general, and Deb Webber in particular, in a manner more like someone pushing another TVNZ show than behaving like a responsible journalist)
  • IHC's call for complaints to the Human Rights Commission, as well as to TVNZ and the Broadcasting Standards Authority, after Henry made offensive comments about Susan Boyle, and also denigrated those living with intellectual disabilities. Again, as with his attack on Stephanie Mills, Henry has continued to make things worse in his response to criticism.
  • And here's a few more of Henry's worst hits, from Stuff, ..."They are so arrogant and hideous people, campervan people." Teenage mum a "slapper". Obese children "should be taken away from their parents and put in a car compactor". Convicted murderer Antonie Dixon dies: "I can hear a chorus of people saying 'thank goodness'."
Paul Henry must change or go. Let's help TVNZ to see that.

* The McDonald's website lists no email addresses, makes it impossible to find one, and requires you to use the online feedback form. The two emails I had previously tried and then struck out were guesses on my part, both bounced back. The contact form is pretty full on, requiring you to provide your postal address and a phone number, but I've dont that anyway and have requested a response. Will update if I get a better idea for this one, but please do share in comments if you have any tips! UPDATE: Thanks to A Reader who emailed with the addresses - I have tried them both and they haven't bounced back yet, so fingers crossed they work!


Anna S said...

Okay, let's do it. I'll email five advertisers, and email a link to your post to twenty people, and put it on my Facebook profile.

Boganette said...

This is awesome Julie! Thanks. I plan to send it to everyone I know. Let's get this show on the road!

Anonymous said...

Great idea... have sent 5 emails

Daleaway said...


Are you able to list any more advertisers? I will not watch this show any more so don't know who they are.

Have had more than enough of Paul Henry and TVNZ's smirking attitude.

Daleaway said...

the way I had emails bounced from FreemanX and from Visit Britain on the email addresses you gave. Here is a better one for Visit Britain:
Garry White is the CEO of their Asia/Pacific Office.

John said...

Excellent article. Beautifully written and I also adore how the article you referenced on described them as "bons mots"...

He is a shocker...

We have a Facebook group to help TVNZ realise that this guy has GOTTA go


Anna S said...

I enjoyed this opinion piece:

Sarah said...

...a link to an article just posted on stuff:

(hope it comes out ok)

Sarah said...

note to self - read the previous comments before posting link in a fit of "grr this guy pisses me off, need to share" gusto. I'm so glad the article's up, and people aren't letting it slide. My god, that guy...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I stumbled upon a blog post that encouraged it's readers to email you with threats to boycott your business because you advertise on Breakfast with Paul Henry.
I'd like to put my hand up and say I'm of the opposite point of view. While I think he perhaps suffers from foot in mouth disease I treat his comments as they should be - comedy.
Keep advertising, I'd hate for Henry to leave Breakfast as that would really dullen my days.

Jill said...

How dull do you have to be to need someone to brighten your days with jokes about minorities anon?

Anonymous said...

Oh crap.

I posted this on my facebook page in the hope that others would also send through emails to the advertisers. Probably the only thing I've achieved is encouraging a lot of white middle-to-upper-class 21 year olds completely ignorant of their privilege to come here and say he's somehow funny.

Seriously seriously apologise for that. Have removed the link now.

Johnno said...

"Probably the only thing I've achieved is encouraging a lot of white middle-to-upper-class 21 year olds completely ignorant of their privilege to come here and say he's somehow funny. "

Maybe, although Breakfast's biggest demographic of viewers is Females, 35-59 yrs.

Incidentally, the repeat of Te Karere that plays at 5.30am (13 hours old) outrates TV3's breakfast programme that runs from 7.00am.

Idiot/Savant said...

Success! FreemaX says:

I wasn't particularly impressed with the presentation of our experience nor by certain things said by Paul Henry, but suffice to say we won't be
advertising with them again.

Again I can't comment on Paul Henry's past comments & opinions as I simply do not watch him enough, however I would hate for FreemanX to be associated
with offensive or inappropriate behavior of any kind. Our business has always been modeled off the kiwi can-do attitude, based on quality customer service.

Thank you however for bringing this to my attention & it may be a case of choosing our dvertising a bit more cautiously in the future.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of band wagoning. Yes his comments were unacceptable given his position, but the above crap I've just had to wade through is the 21st Century equivalent of lighting torches and sharpening pitchforks.

Anonymous said...

Paul Henry is excellent entertainment, I can't see why you can't just have a laugh.

Julie said...

"Yes his comments were unacceptable given his position, but the above crap I've just had to wade through is the 21st Century equivalent of lighting torches and sharpening pitchforks."


So you agree they were unacceptable, but holding him accountable for that is equivalent to threatening him with a sharp implement? Perhaps the torches are to help him see the light (see what I did there?)

Julie said...

Don't worry Anon at 2pm, I am having a laugh at you right now.

Unknown said...

I have done this and in the process copied the emails to '' and pasted them into the NZ Heralds contact us form.

I did this in the hope they will pick this up and run it as a story, thereby triggering more people to follow suit.

I tried to find a TVNZ address to copy it to but couldn't find anything. Actually... I think I will send them directly to the Breakfast email address tomorrow morning. Then he may see them first hand! :)

A Nonny Moose said...

Hey Anon at 2pm: you're a small minded, small paypacketed, Holden driving, wife-beater wearing, child-abusing, small dicked idiot who can't get it up to please his butter troll of a girlfriend. But hey, it's ok, haha, I'm only mean it in the most entertaining of ways.

See what I did there?

Oh, and Done. I like the odd Big Mac now and then. That's something I can really do something about and live without.

Boganette said...

Hey what's wrong with Holdens! :P

I am so in a hurry to use butter troll as an insult. Beautiful!

I've sent FreemanX an email saying I am stoked with their stance too....

FreemanX said...

FreemanX in no way, shape, of form wrote anyone that email. I don't know what he's said to annoy you all, I don't get a chance to see the show as I'm typically working. I don't have a view for or against because I don't know what you're talking about however I have spoken to our solicitor regarding the 'Idiot' who made up an email and misrepresented it as fact. Regards, Eddie Freeman

Idiot/Savant said...

FreemanX: The email was sent by your employee David Noble on December 7. If you disagree with its contents, then perhaps you should take it up with them.

Anonymous said... ?

Mel Archer said...

Right, done, and link posted...

lprent said...

I have stuck IrishBills backup post to the top of the standard. I will ask the others to keep it there for a while.

In the meantime I'll look at working up an ad space. It has been interesting how many different types of people that want to support this.

Here is a question. Where do I find the rating system for tv. I want to see if there is a link between when he does and when he does it

Anonymous said...

Witch hunt much?

Sam said...

Lack of an argument much Anon?

Paul McBride said...

For anyone who thinks Paul Henry is harmless comedy, there is certainly nothing funny about his comments this morning on climate change.

He interviewed a "scientist" called Doug Edmeades who spouted plainly false claims about human induced climate change. Henry gave this guy free reign to say any irresponsible thing he wished, and later misrepresented Edmeades claims against the one or two pieces of feedback were read out in disagreement.

Edmeades was introduced simply as a scientist, implying he is qualified to comment on models of climate change. He is not.

Edmeades is a fertiliser consultant. Apart from being unqualified to negate the work of 2500 contributers over 6 years in the IPCC report, he has an obvious vested interest in the farming community, who are at the centre of New Zealand greenhouse emissions.

I am embarrassed to see the number of NZers who are willing to, quite flippantly, reject extraordinarily strong science and instead jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagon with the likes of Ian Wishart.

What next? We might as well reject the germ theory of disease, or the theory of gravity.

anarkaytie said...


thanks for listing all the addresses relevant.

Julie said...

On the FreemanX issue, we have yet to have any proper correspondence from the Eddie Freeman who has commented above, and I understand Idiot/Savant hasn't heard anymore either, despite the mention of solicitors.

Idiot/Savant has forwarded me the email he received from FreemanX and it doesn't look fake to me. I/S himself has quite a reputation for straight dealing on the internet, and imho is considered a leading example of how you can blog with a psuedonym without making shit up.

At this stage I'm going to leave Eddie's comment there, to act as a form of antidote, (and if it isn't real to show that those supporting Henry perhaps aren't all dealign with clean hands). Will update if I hear anything further from FreemanX, I/S or the anonymous commenter who has called himself Eddie Freeman.

Anonymous said...

Sad. Leftie crybaby girls want big bad man to end his career. I thought freedom of speech (however much we disagree with it) was part of a free society.

Why aren't you also trying to ban white and black racist groups - you know, the ones who use FORCE against others. Words might hurt but you are wasting your time. Paul Henry is bigger and more popular and all you seem to be doing is reinforcing this to his fans.

Julie said...

Brave anon this morning at 5.34am, your comment did not make any sense.

That Paul Henry has fans, well yes he does, even though I don't understand why. But he's gradually annoying more and more people through his ill-advised and mean-spirited attacks on people. The tide is turning. I hope TVNZ can see that.

Voice of Reason said...

You lot seriously need to get over it and get a life if the worst of your worries is what some guy on a breakfast TV show says.

Julie said...

Actually I can worry about more than one thing at once, never fear!

Anonymous said...

"Just having a laugh" is a very scary justification commonly used for bullying as well as verbal abuse.

The victims of torture at places like Guantanomo most likely know something particularly inhuman is coming up when they hear that phrase.

Anonymous said...

Could the next Henry lover to pop onto this weeks old post please give more of an argument than 'get a life', 'get over it' or get a sense of humour/it's just a laugh/he's funny?

It doesn't help your cause if all you can say to a well-written, informative post is a bunch of old slogans.

christo said...

trying to get someone fired because you don't agree with what he says? What a bunch of humourless, self righteous scumbags. Did you realise there is an 'off' button at the top of your televisions remote control? Most people who don't like something they see on tv press this, it's easier than mounting an internet hate campaign. Retards.

Julie said...

Reading comprehension FAIL Christo. Try again. Like reading the comment directly above yours, and actually the post itself, prior to commenting.

Tony Lee said...

Thank you so much. The links to sponsors is what I've been looking for -- great service.

I don't know if anyone else has pointed this out, but the Josh Kronfeld dickhead link is dead. Here's a working link as of 2 minutes ago:

Skip forward to 1:17.

I just want to add that Henry isn't the issue for -- after all, there will always be bigots and dickheads to deal with. The real issue is TVNZ's enabling of him.

More than that, I heard a persuasive argument that even TVNZ isn't as much to blame as is the BSA for previous judgements that have sent the message that Henry's behavour is OK.