22 Dec 2009

TVNZ upholds complaints about Paul Henry remark

8:28 am on 22 December 2009

Television New Zealand has upheld complaints made against Breakfast show presenter Paul Henry about the British singer Susan Boyle, after he said on air that she was retarded.

Mr Henry made the comments last month after quoting from a magazine article that noted the singer had a mild intellectual impairment.

Television New Zealand now acknowledges that the remark was a breach of good taste and decency under the Code of Broadcasting Practice and is apologising to those hurt and distressed by it.

In a written statement the state broadcaster says Mr Henry told its complaints committee that it was never his intention to cause offence to people with disabilities, and he was sorry if some people had taken what he said in a way he never intended.

Henry's boss admits he overstepped line

TVNZ's head of news and current affairs, Anthony Flannery, says there's a legitimate place for Paul Henry's boundary-pushing style but acknowledges that in this instance he overstepped the line.

Company spokesperson Megan Richards says TVNZ is apologising to those hurt and distressed by Mr Henry's comments.

TVNZ would not be drawn on whether any further action would be taken.

[IHC spokesperson Philippa Sellens says she is pleased that TVNZ's stance will give Mr Henry some guidance as to what is appropriate behaviour and language on air. IHC is taking no further action over the issue.