12 Jul 2010

TVNZ ordered to issue statement over Boyle "retard" comment

6:01 pm on 12 July 2010

Television New Zealand has been ordered to issue a statement on its Breakfast programme after host Paul Henry described singer Susan Boyle as 'retarded'.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) says while TVNZ was correct to uphold complaints that his comments breached the taste and decency standard, the action it took was insufficient.

In a majority decision, the BSA found Henry's comments were cruel and also breached the discrimination and denigration standard.

In November, Henry pointed to a magazine photograph and said Ms Boyle was visibly "starved of oxygen and suffered a mild form of intellectual disability".

In a public statement, he later said he never intended to cause offence and that he had a great amount of respect for those who rose to the challenges imposed on them in life.

Eleven complaints were referred to the authority after no on-air statement was made.